The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has asked the state agencies dealing with water supply to ensure that there is no wastage or misuse of potable underground water and evolve compliance with coercive action.
An order dated October 8 was issued to the states and Union territories following a directive from the National Green Tribunal, an official from the CGWB said.
Another CGWB official said the action is to be taken under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 which specifies imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh for non-compliance of provisions.
” …The concerned civic bodies dealing with water supply network in the states/union territories, Water Works Department, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council, Development Authority, Panchayat or by any other name, shall ensure that there is no wastage or misuse of potable water tapped from underground and evolve compliance mechanism with coercive measures for violation,” the CGWB order said.
“No person in the country shall waste or misuse potable water resources tapped from ground,” it said.
The CGWB also mentioned the NGT directive issued in October 2019 which said in order to control wastage of water, there has to be specific time-bound action plan and monitoring which should include coercive measures for enforcement.
The NGT recently rapped the Centre over inadequate measures to prevent wastage and misuse of groundwater, saying there has to be specific time-bound action plans and monitoring.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the response filed both by the Ministry of Jal Shakti as well as the Delhi Jal Board does not show clear enforceable policy to check such misuse and wastage.
“The affidavit is vague and general. It is stated that letters have been written to the states. This step by itself can hardly be enough to discharge the public trust reposed in the Ministry of Jal Shakti,” the bench said.
“Apart from writing a letter, there has to be specific time-bound action plans and monitoring which should include coercive measures for enforcement,” it added.