GS 2: Governance

Why in news?

The Union Water Ministry is finalising an updated estimate on the state of groundwater reserves in the country.


  • The groundwater assessment was last done in 2013. It is undertaken by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
  • It is a survey that samples a sliver of blocks in each State and counts how many blocks have critically low levels of water and how many are well-stocked.

Key Findings of Previous Year Reports:

  • In 2013, the CGWB assessed 6,584 units across the country and found 4,520 to be “safe,” 681 to be “semi-critical” 253 to be “critical” and 1,034 to be “overexploited.” About 96 blocks were “saline”.
  • The overall contribution of rainfall to the country’s annual ground water resource is 68%.
  • The share of other resources, such as canal seepage, return flow from irrigation, recharge from tanks, ponds and water conservation structures taken together is 32%.
  • The national per capita annual availability of water has reduced from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metres in 2011 — a reduction of 15%.


  • India’s groundwater has been depleting at a worrying rate since 1995
  • In 1995, only 3% of districts had overexploited their groundwater reserves whereas by 2011, that had increased to 15%.
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