Need for a Legal Framework for Groundwater Security in India

  • Abhijit MukherjeeEmail author
Part of the Springer Hydrogeology book series (SPRINGERHYDRO)


India consists of only ~2% of the world’s total land area but supports a large part (~19%) of the global population, thus being inherently stressed for natural resources for its citizens, e.g. safe and sustainable water. Securing water for nourishment, household purposes and food production relates to ‘water problems’, which can be classified as issues related to water quantity in terms of availability of sufficient quantity of the water (excessive water, e.g. flood and lack of water like drought), and issues of water quality, meaning that the available water should be of safe quality for human consumption purposes. In India, where water resource availability is extremely heterogeneous and is largely dependent on stability of the monsoonal rainfall, aggravating the water scarcity with predicted population growth is going to be a pivotal public health, socio-economic and political issue in near future. Groundwater is the largest resource of freshwater in this planet and India, whose availability is largely dependent on the geological and climatic set-up for an area. Groundwater use and food production are also strongly linked because irrigated agriculture is the primary consumer of global freshwater resources. Globally, being the largest consumer of groundwater resources and being the highest groundwater-irrigated country, by area, India is particularly vulnerable to water and food scarcity. Almost 85% of its groundwater consumption is linked to agricultural practices, which possibly has not much changed since the age of first human settlements in these ancient lands, millennia ago. Groundwater availability problems are likely to be exacerbated in the future by climate change. Thus, these water scarcity problems will most likely translate to food scarcity. In the present situation, the lack of a holistic approach to understand the different facets of water cycle translates to the fact that water as an essential commodity is inevitably getting exceedingly scarce in India. Thus, there is a requirement to develop plans for assuring availability of suitable water for drinking and food production as a social security and democratic right for every citizen of India. This strongly entails a clear road map for groundwater security, under a legal framework, such that it focuses on water resources sustainability and the role of resource efficiency and environmental management in reducing risks, i.e. for more efficient and judicial use of water and proper preservation for future generations.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  3. 3.Applied Policy Advisory to Hydrogeosciences GroupIndian Institute of Technology (IIT)—KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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