"...Available evidence suggests that with increased use of water, mostly on an unsustainable basis, the country is headed towards a grave water crisis. Irrigation accounts for 80 per cent of our water use. 60 per cent of irrigation water and 80 per cent of rural drinking water comes from ground water. Situation of ground water is very critical," Rawat said here.
A lack of any coordination between competing uses and the complete absence of regulation has aggravated the problem, he said.
"The fact that neither power nor water is appropriately priced has only promoted the misuse of ground water resources," he said.
Rawat also flagged the issue of water quality saying chemical pollution through excessive fertiliser use and reckless dumping of untreated wastes into rivers was the main culprit.
"Only about 30 per cent of the total sewage generated in the country is actually treated before being dumped into available water bodies," he said at the valedictory session of the 27th Indian Engineering Congress.
He also said in the 12th Plan, priority will be given to prevent misuse of ground water in the country.
Aquifer mapping being undertaken by the Water Resources Ministry would serve as an important tool by providing information on availability of ground water to the people in their area, the Minister said.