In an attempt to discourage misuse of water by industries and ensure a "more robust ground water regulatory mechanism" in the country, the government will levy a fee on ground water extraction from June next year, an official release said on Thursday. The step is likely to make packaged drinking water dearer.
Revised guidelines for extraction of ground water were notified by the Central Ground Water Authority, which will be effective from June 1, 2019.
One of the important features of the revised guidelines is introduction of the concept of Water Conservation Fee (WCF).
The WCF payable varies with the category of the area, type of industry and the quantum of ground water extraction and is designed to progressively increase from safe to over-exploited areas and from low to high water consuming industries as well as with increasing quantum of ground water extraction.
The high rates of WCF are expected to discourage setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas as well as act as a deterrent to large-scale ground water extraction by industries, especially in over-exploited and critical areas.
"The WCF would also compel industries to adopt measures relating to water use efficiency and discourage the growth of packaged drinking water units, particularly in over-exploited and critical areas," it said.
Other features of the revised guidelines include encouraging use of recycled and treated sewage water by industries, provision of action against polluting industries, mandatory requirement of digital flow meters, piezometers and digital water level recorders.
There will be mandatory water audit by industries extracting ground water 500 cubic metre per day or more in safe and semi-critical and 200 cubic metre per day or more in critical and over-exploited assessment units, mandatory rooftop rain water harvesting except for specified industries and measures to be adopted to ensure prevention of ground water contamination in premises of polluting industries/ projects.
As per the revised guidelines, agricultural users, users employing non-energised means to extract water, individual households using less than 1-inch diameter delivery pipe and armed forces establishments during operational deployment or during mobilisation in forward locations have been exempted from the requirement of no-objection certificate (NOC).
Other exemptions (with certain requirements) have been granted to strategic and operational infrastructure projects for armed forces, defence and paramilitary forces establishments and government water supply agencies.
India is the largest user of ground water in the world, extracting ground water to the tune of 253 billion cubic metre per year, which is about 25 per cent of the global ground water extraction.
(With IANS inputs)