New norms on anvil to make groundwater public property

NEW DELHI: Groundwater, a precious natural resource, is for all practical purposes a private property in India. Anyone can bore and extract water from the land he owns with few rules to restrict over-exploitation.

But all this could soon change. Plans are afoot to alter laws and regulations to make groundwater a common property resource to ensure better regulation by government as a public trustee with the involvement of communities in the management of underground aquifers. That would mean that nobody can withdraw water even from the land that he owns without a sanction from community-controlled authorities like panchayat. … 023989.cms


Ok, extortion for extraction now?

I wonder how this law will actually be implemented. Could spell doom for farmers, since the majority use groundwater for their crops. In any event, confusion, difficulties and workarounds will prevail. By creating laws around a necessity such as water, the Government will only succeed in making life more difficult for the common man.

Instead of passing draconian laws, the Government should work toward:

  1. Improving the utilization of river water and reducing wastage into the seas. (Whatever happened to the River Interlink project? This can be done, but the Politicians that ru(i)n the country will not let this see the light of day).

  2. Stop exploitation of groundwater, for example, by the people who (mis)use borewells and free agricultural power and  sell tankers of water.

  3. Implement measures at the grassroot level to improve water harvesting across rural India.

  4. Mandate the implementation of water harvesting techniques for each and every farmer and provide know-how/grants to the financially needy.

  5. Mandate water harvesting techniques for each and every existing or new borewell.

It can be done and it has been done, here’s an example:

I for one shall go out of my way with water harvesting techniques when I buy my farm land.

This law will be another blow to the already beleaguered farmers.Powerful sarpanchs/panchayats  will determine how you use water in your own land.This government is all for strengthening the rich and powerful and further exploitation of the poor and weak. >:(

I personally think this will be applicable to the corporates which draw underground water for bottling purposes like Pepsi and Coke, etc and not to individual farmers. Thanks for bringing out this topic, will have to understand what does Govt intend to do.

Spain Earthquake, Drilling Wells Linked In New Study Of Lorca Tragedy
Reference: … 97629.html

Farmers drilling ever deeper wells over decades to water their crops likely contributed to a deadly earthquake in southern Spain last year, a new study suggests. The findings may add to concerns about the effects of new energy extraction and waste disposal technologies.

Using satellite images, scientists from Canada, Italy and Spain found the quake ruptured a fault running near a basin that had been weakened by 50 years of groundwater extraction in the area.

During this period, the water table dropped by 250 meters (274 yards) as farmers bored ever deeper wells to help produce the fruit, vegetables and meat that are exported from Lorca to the rest of Europe. In other words, the industry that propped up the local economy in southern Spain may have undermined the very ground on which Lorca is built.

The researchers noted that even without the strain caused by water extraction, a quake would likely have occurred at some point.

But the extra stress of pumping vast amounts of water from a nearby aquifer may have been enough to trigger a quake at that particular time and place, said lead researcher Pablo J. Gonzalez of the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

“This has been going on for years in the Mediterranean areas, all very famous for their agriculture and plastic greenhouses. They are just sucking all the water out of the aquifers, drying them out,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “From Lorca to (the regional capital of) Murcia you can find a very depleted water level.”

De las Doblas said it was “no coincidence that all the aftershocks were located on the exact position of maximum depletion.”

“The reason is clearly related to the farming, it’s like a sponge you drain the water from; the weight of the rocks makes the terrain subside and any small variation near a very active fault like the Alhama de Murcia may be the straw that breaks the camel*s back, which is what happened,” he said.

He said excess water extraction was common in Spain.

A pioneering geothermal power project in the Swiss city of Basel was abandoned in 2009 after it caused a series of earthquakes. Nobody was injured, but the tremors caused by injecting cold water into hot rocks to produce steam resulted in millions of Swiss francs (dollars) damage to buildings.

In an editorial accompanying the Lorca study, geologist Jean-Philippe Avouac of the California Institute of Technology said it was unclear whether human activity merely induces quakes that would have happened anyway at a later date. He noted that the strength of the quake appeared to have been greater than the stress caused by removing the groundwater.“The earthquake therefore cannot have been caused entirely by water extraction,” wrote Avouac. “Instead, it must have built up over several centuries.”