WD News: Water Digest, in collaboration with Kritsnam Technologies Pvt Ltd., organised the first edition of its online Water Dialogue series on December 15, 2022 – to highlight and discuss the need for smart and sustainable groundwater management in industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors.
The focus state for this edition was Chhattisgarh.
- The idea of this series is to make every person value the role of sustainable groundwater in our natural hydrological cycle because, groundwater is the soul of our Earth.
- The series aims to cover significant areas like groundwater extraction regulations for industries, infrastructure and mining projects, challenges faced by groundwater users in taking NOC and fulfilling the criteria, adoption of new guidelines on groundwater, framing regulations applicable to specific states, need for conducting water audits and compliance, smart technologies for users & regulators for sustainable usage of groundwater, improving, monitoring and data evaluation, and what more to expect in future in terms of regulations.
Shri A.K. Agrawal, Member, Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) gave a special address. He stated that when the surface water availability becomes uncertain due to various factors, all of us, including the industry, get dependent on groundwater. This has resulted in large-scale abstraction of groundwater.
He advocated the judicious use of groundwater and said that water being a state subject, it is the constitutional duty of every state to create its own groundwater authority for protecting this vital resource. He said that with the new guidelines, many sectors and urban consumers were brought under the ambit of regulation and control.
He assured the participants that this paradigm shift would help in making water available for the future generations in the longer run.
This was followed by a Technical Session on Groundwater Governance in India: Role of Government & Industry (Focus State: Chhattisgarh).
Shri P.K. Naik, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Raipur talked about the objectives, power and functions and mandate of CGWB in detail. He further explained the guidelines to regulate and control groundwater management in India and said that Central Ground Water Authority, Govt. of India has issued notified guidelines (w.e.f. 24.09.2020) to regulate groundwater over-exploitation and conserve the groundwater resources in the country which has pan-India applicability, and Water Management Plans (WMP) are to be prepared and updated regularly by State/UTs for all OCS blocks.
He informed the audience that all industries abstracting groundwater to the tune of 100 m3/day or more to have annual Water Audit Reports through CII/FICCI/NPC certified auditors. He further stated that all industries drawing groundwater of 100 m3/day or more in OCS areas to submit Impact Assessment Report.
Sharing the status of NOCs in Chhattisgarh, he said that about more than 10,000 projects already exist in Chhattisgarh, among them only 58% have applied for NOC or taken exemption for groundwater extraction [NOC taken: mining sector (99%), industrial sector (70%) and infrastructure sector (30%)]. He explained the proves to apply for NOCs in detail and also highlighted the importance of flow meters in groundwater management.
Shri Vinay Chataraju, Co-Founder, Kritsnam Technologies began his address by focussing on the issue of groundwater depletion, resulting in the rising risk for Indian businesses. He shared that as per a FICCI report, 83% industries have reported major risk of inadequate availability of water whereas 62% Indian businesses depend on groundwater source. He highlighted the point that India needs data driven water management as a country. Further, he shared the steps required in this direction. The first step, he said, is to know your water footprint from all sources, the second is internal water budgeting and the third is benchmarking with peers (water intensity ratio).
He proceeded to explain the featured and benefits and groundwater data collection instruments like Piezometer/DWLR (used to monitor depth of water level from the ground surface) and Digital Flow Meters (used to monitor quantum of water abstracted). He explained the need of a data driven groundwater policy.
He gave an overview of Dhara Smart Ultrasonic Flow Meters and shared its mobile and web applications for easy data access, which can be used for industrial metering and industrial water monitoring.
Shri K. Panigrahi, Sr Hydrogeologist cum CEO, Centre for Groundwater Recharge and an accredited consultant from CGWA said, “India is the world’s largest user of groundwater resources. In addition, 84% of India’s net irrigated land and 85% of rural water supplies come from groundwater resources.
The Central Groundwater Board (CGWB), in its report, has categorised the north-western states of India as “over-exploited” due to the fast groundwater level decline there. Therefore, it is essential to regulate such a common-pool resource in order to stop its unsustainable free-riding usage.
The government’s efforts to manage India’s groundwater issue more effectively and scientifically are an example of cooperative federalism at work when managing a valuable resource. India will require sufficient groundwater resources to manage environmental stresses because it is one of the economies that is developing the quickest.”
Shri Hemraj Kutare, Chief Engineer, Chhattisgarh State Industrial Development Corporation, Raipur presented his views on the present status of groundwater governance. He shared that in Chhattisgarh, groundwater extraction is around 45 percent.
He also highlighted the challenges being faced by the industries in getting relevant documents and permissions for obtaining NOCs.
Ms Anupama Madhok Sud, Director & Editor, Water Digest, moderated the event and in her address, she said that ensuring water security is a key challenge for our nation and water use efficiency across the sectors is comparatively low.
She highlighted the fact that in the agricultural sector, even the best command area development can give an efficiency of 30-50 percent, while on the domestic side, there are leakages & water losses in the range of 30-40 percent and in the industrial sector water use efficiency is really low.
She gave an overview of the webinar series, and remarked that it is specifically planned for the industry and the whole idea is how industries can contribute in better groundwater usage and efficiently utilise the groundwater for various purposes. The series will present a perfect blend of knowledge and application in this regard, she said.
The participants shared their queries in a Question & Answer (Q&A) session after the technical session which were answered by the panellists.
The queries ranged from the need and process for water audits to be conducted by the industries, difficulties arising in NOC application process, state-wise guidelines for groundwater usage, technical questions related to piezometer and flowmeters, and clarity sought on self-compliance and self-inspection by industries, etc.
The panel of speakers responded to all the queries and shared their expert views on the subject.