Representational image-Water Crisis, Screengrab Courtesy: Last Well
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New Delhi:

Groundwater levels in various parts of the country are reducing because of continuous withdrawal and 1,186 blocks have been categorised as ‘over- exploited’, Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday, reports PTI.

“Groundwater levels in various parts of the country are declining because of continuous withdrawal due to reasons such as increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialisation and urbanisation etc,” he said during Question Hour.

The minister said the dynamic groundwater resources of the country are being periodically assessed jointly by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and state governments.

“As per the 2017 assessment, out of the total 6,881 assessment units (Block/ Taluks/ Mandals/ watersheds/ Firkas) in the Country, 1,186 units in 17 states and union territories have been categorised as ‘over-exploited’ where current annual groundwater extraction is more than annual extractable groundwater resource,” he said.

Shekhawat said as announced in the Union Budget, it has been envisaged to ensure Har Ghar Nal Se Jal (piped water supply) to all rural households by 2024 under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

As reported by States on Integrated Management Information System, out of total rural population of 9182.58 lakhs, 7001.50 lakhs population (76.25 per cent) are fully covered (i.e. getting more than 40 litres per capita per day safe drinking water) and 1815.66 lakhs population (19.77 per cent) are partially covered (i.e. getting less than 40 litres per capita per day safe drinking water) as on July 7, 2019.

Hence, 96.02 per cent rural population has access to drinking water in villages, he said, adding availability of drinking water in rural areas is affected by many factors which include, depletion of groundwater level, contamination of surface water sources, drying up of ponds and wells, increase in population, deficient rainfall leading to insufficient recharge of water bodies etc.

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