National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAQUIM)

The National Aquifer Mapping and Management program (NAQUIM) is a crucial initiative being implemented by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in India. The program aims to map aquifers, which are water-bearing formations, and develop Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of groundwater resources.

Background

NAQUIM was initiated as a part of the Ground Water Management and Regulation Scheme to delineate and characterize the aquifers to develop plans for ground water management. Aquifers are the rocks in which groundwater is stored, and they are typically made up of gravel, sand, sandstone or limestone. The Ground Water Management and Regulation Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme of the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation.

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Water Resources and is the National Apex Agency entrusted with the responsibilities of providing scientific inputs for management, exploration, monitoring, assessment, augmentation, and regulation of groundwater resources of the country. It was established in 1970 by renaming the Exploratory Tubewells Organization under the Ministry of Agriculture and later on merged with the Groundwater Wing of the Geological Survey of India during 1972.

Objectives of the Program

The main objective of NAQUIM is to map aquifers, which are water-bearing formations, and develop Aquifer Management Plans to facilitate sustainable management of groundwater resources. The program aims to provide comprehensive and realistic information on the geologic framework, hydrologic characteristics, water levels, and the occurrence of natural and anthropogenic contaminants.

The program also aims to support sustainable management of groundwater resources by providing information on drinking water security, improved irrigation facilities, and sustainability in water resources development in the country as a whole.

Benefits

Aquifer mapping is a crucial tool for understanding and managing our groundwater resources. By providing comprehensive and realistic information on the geologic framework, hydrologic characteristics, water levels, and the occurrence of natural and anthropogenic contaminants, aquifer mapping can help support sustainable management of groundwater resources.

The program will also help in resolving issues of water management and water governance, and will provide information on drinking water security, improved irrigation facilities, and sustainability in water resources development in the country as a whole.

Wastewater treatment is also an important aspect of this program, as treated wastewater can be reused for non-potable purposes, thus reducing the strain on freshwater resources. This will also lead to the monetization of sludge and treated sewage, making the program self-sustaining.

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