Groundwater in India: A Valuable yet Critically Threatened Resource

Unsplash/Patrick Beznoska

Water supports life in many ways. Human beings, animals and plants rely on water to live. Groundwater in India is critically threatened. The World Bank reports show that the aquifers in this country will run low in the next 20 years if the tapping continues at the same rate.

Other hydrogeology reports also concur with the World Bank and express their fears of the expansion of arid areas in the region. As the aquifers become depleted, the soil around these areas gets dry, and this is how desertification begins.

The Current Problem

The current data from reliable research firms show that India consumes about 25 percent of the total groundwater used by the whole world. The country uses over 200 cubic kilometres of groundwater every year, which is a high figure compared to other countries. The same reports show that most people rely on this water for irrigation and other domestic uses.

Surprisingly, more city residents are now sinking boreholes for wells because the municipal water supply is becoming more unreliable by the day. We all know that urban areas are the heavy users of water due to the concentration of homes. This is a further pressure on the groundwater supply, which is already at a critical level.
Commercial setups that heavily rely on water prefer to use groundwater rather than connecting to the municipal water supply, which barely helps in any way. It is common to have a factory sink its own borehole for a well and have a sufficient and reliable supply of water. Numerous commercial settings are increasingly depleting the groundwater in India at a fast rate.

Over the years, groundwater has increasingly become the substitute for the decreasing rains to ensure a sufficient supply of food. This is why over 70 percent of irrigation in India is using this groundwater supply. In the 60s, India was faced with a shortage of food because of the rainfall shortage. However, a similar shortage of rainfall in the 80s did not create a shortage of food since people had already adopted the use of groundwater for irrigation.

The Possible Solutions

Today, the World Bank experts are working hard to prevent the depletion of groundwater in India. They have already completed a proposal for a possible solution. These non-controversial interventions show that the society holds the key to groundwater management. They try to make the people understand that they have to come up with workable measures to manage the resource of which they are the custodians.
To make it more practical, they quote a practical solution adopted by the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is already known all over the world that this region has self-regulated the use of groundwater to almost sustainable levels. In addition to in India, these farmers have become a working example to be quoted all over the world.


The Indian government has the mandate to educate society with all the necessary information. They link the people with organizations like the World Bank to help them come up with a solution that will save the groundwater. As we speak, this resource is critically threatened. Unless some intervention is undertaken, India may face a catastrophe in the years to come.