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An overview of How to get CGWA permission for groundwater boring

CGWA Noc

An overview of How to get CGWA permission for groundwater boring

16 Dec, 2022
CGWA permission for groundwater boring

There are three conditions where groundwater needs to be extracted- for drinking and domestic use, for mixed purposes (i.e. domestic and industrial processes) and for irrigation in agriculture. All industries/ mining/ infrastructure dewatering projects, whether existing/ new/ under expansion and drawing/ proposing to draw groundwater through energised means, need to obtain CGWA permission for groundwater boring from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). With around one-sixth of assessed groundwater units in the country facing over-exploitation, the Central Government issued revised guidelines in 2020 over the 2018 draft guidelines meant for regulated groundwater use. CGWA is engaged in activities related to the regulation of groundwater development to ensure its long-term sustainability and issues CGWA permission for groundwater boring and water abstraction in different circumstances. All industries/ mining/ infrastructure and dewatering projects, whether existing or new and under expansion and drawing/ proposing to draw groundwater through energised means, must obtain CGWA permission for groundwater boring. In notified areas, CGWA permission for groundwater boring and the abstraction of groundwater through any energised means will not be granted for any purpose other than drinking and domestic use. However, withdrawal of saline water can be permitted in notified areas subject to some conditions.

Conditions for seeking permission for groundwater abstraction

The application process for CGWA permission for groundwater boring will need submission of the online application with the mandated documents once the profile is formed on the official portal of the authority.

Groundwater for domestic and drinking purposes

For granting CGWA permission for groundwater boring for drinking and domestic purposes, two broad categories were identified in the guidelines.

  • Individual households
  • Infrastructure projects and industries/ mines and water supply agencies

All the above users drawing or proposing to draw groundwater through non-energised means and pumps of up to 2 HP from one tubewell in their premises will be exempted from seeking CGWA permission for groundwater boring. An application for NOC for water withdrawal is only considered in cases where the water supply department cannot supply adequate water in that area. Also, government water supply agencies are required to seek CGWA permission for groundwater boring from the authorised officers for existing and new schemes based on groundwater sources available.

Groundwater for Industrial use

CGWA permission for groundwater boring to industries requiring groundwater for mixed-use, i.e. industrial process and drinking and domestic purpose, is only given in cases where adequate public water supply/ surface water source does not exist. NOC is valid for two years from the date of issuance. The applicant must apply for renewal within 90 days of the expiry date for the validity of the NOC. The following conditions, however, has to be met by the entity seeking groundwater abstraction for mixed-use.

  • Installation of digital water flow meter in the abstraction structure immediately after the boring of the well is mandatory. The monthly water meter reading must be recorded and submitted annually to the concerned Authorized Officer.
  • The entity must minimise the use of fresh groundwater through recycling and re-use of wastewater.
  • All industries must regularly monitor the quality of groundwater. Samples from tubewells must be collected during the months of April/ May and November. They must be sent for analysis from a NABL-accredited lab for basic parameters like concentration of cations, anions, heavy metals, pesticides, organic compounds etc. Annual water quality data must be made available to the Regional Office of CGWB/ State Ground Water Department/ State Ground Water Authority[1]/ Central Ground Water Authority.

Monitoring measures in case Permission is needed in Critical and Over-exploited areas

Quantity of Water ExtractedAudit RequiredMonitoring devices that need to be installed
> 500 m3 /day or > 200 m 3 /day in critical and over-exploited areasAnnual Water Audit in Annexure Vof the guidelines through CII, FICCI, NPC and certified auditors    No
> 50 to 500 m 3 /day or>20 to 200 m 3 /day in Critical and Over-exploited areas    –Installation of piezometer and DWLR (without telemetry) and continuous monitoring
beyond 500 m 3 / day or beyond 200 m 3 / day in Critical and Over-exploited areas    –Installation of piezometer and DWLR with telemetry for continuous monitoring

Mining projects

All existing, and new mining projects, need CGWA permission for groundwater boring for mine or dewatering from Central Ground Water Authority. In this case, the certificate’s validity will be two years from the date of issuance. The applicant must apply for renewal of NOC at least 90 days prior to the expiry of validity. The conditions to be fulfilled by the mining projects include

  • The water available from de-watering operations is to be put to gainful use, such as water supply, irrigation, dust suppression, mining process etc.
  • The project proponent will be required to establish a groundwater monitoring network or piezometers and install digital water level recorders with probes and telemetry within a 5 km radius of the mine.
  • In cases the mining project is located in the CRZ, the relevant provisions of the CRZ Act will apply in addition to the conditions stipulated by CGWA.

CGWA permission for groundwater boring for mining is granted after the submission of the following documents

  • Referral letters from statutory bodies like MoEF&CC or SPCB/ SEAC / State Level SLEIAA
  • Geotagged mine lease map
  • Document showing ownership/ lease of land
  • Mining plan approved by the referral Government agency/ Department.
  • Comprehensive report on groundwater conditions in the area’s core and buffer zone.
  • Water Conservation Fee based on the quantum of groundwater extraction.

Groundwater Abstraction for Agricultural Use

In India, the livelihood of farmers depends heavily on agriculture. They are therefore exempted from obtaining NOC from the Authorized Officer. In the case of large farmers, concerned State Departments will be required to undertake the following measures to ensure the sustainability of groundwater sources.

  • Minimise conveyance losses by adopting a surface and underground pipeline system.
  • Promote and incentivise drip, sprinkler, and other water-saving irrigation methods /practices/techniques.
  • Promote and incentivise diversification of crops to reduce cultivation of water-intensive crops.
  • Promote conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water in command areas.
  • Promote the use /reuse of treated /recycled water.
  • Arrangement for a dedicated electricity feeder for agricultural pump sets and assured power for fixed hours.

Application Process

An application has to be made to the CGWA along with the following documents.

  • Referral letter for new/ expansion industries from MoEF&CC / SPCB / SEAC / SLEIAA / BIS / FSSAI. The referral letter should mandatorily indicate the actual water requirement for the industry for the specified industrial process.
  • Consent to operate (CTO) by the concerned SPCB/PCC
  • Certificate regarding non or partial availability of water supply to the industry from the concerned water supply agency
  • Water Conservation Fee based on the quantum of extraction to the State Government

Conclusion

CGWA has been issuing guidelines from time to time for the evaluation of proposals and requests for groundwater abstraction to ensure the sustainability of groundwater in terms of quantity and quality. It also looks into the variations in the availability of water in different climatic regions and diverse hydro-geological conditions in various States of the country. Under the November 2015 Guidelines issued by CGWA, 162 critical/ over-exploited areas were identified to regulate groundwater development. In these notified areas, permission to abstract groundwater is not provided for any purpose other than drinking use. However, in non-notified areas, groundwater withdrawal is considered for the entities mentioned above. CGWA permission for groundwater boring is now to be issued based on the nature of the assessment units.

Read our Article: Detailed Procedure For CGWA No Objection Certificate Renewal

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