ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Groundwater Budgeting

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In their article “From Groundwater Regulation to Integrated Water Management: The Biophysical Case” (EPW, 5 August 2017), Veena Srinivasan and Sharachchandra Lele point out the fundamental need in India to shift towards the integration of groundwater, surface water and soil moisture. The article identifies the lacunae in the present methodology of groundwater estimation, as well as in the legal framework, in terms of the compartmentalised planning of water resources. It also recommends the adoption of water budgeting to counter the existing mismanagement of water resources. The nuances of these arguments are discussed below.

The article states that groundwater is not within the mandate of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA), and it covers only surface matters, perpetuating the same compartmentalised thinking. It is true that the jurisdiction of the MWRRA, when established in 2005, was limited to regulate surface water. However, through the Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act 2009, in effect from December 2013, the MWRRA has been given the additional jurisdiction as “State Groundwater Authority.” The MWRRA is now supposed to play a dual role of regulating surface, as well as groundwater, albeit, not in an integrated manner. Even if the MWRRA is mandated with the responsibility of surface water and groundwater, the legal framework compels it to practise the same in a compartmentalised manner.

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Updated On : 27th Oct, 2017
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