Month: November 2023

The water of 37 out of 38 districts of Bihar is not fit for drinking, the government admitted.

Earlier in Bihar, arsenic, fluoride and iron were confirmed in groundwater in 28 districts, but now the Deputy Chief Minister admitted that the water in 37 districts was no longer fit for drinking.

In Dhamdaha village of Purnia district of Bihar, yellowness is visible near the hand pump due to excess of iron. Whereas this hand pump has been installed by the government to provide iron free water. Photo: Pushya Mitra

Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi has informed in one of his speeches that the water of 37 out of 38 districts of Bihar is not fit for drinking. These include contamination with fluoride, arsenic and iron. Despite all the efforts of the government, supply of quality drinking water in 31 thousand wards of the state still remains a challenge. He was addressing the 52nd annual conference of the Indian Water Works Association in the auditorium of NIT Patna on Sunday. This admission of Deputy Chief Minister Modi shows that a large population of the state is still in serious danger due to consuming infected drinking water. With this, the scope of infection has increased, because till just a few years ago only 28 districts of the state were under the scope of drinking water contamination.

Earlier there was infection in 28 districts

However, information is still available on the site of the state Public Health Engineering Department based on the 2009 groundwater quality status report only. Information has been given there that 13 districts of the state are affected by excess of arsenic, 11 fluoride and 9 iron. In some of these districts, there are two types of infections, thus the number of groundwater infected districts is said to be 28. Similarly, there is information about iron contamination in the water of 18673 tolas, fluoride contamination in the water of 4157 tolas and arsenic contamination in the water of 1590 tolas. In this way, groundwater of a total of 24,420 hamlets is reported to be infected.

According to the 2009 report, all the districts situated on the banks of Ganga in the state are under the influence of arsenic contamination. All the districts of South Bihar are fluoride infected and nine districts of East Bihar are at risk of iron infection. Some districts of North-West Bihar were till now said to be free from groundwater contamination. But according to new information, they too may have been infected with iron or arsenic. Yesterday the Deputy Chief Minister informed about the contamination of water in 31 thousand wards of 37 districts of the state.

Infection increased in 6,580 hamlets of nine districts

If this information is considered correct, then in the last ten years the infection has spread in the groundwater of 9 districts and 6,580 hamlets. Continuous efforts were made to get information in this regard from the department officials, but they were not available. According to a report available on the department’s site, the target is to provide pure drinking water in these tolas by March 2020. But how much this can be achieved remains to be seen.

Risk of cancer, fluorosis and gas related diseases

The number of cancer patients is continuously increasing in Bihar due to arsenic contamination in groundwater. It is believed that one in every ten thousand people in an arsenic contaminated area is at risk of becoming a victim of cancer. The number of gall bladder cancer patients has increased rapidly in the last few years in Bihar, and arsenic is being considered a major reason behind this. Last year, a joint research by India and UK revealed that wheat grown in arsenic contaminated areas also poses a risk of cancer.

Similarly, fluorosis patients are seen in abundance in many fluoride infected villages of South Bihar. Their bones start becoming crooked. Gas and related diseases are prevalent in iron infected areas.

Neerain is proud to republish this article for spreading awareness about situation of water, for our stakeholders. Credit whatsoever goes to the Author.

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Author:  Pushya Mitra

Publish On: 13 January 2020

Pune’s Water Crisis: Legal Notices Issued To PMC, PCMCPMRDA; Petitioners Threaten Contempt Petition In High Court

The bench had gone into the details of the PIL and took note of the grave situation of water scarcity stated in the PIL in context to the urban areas of Pune district. The Bombay high court had taken note of the above information and had directed that a special committee be constituted separately for PMC and PCMC. And such committees shall attend to the complaints of the residents regarding water scarcity. The PMRDA was also directed to address the water problems faced by the residents coming under their jurisdiction.

Pune, 23rd November 2023: the PIL 126/2023 regarding water problem faced by the residents of urban areas of Pune district was last heard by the division bench headed by acting chief justice SV GANGAPURWALA and justice Sandeep Marne at Bombay high court on 10.04.2023.

The committee is to consist of 1) municipal commissioner 2) divisional commissioner 3) chief city engineer 4) member, secretary, district legal services authority. The committee therefore is to consist of people who are involved in the redressal of the water problem faced by the residents of the affected areas.

Where is the special committee? – citizens ask! Contempt of court petition to be filed.

Satya muley – advocate Bombay high court, stated that a notice was sent to the PMC, PCMC and PMRDA in the month of June 2023 requesting for information about formation of such a special committee. However, none of them responded by giving any information about the formation of the committee. Therefore, it is apparent that PMC, PCMC and PMRDA have not formed any such special committee. Therefore, a fresh legal notice has been issued on 22.11.2023 to PMC, PCMC and PMRDA. If we do not receive the information about formation of the special committee, then a contempt of court petition will be filed against all the respective office bearers who are supposed to be the members of the proposed committee.

PMC, PCMC & PMRDA not serious about water problems of the citizens.

In a similar PIL during 2016-17 the Bombay high court had directed the PMC to form a special committee to attend to the complaints of the residents regarding the water scarcity problem. Adv. Satya muley points PMC had formed such a committee in the past, but the committee met only for 4 times during 2017 and 2018, and very surprisingly was dissolved stating the reason that there was no water scarcity problem. He also pointed out that had such a committee been functional, today the grave situation of water scarcity would not have arisen in urban areas of Pune district. Earlier during the hearing of November 29, 2022, and December 15, 2022, the Bombay high court had expressed serious concerns about the issue and also had warned for imposing fine on the respondents for their slow response.

Water scarcity-current scenario

Several housing societies across Pune district are facing severe water shortages and spend huge amounts for purchase of water from private water tanker operators. Each and every neigh Bourhood of urban area of Pune district coming under PMC, PCMC and PMRDA are facing acute water shortage of drinking and domestic use water. As per ministry of housing and urban affairs, 135 Litres per capita per day (LPCD) has been suggested as the benchmark for urban water supply. The situation is so bad that in several areas of Pune residents are not getting even 20 litres of water supply per head per day. Baner- Balewadi, Wagholi, Hinjawadi, Bavdhan, Pashan, Pimpri Chinchwad, Wakad, Mudhwa and many regions of Pune district are facing severe water crunch, and the urban areas are now under the strong grip of private water tanker mafia. As per one estimate the housing societies in Pune district are spending over 300 to 400 crores per month to purchase daily need water from private water tanker operators. Does this figure provide the reason behind the artificial water scarcity in Pune district? People are forced to spend money for water in urban areas of Pune district.


Speaking on behalf of the petitioners, adv Satya muley said, “water is a basic necessity of life, and the current state of water supply situation in urban areas of entire Pune district is pathetic. The PMC, PCMCPMRDA and the Pune Zilla parishad should stop giving permissions for new constructions if they are not able to provide water to the existing residents of Pune district. When a problem is existing and known, then in such a case these authorities do not have right to make the problem bigger. Before giving any fresh permission to any new construction, these authorities must attack and solve the water Scarcity problem on war footing. People are losing their patience if the special committee does not start functioning in next couple of weeks, a contempt petition to prosecute all the authorities shall be filed at Bombay high court. Supply of fresh potable water is a constitutional responsibility of all the local bodies under article 243w of the constitution of India and under the s 63 (20) of Maharashtra municipal corporations act. Article 21 of the constitution of India guarantees right to life, and water means life!”

Heavy dependence on ground water

Pune’s heavy dependence on groundwater proves particularly problematic during Maharashtra’s recurrent seasonal droughts. Groundwater serves as a lifeline for lakhs of citizens during these dry spells. However, local authorities have failed to incorporate this essential basic necessity into their planning frameworks, leading to groundwater depletion and the drying up of most wells and borewells post-monsoon.

The ministry of Jal shakti’s guidelines for urban water conservation outlines measures for cities to:

  • increase rainwater harvesting
  • reuse treated grey water and sewage water
  • Rejuvenate urban water bodies, including step wells, ponds, and lakes.

Regrettably, the only noticeable activity is the rampant construction of new buildings, further increasing the Pune district’s population which will create severe water scarcity. The petitioners hope that the high court directed committees be constituted without delay and that they undertake public hearings where citizens can voice their grievances related to water scarcity. The petitioners expect that the committees take requisite steps to ensure that the citizens are provisioned and supplied their rightful water quota.

“we don’t get corporation supply and our dependence is on private water tankers. We don’t understand how building permissions are given without making basic water supply available”, said Tushar Sarode, resident of sus.

“since 2013 our residential buildings do not get a single drop of water from gram panchayat, zilla parishad or PMRDA. We spend lakhs every month to buy private water tankers, till today green olive apartments must have paid crores to local tanker suppliers. What is shocking is that nobody is bothered in the entire government to solve our problems in spite of more than 10 follow up to each authority every year”, added Amrut Khodke, chairman of green olive apartment Hinjawadi.

The petitioners who issued the legal notice and were the original petitioners in the PIL: wagholi housing societies association, Pune district co-operative housing societies and apartments federation, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak panchayat, Pimpri Chinchwad co-operative housing welfare societies federation ltd., Baner – Pashan link road welfare trust, Balewadi residency co-operative housing welfare federation ltd., dear society welfare association, Bavdhan citizens forum, Hinjawadi employees and residents trust, Aundh Vikas Mandal, and association of Nagar road citizens forum noting the outcry in the residents of all urban areas of Pune district due to water scarcity had filed the water PIL at Bombay high court through Satya muley – advocate the supreme court of India and the Bombay high court.

The following parties were made respondents in the water PIL: 1) union of India, department of water resources 2) central ground water board 3) state of Maharashtra – water resources department 4) Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran 5) Maharashtra water resources regulatory authority 6) Pune municipal corporation 7) Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporation 8) Pune metropolitan region development authority 9) Zila parishad Pune PIL 126/2022 Satya muley advocate the supreme court & the Bombay high court

Neerain is proud to republish this blog for spreading awareness about situation of water, for our stake holders. Credit whatsoever goes to the Author.

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Published on: 23rd November 2023

42 to 79 percent of the world’s groundwater sources will be exhausted by 2050, scientists claim

In a new study, researchers found that about 20 percent of river basins have already reached their limit, where groundwater extraction from the ground exceeds that of the stream.

Photo: Ankur Paliwal

Groundwater is the most commonly used source of fresh water throughout the world. According to statistics  , about 200 crore people globally today depend on it for their daily needs and irrigation. According to estimates, 20 percent of the world’s population depends on crops irrigated by groundwater. The pressure on these reserves, which are already under pressure to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population and the continuous increase in crop production, is increasing.

Due to the rapid and uncontrolled way in which we are exploiting groundwater, these groundwater sources are depleting rapidly. On the other hand, these groundwater sources are not being recharged by rain and rivers. Analysis of satellite data obtained by NASA has revealed that the water level of 13 of the world’s 37 major groundwater sources has reached the danger mark. The rate of recharge of groundwater there is much less than the rate of its exploitation. The problem of falling groundwater level is becoming more serious in areas where intensive agriculture is done. Also, due to this, the pressure on rivers to supply water to the agricultural sector is increasing day by day. Assessments show that by 2050, its widespread and serious impacts on rivers, lakes and wetlands around the world will become apparent.

To understand this, an international team of researchers has attempted to measure the rate at which existing groundwater is being mixed into rivers and lakes. Which is called flow of current. He has also studied how the exploitation of groundwater for agriculture has affected this process. The researchers found that about 20 percent of river basins have already reached their limit, where groundwater extraction from the ground exceeds that of the stream. This  study  has been published in the international journal Nature.

Scientists have also used climate change models to predict how river flows will decrease in the future. In which they found that 42 to 79 percent of the world’s groundwater sources will be exhausted by 2050. Due to which they will be unable to maintain their ecosystem. Inge de Graaf, chair of environmental and hydrological systems at the University of Freiburg in Germany, explained what devastating effects this could have in the future.

According to the graph, it is very clear that if there is no water in the stream then definitely the plants and animals living there will die. Also, more than half of the crops which depend on groundwater for irrigation will also be destroyed. According to this latest study published in Nature,  in the valleys of Ganga, Indus and Mexico, where dependence on groundwater for crop production is high, river flow is decreasing due to uncontrolled exploitation and as Africa and Southern Europe The demand for groundwater is increasing in the areas where the impact of serious water crisis will be visible in the coming few years.

The situation is serious in India also

Globally, groundwater is exploited the most in India, where 230 cubic kilometers of groundwater is used every year, which is about a quarter of the global use of groundwater. Scientists have estimated  that in North India, which is the main wheat and rice producing region of the country, groundwater is depleting at the rate of 5,400 crore cubic meters per year. A report released by NITI Aayog  had also expressed concern over the continuously decreasing groundwater level. According to him, by the year 2030, the decline in groundwater in the country will take the form of the biggest crisis. By 2020, groundwater in 21 cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will be on the verge of depletion.

It is noteworthy that to deal with the groundwater crisis, the Modi government had proposed ‘Atal Groundwater Scheme’ in March 2018. Which was to be implemented with the help of the World Bank in a five-year period from 2018-19 to 2022-23. Its goal was to ensure proper and sustainable management of groundwater with everyone’s participation in the seven states of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, which are facing serious groundwater crisis. But due to lack of Cabinet approval, this scheme has been stuck for the last one and a half years.

How can there be a solution?

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had warned in one of its assessments that by 2050 the global population will cross 1,000 crore. It also explained how the threat of global warming can be tackled through proper water management in the agricultural sector. De Graaf noted that many places in the world have achieved success in limiting groundwater use through agricultural techniques, such as in parts of the Mekong Delta in Southeast Asia where water-intensive rice crops were grown as a pilot project. Coconut is being cultivated in place of sugarcane crops.

If we do not wake up today, our future generations will have to face such a groundwater crisis, the effects of which will be no less than a time bomb. Because of the uncontrolled way in which we are exploiting this resource, and due to this the pressure on groundwater sources is increasing. The consequences would be dire as it would take decades to refill these underground water systems.

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Author:  Lalit Maurya

Publish On: 04 October 2019


Solution to water crisis: This village set an example, opposing borewell

The villagers surprised the government and administration by refusing to get a borewell constructed in their village.

Villagers digging wells in Kedia village of Jamui district of Bihar. Photo: Pushyamitra


There is a festive atmosphere these days in Kedia village of Jamui district of Bihar. Digging of wells is going on in full swing. 16 wells are to be dug in this only organic village of Bihar. Till now two wells have been completely ready, excavation of the remaining wells is going on. The villagers acquired these wells by fighting with the government. The government wanted to provide them the facility of two state borings, but they said that they only want wells. The underground water level will fall due to boring, some people will get immediate benefit from this, the rest will be deprived. The Bihar government had to bow down to the insistence of the villagers and give permission for the digging of sixteen wells in this village.

Anandi Yadav, a farmer of the village, says, it all started three years ago when Sudhir Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Agriculture Department, came to visit the village. By that time the village had completely adopted organic farming and the Principal Secretary was very happy about this. He had said at that time that when you people are doing so much work then why not give you two state borings for irrigation from the government. But the Principal Secretary was surprised when the people of the village unanimously opposed the state boring and said that if we have to give something then we should give the wells.

After this, a survey of the farmers of the village was conducted and most of the farmers agreed in favor of wells, however, during the survey, some farmers said yes to state boring and the district administration, considering the opinion of those farmers, is preparing to install state boring in Kedia village. Started doing. When the villagers came to know about this, they opposed this plan and gave a written application to the district administration and the state agriculture department that a well should be dug in the village and not a state boring.

After this, when State Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar also came to this village, people told him this. However, even after this the work was not done easily. He had to keep requesting the state government and the district administration. Only then was approval given for 16 wells for the village.

Photo courtesy:

Today, when wells are being dug in the village, the villagers are very happy. Farmer Sumant Kumar says that ever since organic farming has started in the village, our attitude towards farming has changed. By forming an organization called Jeevit Mati Kisan Samiti, we continuously do new experiments in farming so that the quality of the soil is preserved and our farming can become sustainable. He says that the most interesting thing is that Jamui is considered a water stressed area in Bihar and the water level here is the lowest. But when we are digging wells, water is coming out only at a depth of 17 to 22 feet. We are finding it difficult to collect water.

On Thursday, June 13, State Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar is going to reach Kedia village to lay the foundation stone of these wells. Interestingly, the farmers of the village have also donated 80 decimal land to the state government for these wells at the rate of 5 decimal land per well.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, associated with the organic farming campaign, says that for water conservation, it is very important to conserve soil and increase the amount of organic carbon in it. In this respect, this experiment has its own importance and it is expected that farmers across the state will adopt it. This will help in better conservation of soil and water.

Eklavya Prasad, who is engaged in developing water self-reliance in Bihar through the Megh Pine campaign, says that the way the farmer community has been accepted in Kedia is a big achievement in itself, because the well is the ideal of irrigation with self-management and regulation. The means are there, if anything happens to the well tomorrow, the farmers will not depend on anyone, they can repair it themselves. Under this pretext, the good thinking of the farmers there is also coming to the fore. If the government is digging 16 wells instead of 3-4, then it is also an initiative to promote decentralization, in this respect this decision of the government is also excellent. If water is available there at 17 to 22 feet, then obviously we need to think again about the wells and adopt it. This is positive news not just for Kedia but for entire Bihar. If this campaign is carried forward in a concrete manner then its results will be excellent.

Sanjay Kumar, Deputy Director, Planning and Soil Conservation, State Agriculture Department, calls this experiment very important and says that even though today farmers have to do irrigation through boring, sooner or later the farmers of the state will adopt this model.

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Publish On: 11 June 2019



Water reserves are decreasing in north-west India, central Pakistan and north-west America.

Among the users of groundwater, America is in the list with 31 percent of the worldwide total, while India is at 15 and Pakistan is at 13 percent.

Photo courtesy: down to earth

Water reserves are decreasing rapidly in North-West India, Central Pakistan and North-West America and water storage is also decreasing in the high plains and central valley of America. This matter has come to light in a new study. This study explains the Earth’s supply of fresh water and strategies to manage it sustainably.  

The study led by the University of Texas at Austin  highlights the relationship between surface and groundwater and suggests different strategies for managing both.

“I like to emphasize that there are multiple solutions and how to optimize them is important,” said Bridget Scanlon, a scientist with the UT Bureau of Economic Geology, a research unit in the Jackson School of Geosciences.

The study used data from satellites, climate models, monitoring networks and nearly 200 scientific papers to analyze Earth’s water supply. In this, it has been found out how water is changing in different areas and what are the reasons behind these changes. 

According to the study, people mainly depend on surface water. Globally, it accounts for 75 percent of irrigation and 83 percent of municipal and industrial supply annually. However, what we see on the surface is linked to groundwater flow. In the US, about 50 percent of annual runoff begins as groundwater. Worldwide, surface water that seeps into the ground accounts for about 30 percent of the annual groundwater supply.

Among the users of groundwater, America accounts for 31 percent of the world’s total, while India accounts for 15 percent and Pakistan accounts for 13 percent. Most of the groundwater is used for wheat, maize, rice, sugarcane, cotton and fodder etc.

Anthropogenic interference can significantly affect the exchange of water between surface and groundwater sources. About 85 percent of the groundwater pumped by people in the US is captured by surface water, causing declines in streamflow. Also, irrigation from surface water can increase groundwater recharge as irrigation water seeps back into the ground through the soil.

The study cites several examples of human activity affecting this flow between surface water and groundwater supplies. For example, surface water irrigation in the Columbia Plateau and Snake River Plain of the northwestern US recharged aquifers in the mid-1900s, while global models show that groundwater pumping has increased the amount of water moving into streams by 15 to 21 percent. The percentage has been greatly reduced. Global watersheds are at risk due to low flows.

Despite their interconnectedness, surface water and groundwater are often regulated and managed as separate resources. According to the researchers, future water availability depends on identifying whether surface water and groundwater are at an interface.

Photo courtesy: pinterest

The study describes various methods of managing water through both natural and engineered solutions that can help increase water supply, reduce demand, store water and keep it flowing. According to Scanlon, one of the best ways to adapt to increasing climate extremes is to store water during times of abundance and use it during times of drought.

He said that we  are facing the brunt of drought and are also struggling with floods. We’re trying to manage those extremes and one way to do that is to store water.

Annually, the world stores about 7,000–8,300 cubic kilometers of water in surface reservoirs. The researchers said it was also important to continue to develop groundwater supplies, as they are more resilient than surface aquifers during prolonged drought.

Managed groundwater recharge can help cities increase their groundwater supplies by collecting surface water and converting it into underground aquifers. Around 10,000 cubic kilometers of water is stored in this way every year around the world.

Photo courtesy:

Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, said this type of integrated research linking surface and groundwater is really needed to develop sustainable solutions to issues like freshwater use.

Matthew Rodale, a hydrologist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said the research provides a useful overview of the results and potential solutions for managing water supplies while maintaining water quality. Water quality is one of the next goals in terms of being able to manage water resources , he said . This study has been published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment.

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Author: Dayanidhi

Publish On: March 23, 2023