Fee to Promote Conservation of Groundwater
- 14 Dec 2018
- 3 min read
In a bid to promote conservation of groundwater, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has notified a Water Conservation Fee (WCF) that industries will need to pay on groundwater extraction starting from June, 2019.
- Apart from industrial units, all business establishments and infrastructure projects, such as residential complexes, office buildings, hotels and hospitals, will have to pay WCF and also apply for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government.
- However, the agriculture sector — the largest consumer of groundwater in the country — will be exempt from the fees. Defence establishments and users who don’t use electricity to extract water have also been granted exemption from the requirement of obtaining NOCs and having to pay the WCF.
- The entire process of grant of NOC will be done online through a web based application system of CGWA.
- The rates would be levied depending on the location of the groundwater extraction point and the amount of water being extracted. E.g.
- 20 cubic metres a day in a ‘safe’ block would cost a company ₹3 per cubic metre, while extracting 5,000 or more cubic metres a day, at an ‘over exploited’ block would invite a daily charge in excess of ₹100 per cubic metre.
- In India, extracted groundwater is mainly used for irrigation and accounts for about 228 BCM (billion cubic metre) — or about 90% of the annual groundwater extraction. The rest, 25 BCM, is drawn for drinking, domestic and industrial uses.
- India is the largest user of groundwater in the world, and accounts for about 25% of the global water extraction.
- The WCF is meant to discourage the setting up of new industries in over-exploited and critical areas, and deter large-scale groundwater extraction by industries.
- It is also expected to force industries to take steps to use water efficiently, and discourage the growth of packaged drinking water units.
- Other salient features of the revised guidelines include encouraging the use of recycled and treated sewage water by industries, provision of action against polluting industries, and mandatory requirement of installing digital flow meters.