New Delhi: Floods are natural calamity that India faces almost every year, in varying degrees of magnitude, leading to a loss of lives and property. The occurrence floods can be attributed to various factors, including wide variations in rainfall both in time and space with frequent departures from the normal pattern, inadequate carrying capacities of rivers, river bank erosion and silting of river beds, landslides, poor natural drainage in flood prone areas, snowmelt and glacial lake out-bursts.
National Water Mission (NWM) of Ministry of Jal Shakti has initiated “Catch the Rain” campaign in order to promote creation of Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions and sub-soil strata to store rain water. Drives to make water harvesting pits, rooftop RWHS and check dams; removal of encroachments and de-silting of tanks to increase their storage capacity; removal of obstructions in the channels which bring water to them from the catchment areas; repairs to traditional water harvesting structures like step-wells and using defunct bore-wells and old wells to put the water back to aquifers etc, are some of the activities suggested to be taken up with peoples’ active participation under this campaign.
Central Ground Water Board is implementing a nationwide programme of “National Aquifer Mapping and Management (NAQUIM)” for mapping of aquifers (Water bearing formations), their characterization and development of aquifer management plans to facilitate sustainable development of ground water resources. Aquifer maps and management plans have been shared with the respective State Government agencies. Public Interaction Programs are being organized at grass root level for disseminating the tenets of the Aquifer Management Plans for the benefit of the stakeholders.
To promote recharge of ground water, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has formulated guidelines for the States to adopt measures suitable to local conditions. Adequate focus has been given on requirement of rainwater harvesting and water conservation measures in Model Building Bye Laws (MBBL), 2016 and Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines, 2014.
The Ministry of Jal Shakti has not carried out any specific study to ascertain the extent of decline in water harvesting due to illegal encroachment of water bodies.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.