India to spend seven-fold on mapping aquifers

India to spend seven-fold on mapping aquifers

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New Delhi: India will boost spending to map underground water resources more than seven-fold to INR 33 billion ($552 million). The project will be spearheaded by the Central Ground Water Board.

At least 85 percent of India’s villages and half of its cities rely on wells for water. Farming accounts for about 90 percent of water withdrawals in India, with irrigated acreage almost tripling since 1950. Overuse of wells is fast depleting India’s aquifers. Mapping aquifers, or underground reservoirs, is expected to help India better manage crop usage and ensure drinking water for its population. The water board plans to raise the scale of geographic area to be mapped from 1:250,000 to 1:50,000 for more accurate readings. “This increase in spending is unheard of. But it was required. Now we need to shift our focus on not just development but also management,” said Sushil Gupta, chairman of Central Ground Water Board. The board plans to make data available publicly for farmers.

Source: bloomberg.com