Policy Briefs & Reports

Regulation for Groundwater Abstraction

CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program

Centre for Policy Research

March 21, 2018

Contamination of groundwater sources due to over-abstraction and discharge of polluting substances has been a long standing problem in most parts of the country. In 1974, a legislation was specifically enacted to regulate and prohibit water pollution. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 established Pollution Control Boards at the Central and State levels and bestowed them with powers to prevent and control water pollution. However, the design and application of this law was largely limited to the contamination of surface water like rivers, creeks, ponds or streams.

In 2015, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation came up with certain guidelines specifically designed to deal with groundwater. It set up the Central Groundwater Authority and the State Groundwater Authority and made it mandatory for industries wishing to abstract water to obtain No-Objection certificates from these authorities. Even at the state level, in Karnataka for example, groundwater use is regulated by the Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act 2011.

How these laws can be used to find administrative remedies to combat water pollution has been put together in the form of two Information, Education and Communication materials by the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Program, with support from the Duleep Mathai Nature Conservation Trust.

The materials aim to give the reader an understanding of:

The existing legislations;
The kind of permissions which are needed;
The various institutions which are available;
The way in which evidence can be collected;
The manner in which complaints can be framed;
The various administrative remedies which are available;
The materials focus on the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Translations of the materials are also available in Hindi, Kannada, Odiya and Gujarati.