The Ministry of Rural Development developed the “JALDOOT App” to be used across the country, to capture the water level of selected wells in a village. The app will be launched today. The launching ceremony of this app will be led by the Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati, Shri Giriraj Singh at a function in New Delhi.
The other ministers who will join in the app launching ceremony will include Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel, Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste; Union Minister of State for Rural Development, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Secretary Department of Rural Development, Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha; Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Shri Ajay Tirkey; Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Shri Sunil Kumar and senior officers from the Ministry. Representatives from all States/UTs will join the program through Video-Conferencing.
This app will enable Gram Rojgar Sahayak (GRS) to measure the water level of selected wells twice in a year (pre-monsoon and post-monsoon). In every village a sufficient number of measuring locations are required to be selected. This will represent the groundwater level in that village.
Our country has took many steps to improve the management of water in both the rural and urban areas, through watershed development, afforestation, water body development and renovation, rainwater harvesting etc. But the result of these steps led into significant depletion of water levels and causing distress to the community, including farmers. Therefore it becomes necessary to observe and measure water levels across the country.
The Minister addressed that the JALDOOT App facilitates panchayats with powerful data, which can be further used for better planning of works. The groundwater data could be utilized as a part of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) and Mahatma Gandhi NREGA planning exercises. Further, the data can also be used for different kinds of research and other purposes.
According to the Central Ground water Board (CGWB), with 230 billion metre cubes of groundwater drawn out each year for irrigating agriculture lands in India, many parts of country are experiencing rapid draining of groundwater. The total estimated groundwater depletion in India is in the range of 122–199 billion metre cubes.
Depletion In Groundwater Levels
In various parts of the Country ground water levels are declining because of continuous elimination due to reasons such as increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increase in population, industrialization and urbanization etc.
As per the assessment of Dynamic Ground Water Resources (2017) carried out by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in collaboration with States/UTs, out of the total 6,881 assessment units (Block/ Taluks/ Mandals/ watersheds/ Firkas) in the country, 1,186 units in 17 States/UTs have been categorized as ‘over-exploited’ where ‘Annual Ground Water Extraction’ is more than ‘Annual Extractable Ground Water Resource’.
Groundwater Rejenuvation Scheme
The central government has launched a few schemes before to rejenuvate the groundwater levels in India.
Atal Bhujal Yojana
The Government of India has launched a Rs. 6000 crore Central sector scheme, Atal Bhujal Yojana (Atal Jal) with the assistance of World Bank.
The programme was launched on 1 April 2020 for a period of five years.
It aims for sustainable management of ground water resources with community participation in 8562 water stressed Gram Panchayats (GPs) of seven States, viz. Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan
Government of India launched Jal Shakti Abhiyan in 2019 in 256 water stressed districts in the country which continued during 2021 also to improve water availability including ground water conditions in these areas.
Further, the “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” campaign for the year 2022 have been launched by the President of India. The JSA-2022 shall continue till 30 Nov 2022. The campaign has given special emphasis on creation of recharge structures, rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, intensive afforestation etc.
According to the officials, 89% of ground water extracted is used in the irrigation sector, making it the highest category user in the country. The officials said that “This is followed by ground water for domestic use which is 9% of the extracted groundwater. Industrial use of ground water is 2%. 50% of urban water requirements and 85% of rural domestic water requirements are also fulfilled by ground water.”