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Mention the major problems and challenges associated with the utilization of groundwater in Uttar Pradesh. | UPPSC General Studies-VI (6) Mains Solutions 2023


Mention the major problems and challenges associated with the utilization of groundwater in Uttar Pradesh.

 (UPPSC Mains General Studies-VI/GS-6 2023 Solutions)


Groundwater Usage in Uttar Pradesh:

Tubewells and wells in Uttar Pradesh are the largest sources of irrigation as they contribute about 84 % of the share of irrigation. Not only irrigation, but groundwater is also the source of drinking water, for domestic use, commercial, and industrial use. 

Uttar Pradesh covers about 28.68 % of the entire Ganga basin.

The unplanned and unlimited groundwater exploitation leads to major groundwater problems like the decline in water level, failure of tube wells, and groundwater contamination.

The major problems associated with the utilization of groundwater in Uttar Pradesh:

  • Depletion of Ground Water
  • Groundwater Contamination
  • Uneven Distribution
  • Ecological Consequences

Depletion of Ground Water:

At present, Uttar Pradesh has 87 % irrigated areas whereas the national average is only 49%. 

More than 70 % of water for irrigation comes from groundwater in Uttar Pradesh.

The low-cost pump set technology has revolutionized the tubewell construction activity in the entire country and Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the center of the irrigation tubewell revolution.

Widespread cultivation of sugarcane crops, highly water sucker, has aggravated the problem of groundwater depletion.

Huge population, urbanization, industrialization, and infrastructural development also have increased the state's water demand.

Because of the above facts, groundwater extraction is far greater than the recharging rate, which leads to the depletion of groundwater, and will create major water problems in the future.

The declining rainfall, also impacting aquifers' natural recharging, which is worsening the situation more.

Groundwater Contamination:

About 35 districts of Uttar Pradesh are affected with Arsenic toxicity. Nitrate pollution, heavy metal toxicity, and bacteriological contamination in groundwater are also a serious concern for potable and irrigation water supplies in Uttar Pradesh.

Damage to Aquifers:

Continuously declining water levels lead to irreparable damage to aquifers.

Urban areas highly stressed:

Cities like Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Agra, Kanpur, and Varanasi are expected to cause grave environmental implications soon as groundwater in such places is depleting at a much faster pace because of uncontrolled groundwater exploitation.

Uneven Distribution:

Bundelkhand-Vindhyan region is facing a severe water crisis, where locating and exploiting groundwater has been a challenging task due to the diverse geological and geomorphological setup.

Challenges to the utilization of Groundwater in Uttar Pradesh:

There is insufficient knowledge and understanding of aquifers among stakeholders. 

There is no comprehensive and integrated regulatory mechanism to overall control and reduce indiscriminate groundwater withdrawal.

There is no integrated water resource management concept in Uttar Pradesh.

The new Uttar Pradesh Ground Water Act- 2019 is being implemented, however, the major users of groundwater like farmers and urban consumers are largely unregulated.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti under the union government also has made guidelines in 2020 to regulate and control groundwater extraction in India.

Water is an essential resource for human survival and groundwater is the major source of water, therefore, the government should also focus on increasing the recharging capacity of groundwater, rather than only minimize the extraction of it.

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