India: Haryana is soon to become the first state in the country to have aquifer mapping done for its groundwater resources by May. An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock, from which groundwater can be extracted. The mapping will assist the state in estimating the quantity and quality of groundwater in an aquifer and would help it in assessment of sustainable level of water extraction.
Eight states were named for this kind of scientific mapping, out of which, Haryana was selected in the first phase. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telengana are the other states selected for the purpose. These are the states where the groundwater situation has already reached a critical level.
"The mapping will help us know the exact location of aquifer, its size, quantum of water it can store and its recharge point. The objective of the programme is to prepare management plans, in consultation with stakeholders and state governments, which will help us take measures to replenish the declining groundwater," said Shashi Shekhar, secretary of the Union water resources ministry.
"The mapping in the priority eight states will, however, be done by 2017," he said. "Such efforts (aquifer mapping and subsequent planning for water use) will also help in making the country climate change resilient."