Groundwater resources management and protection policies in India
Sammanfattning: Water is a basic human need, afinite source of life support system, having its economicvalues being the key to the prosperity. The effects ofindustrial-pollutant sources on the groundwater system wereevaluated at Ludhiana, Punjab, India. The quality ofgroundwater in the region has been affected negatively due tothe discharge of untreated effluents and wastes onto open land,depressions, low lying areas and into soak pits causing directpollution of groundwater. Improper drainage in industrial areaof the city causes infiltration of the effluents down into theaquifer system through highly permeable sediment. High valuesof electrical conductivity (EC), concentrations of Na+, Ca2+, Cl-, HCO3-, Cr, CN-, and NO3-N indicate the impact of industrial effluents.Based on the hydrochemistry, the groundwater is classified asmixed cation-bicarbonate types and its unsuitability fordrinking has been assessed. The present studies made itpossible to demarcate areas of contaminated groundwater andthose prone to contamination in the near future. Thegroundwater quality in and around the industrial areas atLudhiana-Ambala G.T road and Janta Nagar (to a depth of 30 to50 m) has become hazardous. Industrial effluents with highCr(VI) and CN-has spread vertically and laterally andcontaminated the groundwater, which is the source of domesticwater supply (Paper I). The main roots of the problem are thesmall dyeing and electroplating units, which are scattered inthe town. The economic as well as physical possibilities toattach these units to common treatment plants are remote. Somepossible remedial measures are suggested.The evapotranspiration ofgroundwater with residual alkalinity is the mechanism for theformation of high fluoride groundwater in India (Paper III).The increasing exposure to fluoride depends partly onalkalinisation of soils due to irrigation projects. Thecombination of water harvesting with soil treatment to decreasethe alkalinity of the area to be recharged could be viable insitu method to reduce the fluoride concentrations.In spite of that the groundwaterrecharge is quite well known in India, overdraft occursespecially in hard rock terrains. The 'water rights' undercommon law in India belong to the landowner, which has resultedinto the quantitative threats to the groundwater in terms ofuncontrolled exploitation for industrial and agricultural use.Depletion of several aquifers caused shortage of drinking waterand serious problem for other water uses. The populationgrowth, rapid urbanisation, unplanned industrialisation andlack of infrastructure for water supply, disposal of wastes,industrial effluents and sewage has given rise to qualitativethreats, due to uncontrolled entry of pollutants into thegroundwater affecting the aquifers.During the study of groundwaterpollution at Ludhiana, Punjab an effort has been made throughthis research work to correlate the results with findings atother places through different case studies in India. Itisrevealed that there had been a considerable lack from theauthorities in bringing changes into the existing waterpolicies and measures to control water pollution for propermanagement and utilisation of the water resources (Paper II).Water must be considered as a national asset and a basic humanright to be provided to all the citizens. It requiresprotection for the sustainable development and distributionwith equity and fairness amongst the users. The measures toresolve the groundwater problem are suggested in the Paper Iand II. The accomplishment of the object demands properawareness of the resources, causes of depletion and pollution.To mitigate the problems co-ordination at all levels in thefederal set up need to be mobilised along with the stakeholdersnot least the women. With this understanding of the problem,the co-operation of the politicians, administrators and thepublic at large is the need of the hour.Keywords:Groundwater, pollution, protection, chromium,fluoride, management, measures, stakeholders, water policy,Ludhiana, India.
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