The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, which is responsible for comprehensive and systematic management of water resources and supply in India, had released a master plan for artificial recharge to groundwater in India, dated April 2021. This master plan was developed in 2013 and is a revision of the plan. It is a macro plan designed to study the feasibility of structures for various topographical conditions in the country and to calculate the estimated cost of each. In addition to the sections on national groundwater scenarios, design of structures for artificial recharge and monitoring mechanisms, the plan also provides information on groundwater related issues in the states and Union Territories.
Areas for artificial recharge have been identified based on post-monsoon water levels (2018) and long-term post-monsoon water level trends, although different criteria may be used in different states due to lack of data and local groundwater issues. According to statistics, the available underground space for artificial recharge is 537.349 BCM, while the water required to saturate the aquifer to 3-5 m bgl is 716.917 BCM.
The type of structures for artificial recharge of groundwater depends on the topographical conditions and the number to be installed is determined by the availability of water sources. As a result, there are more than 25 different types of structures, and for standardization purposes, the different structural groups are divided into 10 categories and others, which are shown in the table (see Table 7.2). In terms of the cost of artificial recharge calculated for each state and Union Territory (see Table 7.5), when the cost of urban and rural areas are combined, Maharashtra accounts for 23% of the total cost, followed by Rajasthan with 14%, indicating that this is an area where groundwater scarcity is a concern.
The following effects are expected from the implementation of this master plan.
- Increase in water level (prevention of water level decline)
- Increase in the number of days of pumping by supplying water to wells during drought periods
- Increase in area under water intensive crops and resistance to monsoon impacts
- Increased green vegetation due to increased soil moisture
- Improved groundwater quality due to increased water quantity
The master plan can be downloaded from the following URL.