Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Water Resources
11-February-2016 17:06 IST
For the first time Aquifer Mapping has been taken on such a large scale in the Country

Advanced Technologies are being used for Mapping in Certain Areas

Progress Of Aquifer Mapping


This is the first time that aquifer mapping has been taken on such a large scale in the Country. Advanced technologies like heli-borne geophysical surveys are being used for mapping in certain areas. Sophisticated softwares like RockWorks, ARC GIS, Modflow, Map Info etc have been used in preparation of Management plans. The States selected inter-alia in the first phase include Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telengana where the ground water situation has reached a critical level. Out of this, mapping in Haryana would be completed by May, 2016. As a precursor, pilots were launched in five States of Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu which has helped in proving the efficacy of various techniques in aquifer mapping.

Intensive and unregulated groundwater pumping in many areas has caused rapid and widespread groundwater decline, including in the northern “bread basket” states where an estimated 15% of India’s foodgrains is being produced. Out of 6607 ground water assessment units (Blocks/ mandals / taluks etc.), 1071 units are over-exploited. An over-exploited unit means that the withdrawal of ground water is more than the recharge in that particular unit. Additionally, 914 units are in various stages of ground water criticality.

A review meeting on NAQUIM was taken on 10.2.2016 by Shri Shashi Shekhar, Secretary (WR, RD&GR) in which Dr. Amarjit Singh, Special Secretary, Sh. K.B.Biswas, Chairman CGWB and senior officers of the Ministry of Water Resources and Central Ground Water Board participated. The programme of NAQUIM, till December 2015, shows that an area of approximately 1.04 lakh has been mapped and management plans have been prepared for approximately 82,000 sq.kms. Secretary (WR, RD&GR) while appreciating the efforts of CGWB in mapping of aquifers and preparation of management plans, re-emphasized the importance of this programme which would usher in security to sustainable level of food grain production.

The activities proposed for the next five years upto 2022 were also discussed. During the period 2017-2022, an area of 14 lakh is targeted to be covered under aquifer mapping. Further, the focus would be on use of IT tools and ITES in monitoring of ground water levels, water quality, data processing & analytics and data dissemination / sharing. A significant portion of the proposed works will be outsourced which include generation of geophysical data, geochemical data and drilling of borewells / tubewells. The outsourcing component can be in excess of Rs. 2,500 crore for above activities.

Secretary (WR, RD&GR) directed that a conference be organized for giving wider publicity to NAQUIM activities to involve and create awareness about the programme to potential players in the water sector. Ministry also plans to conduct regional meetings henceforth so that State Governments and other stakeholders are involved in this and other programmes of the Ministry. He also suggested for bringing the Programme in Mission mode with with clearly defined timelines and financial outlays.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock, from which groundwater can be extracted. The mapping would assist in estimating the quantity and quality of ground water in an aquifer and would help in assessment of sustainable level of ground water extraction. This would also help in making the Country climate change resilient. Government of India has launched a project for Aquifer Mapping and Management (NAQUIM).  Out of 23 lakh mappable area of the Country, the target for the 12th Plan is 8.89 Lakh This mapping is being undertaken by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) on the scale of 1:50,000 in 3D. The final objective of the programme is to prepare Management Plans, in consultation with stakeholders and State Governments, which will identify the recharge and other measures to replenish the declining trend of groundwater. This Plan would help in predicting the ground water scenario, the recharge potential and possibilities and would also help in educating the stakeholders in water use efficiency.