In order to augment the depleting ground water resources, it is essential that the surplus monsoon runoff that flows into the sea, is conserved and recharged to augment ground water resources. Ground water storage that could be feasible has been estimated as 214 billion cubic meters (BCM) of which 160 BCM is considered retrievable. Central Ground Water Board has prepared a conceptual plan for artificial recharge to ground water for the country. Out of total geographical area of 3,28,7263 sq. km. of the country, an area of 4,48,760 sq. km. has been identified suitable for artificial recharge. The total quantity of surplus monsoon runoff to be recharged works out as 36.4 BCM.
The Central Ground Water Board has prepared a Manual and subsequently a Guide on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water which provide guidelines on investigation techniques for selection of sites, planning & design of artificial recharge structures, economic evaluation & monitoring of recharge facility. These are of immense use to States/ U.T.s in planning and implementation of recharge schemes for augmentation of ground water in various parts of the country.
During the Ninth Five Year Plan, a Central Sector Scheme on “Studies on Recharge of Ground Water” was undertaken, under which 165 recharge projects were implemented in 27 States/UTs. The impact assessment of completed recharge projects before monsoon of 2003 had indicated rise in water levels and sustainability of dug wells/ tubewells, decrease in soil erosion and improvement in social-economic status of farmers of benefited zone due to increase in crop production
During the Xth Plan demonstrative studies on Artificial Recharge to Ground Water and Rain Water Harvesting have been taken up during 2006-07 by CGWB in 8 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at a total cost of Rs. 5.95 Crores . The construction of 189 artificial recharge structure out of 200 have been completed and remaining are under construction. The impact assessment studies of the completed recharge projects are being conducted by CGWB.
During the XI th Plan , for undertaking demonstrative recharge project, CGWB & state agencies in coordination are coming out studies for feasible areas, structures & other modalities. The detailed project reports for Artificial Recharge projects received from Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh are under consideration
The following efforts have been made to promote rain water harvesting and artificial recharge:
(i) Group housing societies, institutions/schools, hotels, industrial establishments and farm houses located in notified areas of South & South West districts, NCT Delhi; Municipal Corporation of Faridabad & Ballabhgarh, Faridabad district, Haryana; Municipal Corporation of Ghaziabad, Ghaziabad district, U.P; Gurgaon town and adjoining industrial areas of Gurgaon district, Haryana; have been directed to adopt roof top rain water harvesting systems.
(ii) All group-housing societies located in NCT Delhi in the areas where ground water levels are more than 8 m and are abstracting ground water have been directed to adopt roof top rain water harvesting systems.
(iii) Central Ground Water Authority & Ministry of Water Resources had requested all the Chief Secretaries of States and UTs to include provision of roof top rain water harvesting in building bye laws for augmentation of grounds water resources.
(iv) Various Central Ministries like Ministry of Defence, Communication, Railways, Information & Broadcasting have also been requested to adopt roof top harvesting systems in their buildings for augmentation of ground water resource.
(v) Various State Governments including Delhi have taken/ proposed regulatory measures (Annexure - III) for making Roof Top rainwater harvesting mandatory.
Central Ground Water Authority has launched awareness campaign regarding ground water conservation measures. Highlights of these activities are given below.
(i) Mass Awareness: Conducting mass awareness programmes on Rain Water Harvesting and Artificial Recharge of ground water throughout the country involving Central/State/ NGO's, VO's, resident welfare organizations, educational institutions, industries and individuals.
(ii)Training in Rain Water Harvesting: Conducting Training programmes to generate resource persons as a measure of capacity building for designing Rain Water Harvesting structures to augment ground water in different terrains and diverse hydrogeological conditions.
(iii)Technical Guidance for Rain Water Harvesting : Provided technical guidance and design for rain water harvesting structures for more than 1800 sites in various parts of the country.
iv)Water Conservation Campaign : Water conservation campaign was launched during the Fresh Water Year for various target groups like youth and children, women, farmers and villagers, policy and opinion makers. Various publicity measures like print media, telecasting of spots on the television, broadcasting messages on radio, holding of seminars, workshops, conferences etc. were adopted for the purpose. Awareness was also generated through printing of Meghdoot post cards in Hindi and English, slogans on mail vans and letter boxes through Department of Posts.
(v) Production of Films : Films were produced on Rain water harvesting in Urban areas, Rain water harvesting in Rural areas, Ground Water Pollution etc. and shown during various mass awareness and training programmes.
(vi)Awareness through Exhibitions : Awareness has been generated through display of working models on various aspects of ground water management and fixing stalls in exhibitions, IITF and important functions.