Ground Water Legislation in India

Published on 29/05/2012

To enable the States to enact Ground Water Legislation, the Ministry of  Water  Resources  has circulated a Model Bill to all the states to Regulate and Control Development of Ground Water. So far the states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry have enacted and implemented ground water legislation.

Guidelines for Evaluation of Proposals / Requests for Ground Water Abstraction for Drinking and Domestic Purposes in Notified Areas and Industry / Infrastructure Project Proposals in Non Notified Areas.


The development of ground water in different areas of the country has not been uniform. Highly intensive development of ground water in certain areas for irrigation, drinking, domestic and industrial uses in the country has resulted in over-exploitation leading to long term decline in ground water levels as well as deterioration in the quality of ground water.


The prime objective of the guidelines for the withdrawal of ground water, especially for the industries and infrastructures, is to focus on a specific part of ground water management viz. ensuring sustainability of ground water both in terms of quantity & quality and also focus on land based management of ground water resources, looking into the variations of availability of water in different climatological regions and diverse hydrogeological conditions in various states of the country.

A.    Guidelines for withdrawal of Ground Water for drinking and domestic purposes in Notified Areas:

The CGWA so far has notified 43 areas for the purpose of regulation of ground water development. The guidelines for abstraction of ground water for drinking & domestic purposes in Notified areas for various users are given below:

(I)    NOC can be accorded for construction of tube wells / replacement of existing defunct wells.
(II) Permission will not be accorded for construction of tube well for agriculture, industrial, commercial, horticulture and construction purposes.

B.    Guidelines for evaluation of proposals/requests for Ground Water Abstraction for   Industry/Infrastructure project proposals in Non Notified Areas:

B-I Criteria for the Development & Management of Ground Water:
The criteria for the development and management vary widely. The prospects for the management of ground water in various regions are also varying and required to be addressed as area specific. The criteria to be considered are:

  • Purpose of ground water use
  • Examining the area of ground water against its availability
  • Availability of Shallow and Deeper aquifer
  • Criteria for Recycling and Reuse of effluents as per the norms of PCB / PCC(s) / MOEF
  • Adoption of Water Conservation measures
  • Installation of water meters
  • Examining the Scope of Rain water harvesting and ground water recharging potential
  • Land Use
  • Ground water Draft
  • Saline ground water aquifers
  • Mining Areas

B-II Abstraction of ground water for Infrastructure Projects:

  • Run-off from the entire project area is to be artificial recharge to ground water.
  • The quantum of water for usage other than drinking/domestic shall not exceed 25% of the total requirement.
  • The concerned State Government, while sanctioning any infrastructure project is to look into ground water availability aspect also.
  • Proponents are to submit a status report on water supply available from water supplying agencies stating the quantum of water that would be provided by the agency.

B-III Abstraction of ground water for Industrial Projects

  • Areas having Deeper Aquifers
  • Water table intersection by mining industries and dewatering of mine pit water
  • Abstraction of Saline ground water by industries

(III) Adoption of Rain Water Harvesting & Artificial Recharge by Existing Industries:

  • All industries, including existing units, which are drawing ground water, shall mandatorily undertake artificial    recharge measures.
  • The artificial recharge proposals are required to be vetted by any competent authority.
  • Treated water shall not be used for recharge to ground water.

(IV) Exemption of Industries from obtaining NOC from CGWA.

  • Industries requiring ground water upto 25m3/day located in over exploited areas; upto 50m3/day for critical areas; and upto 100m3/day in semi critical areas are exempted from obtaining NOC for ground water abstraction   from CGWA.
  • Industries located in Safe category areas, are required to obtained NOC from CGWA if ground water abstraction by the industry exceeds 1000m3/day for hard rock areas and 2000m3/day for alluvial areas. Such cases will be examined in ‘B’.
  • (The above will not include industries which are using water as a raw material like packaged drinking water industries, distilleries and breweries)

Procedure to be followed for evaluation of industry/ infrastructure project proposals seeking Ground Water Clearance:

A committee with the following composition to be constituted at district level for receiving and evaluating the project proposals, for ground water clearances:

  • District Collector  – Chairman
  • Hydrogeologist CGWB of concerned district    – Member
  • Representative from Industry – Member
  • Representative from Pollution Control Board – Member
  • Additional member to be adopted if required.

The committee shall meet at least once in a month depending on the number of proposals received for examination and forward the same to CGWA through Regional Director after reviewing. The CGWA will clear these cases.

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