Rostrum’s Law Review | ISSN: 2321-3787

A Study on Law Relating to Groundwater Recharge in India


Groundwater is the most extracted resource on the earth[i]. The groundwater depletion and pollution has initiated political and legal controversies in recent times[ii]. The past ten years have witnessed the discussions on various options to overcome the difficulties posed by groundwater depletion. The ‘artificial recharge methods’ and ‘rainwater harvesting’ are the ideas usually found in these discussions. This paper addresses the law and policy issues relating to groundwater recharge, but it has used a term (Managed Aquifer Recharge) which is not often used in the legal discussions. ‘Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)’, is emerging as a holistic approach to various groundwater recharge philosophies and the paper explains the rational for choosing this term.

The gap between the policy and law started widening ever since the legislation relating to environmental protection is made in India. The depletion of groundwater, the state expenditure relating to drinking water supply, climate change issues[iii], groundwater extraction by electric power, and mechanism to extract water from deep bore wells has initiated policy and law making initiatives. These initiatives include various groundwater recharge policies, programmes and laws. The paper surveys and identifies the gaps in law and policy relating to groundwater recharge as they seem to be not harmonious.

Managed Aquifer Recharge: An approach for future

Any discussion on groundwater governance, policy and law includes a deliberation on the groundwater recharge. The terms used to denote groundwater recharge processes includes artificial and natural recharge, aquifer recharge and rainwater harvesting. This term is widely used in water polices and official papers[iv]  of the state in recent times. A brief introduction to MAR will explain the reasons for preferring this term in this paper.

MAR describes intentional storage and treatment of water in aquifers, this term is preferred over ‘artificial recharge” as the later creates an adverse connotation of artificial in a society where community participation in water resources management is becoming more prevalent[v]. MAR includes a management proposal for all intentional and incidental recharge to groundwater, thereby proposing to regulate all sorts of groundwater recharge programmes under one umbrella concept. MAR has also been called as enhanced or augmented recharge, water banking and sustained underground storage. The common reasons to use MAR includes securing  and enhancing water supplies, improving groundwater quality, preventing salt water from intruding into coastal aquifers, reducing evaporation of stored water, maintaining environmental flows and groundwater[vi].

Constitutional Basics for MAR

From central government to NGO’s, largest polluting corporate to farmers relying on subsistence agriculture[vii], groundwater sustainability is considered as an important aspect in their work plan. This requires a Constitutional understanding on MAR in India to explain the rights of all stake holders including policy and law making powers, institutional structure and jurisdictional conflicts amongst various authorities.

Water, primarily a State subject[viii] under the Constitution of India was not considered as a significant subject to be regulated at the time of making the Constitution. This is reflected by the fact that ‘groundwater’ was not in the discussions of constituent assembly. Further, the Constituent assembly discussions relating to the most important subject of inter-state water disputes were also not very significant. At the time of independence, the water scarcity is not felt to this extend and the technology was not developed to transport and store water. Naturally, groundwater was one of the underutilized resources at the time of independence. Now it is one of the most extracted natural resource on the earth. At the time of providing a constitutional mechanism for Panchayat Raj institutions, these facts were considered and provisions relating to the management of groundwater and recharge were made implicitly[ix].

The fundamental right to water and its manifestations have attained significant developments in recent times[x]. The recognition has come from both international and national understanding on the requirement of a right based approach for water entitlements[xi]. The right to water extends to drinking water, environmental dimensions and other aspects including groundwater[xii]. One could bring an argument linking the fundamental right to water and the obligation to protect water resources, concluding a positive duty on the state to protect groundwater resources by taking appropriate measures including MAR.

The utilization and management of material resources of the State are best guided by the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). It is to be made clear that groundwater is a material resource[xiii] and the State is expected to secure the ownership and control of these resources to distribute for serving the common good[xiv].  Further, it is the obligation of the State to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country[xv]. This may be inferred to protect the water bodies in general and groundwater resources in particular. On the other hand a duty is imposed on the individuals to protect the environment and natural resources of the country[xvi].

National and State Water Policies

The recent version of the National Water Policy and its adoption is an example of the politics and controversies surrounded by water. The Union attempting to usurp the powers of the States and the States were opposed to the idea of uniformity of any kind emanating from Union mandate. The Union on the other hand did not make any sincere attempt to fulfill the constitutional obligation entrusted with the parliament to resolve inter-state water disputes as well as managing inter-state rivers. The inability to manage inter-state waters not only reflects the unwilling Union, but provides an opportunity to speculate on the intention of the Union to take larger regulatory role over water resources. The Union’s intention to regulate water in general and groundwater in particular, emerges from various constraints including financial dimensions of Union sponsored projects and the projects funded by international agencies as they reach the states with conditionality. The role of Supreme Court is significant regarding two aspects connected to groundwater. Firstly, the Supreme Court is liberal in its approach to declare right to water as a fundamental. Secondly, the groundwater depletion and pollution are increasingly receiving the attention of court. This has compelled the Union to revise the Water Policy. The newly adopted water policy was not welcomed by all States and one cannot be sure of realizing this policy as it may not be supported by the existing legal regime. Therefore, the water policy proposes a framework water law which will be adopted by States under Article 252 of Indian Constitution.

The proposed water framework law will be an umbrella statement of general principles of law guiding all the State agencies in their water related agenda[xvii]. The groundwater to be treated as a community resource held by the state under public trust doctrine, and the existing groundwater laws to be modified[xviii].  Though the Supreme Court has held that groundwater to be governed by public trust doctrine, the groundwater legislation which is to be discussed later in this paper, did not consider groundwater as public trust, but consider groundwater as a state controlled resource. Even these legislation are not enforced properly anywhere, for instance, the Tamil Nadu Groundwater Act of 2003 is yet to be notified in spite of High Court directions[xix].

 The policy recognizes the declining groundwater levels in over-exploited areas and addresses the technological measures to arrest such a trend. Artificial recharge programmes are to be placed to ensure the extraction-recharge balance of groundwater. The policy reiterates the need for aquifers to maintain the base flows to surface system and maintain ecology[xx], it recognizes the importance of groundwater in the interstate dispute settlement, and it declares the importance of aquifer mapping and the need to update the maps in future. The policy addresses several quality and quality orientated issues relating to groundwater, recycle and reuse of water, groundwater depletion due to various projects and the need and impact of small water harvesting structures[xxi].

Considering water as a state subject, the federal units should have come with water policies consistently. But we find that only few states have got their water policy, these policies also reflect the National Water Polices with few changes. For instance, the Orissa Water Policy calls for groundwater recharge programmes by roof top method and watershed programmes. It lays down a water utilization priority[xxii]. The Tamil Nadu Water Policy, 1994 emphasis the importance of groundwater protection and enhancement of water information infrastructure. Thus an effective governance system is missing from the State’s perspective; this encourages the Union to take liberty in making laws to govern various aspects of groundwater. If States have come up with a groundwater authority by their legislation, Supreme Court might not have ordered to constitute an authority through a legislation which was enacted to give effect for international obligations[xxiii]. (What was the international obligation to create central groundwater authority?)

Model Laws

Union has continuously evolved model groundwater laws for the past two decades for the adoption of States; number of States also enacted groundwater laws having these drafts as models. But the benefits out of these model laws or the implementation of the groundwater legislation are matter of great concern[xxiv]. It has not benefited the poor public in dealing with groundwater depletion[xxv]. The Madras High court refused to intervene the state’s scheme to provide drinking water to Chennai city while ignoring the groundwater related rights of farmers[xxvi]. The court decision would have been different if the State groundwater legislation has been brought into force[xxvii]. Similarly, Plachimada groundwater pollution might have been resolved properly if the State groundwater law is properly enforced[xxviii].

The model bills are in the making, the process continues with the Draft Water Framework Law released by the government of India. The proposed law claims to bring more economic value to the water by linking groundwater with electricity tariff, it further dwells into various groundwater recharge programmes and schemes[xxix]. It is relevant to look at the portion of the draft relating to the groundwater recharge,

“… (6)The appropriate Government shall demarcate groundwater recharge zones by identifying critical natural recharge areas of an aquifer and those areas that require special attention with regard to the recharge of groundwater and including areas that are affected by contaminants and saline Water ingress.

(7)The groundwater recharge zones …shall be accorded the highest priority in terms of groundwater protection and regulation and the appropriate government shall take all possible measures to conserve and protect such groundwater recharge zones”.

The electricity-groundwater nexus is a difficult one to be compromised in many States where electricity for agriculture is free or highly subsidized. The importance given to the economic value of groundwater may be subjected to criticism[xxx].

Union Legislation


The Easement Act, 1882 provides an absolute right of groundwater for the owner of the land, this illustration forms the basis for absolute ownership theory quoted often from an illustration to explain the exclusive rights of an owner[xxxi],

“The right of every owner of land to collect and dispose within his own limits of all water under the land which does not pass in a defined channel and all water on its surface which does not pass in a defined channel.”

In  M/s Nila Sea Foods Private Limited,[xxxii] Justice K. Venaktaraman has observed that the land owners have the right to draw the water from their land and absolutely there is no prohibition for tapping water even by an enactment of law by the appropriate government.  A similar view has been expressed by the High court in Era Soundara Pandian  -Vs- Mrs. Lakshmi[xxxiii], the respondent used to take water from the well for drinking and domestic purpose by using motor pump sets.  The Corporation entered into the property of the respondents and removed the motor from the premises under the Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003, later the corporation changed its version and they claimed to have entered under some other law. Though this contradiction was not accepted by the Court, it was observed that there is no need to initiate criminal proceedings against erred officials. In another significant case, it was contended that without notifying the Act, the authorities are not having right to take steps under the provisions of the Act. This was accepted and the court directed the government to take steps to notify the Act[xxxiv]. The Court made an order to State, not to issue any groundwater withdrawal permission till the Act is notified. The above mentioned cases reflect the conflict in enforcing the groundwater laws, thereby maintaining the validity of the provisions of Easement Act.

The Water Act, 1974 is enacted not only to maintain and restore the wholesomeness of water but also to establish appropriate institutions with a view in carrying the objectives of the Act.[xxxv]  The Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) were set up both at the Central and State level (including Joint Boards) for the effective implementation of the Act.[xxxvi]  The PCB’s promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the state.[xxxvii]  The PCBs also can enter the premises of any industry and take samples, if the water contaminated, the PCBs can issue order for closures of industry. This is to ensure the quality and quantity of groundwater, the industries will be indirectly forced to maintain the groundwater levels by recharging.

The Environmental Protection Act was enacted to protect the environment which includes groundwater resources.  The Act empowers the Central Government as the sole authority to exercise its powers to give directions for the stoppage or regulation of the supply of water for any other service.[xxxviii] Further, the Central Ground Water Board established under this Act serves as a monitoring agency for groundwater situation, the board provides various standards and provide technical and information assistance to States[xxxix]. The objectives of the board include “enhancing ground water sustainability through artificial recharge and rainwater harvesting as a measure for checking the depleting trend of ground water[xl]”.

 State Legislation

Water, as a State subject is to be analyzed from the State’s perspective. The provisions relating to MAR is expressed in various local laws, the Tamil Nadu laws are the first of its kind to provide compulsory rainwater harvesting structure in every establishment and household[xli]. It is pertinent that these laws come into effect at difficult water situations and enforced vigorously for a particular period of time[xlii]. One has not come across any recent studies to know the effectiveness of this law.

Over the last two decades, numbers of states have enacted their own groundwater laws. This has led to major reforms in the legal regime governing groundwater in India.[xliii] This State legislation broadly aims to redefine the rights, duties and roles of the government, as well as those of individuals, vis-a-vis groundwater resources. These laws have also resulted in institutional reforms and have also attempted to incorporate into groundwater regulation important norms of environmental law such as conservation and sustainable use.[xliv] Evolving groundwater laws seek to vest in the concerned state government the power to regulate and control the use of groundwater by private individuals. Various state Acts have adopted the licensing system as a regulatory tool (i.e., a permit or registration-based system). A systematic analysis of this legislation would help us to understand the scope for MAR under these laws.

Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002

The title of the Andhra Pradesh state legislation on groundwater indicates the emphasis on protection and conservation. The extent of regulation could range from mere monitoring of groundwater use through the registration process to complete prohibition or closing down of wells. The nature and extent of regulation depends upon the quality and quantity of groundwater in a particular area. For instance, there could be a complete prohibition on new wells in areas designated as ‘over-exploited’.[xlv] One of the important features of the evolving regulatory framework is the priority given to drinking water, particularly the special protection given to public drinking water sources. This prioritization is sometimes manifested in the form of provisions prescribing the distance required to be maintained by new wells from public drinking water sources.[xlvi] The Act specifically prohibits ground water contamination in any manner by anyone[xlvii] and prohibits direct disposal of waste waters into the aquifers.[xlviii] With a view to improve the groundwater resources by methods of harvesting and recharge the Act stipulates that the Authority may issue guidelines for constructing appropriate rainwater harvesting structures in all residential, commercial and other premises and open spaces.[xlix] The statute has a built in institutional framework for setting up of groundwater authorities at the state level.[l] The state groundwater authority shall perform the specific functions of promotion of water conservation and regulate the exploitation of ground and surface water in the State.[li]

Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003

The state legislation apart from the protection of groundwater resources interalia attempts to provide safeguards against hazards of over exploitation and to ensure planned development and proper management of this vital and limited resource.[lii]  This Act applies to the whole of Tamil Nadu except the city of Chennai and the legal provisions relating to extraction and use of groundwater in Chennai is governed by a separate legislation[liii]. The Act empowers the State Ground water Authority to develop, control, regulate and administer the groundwater and to direct and regulate the development and management of groundwater resources in the State consistent with conserving it and ensuring its optimal and efficient utilization.[liv] The Authority for the purpose of maximizing the feasible, conjunctive use of surface-water and ground-water may identify and notify ‘suitable areas’ to stabilize the existing use or to improve or increase the use of water.[lv]  The Act further confers power upon the Authority to lay down or adopt standards for quality of water depending on the kinds of water use by having regard to the standards evolved by the institutions either statutorily empowered or technically competent to do so.[lvi] The Authority has the power to direct, regulate and control the development, extraction and utilization of groundwater in the notified area.[lvii] To make suitable modification of groundwater regime due to mining activities, the Authority if satisfied may direct the disposal of mine water in a manner that it may be directly used by the farmers and its recharge, if feasible to augment groundwater storage.[lviii] As a regulatory mechanism, the Act also prohibits the transportation of groundwater by means of lorry, trailer or any other motor vehicle from any notified area for any purpose without obtaining a permit under the provisions of the Act.[lix] Any person desiring to transport groundwater from any notified area for any purpose, by means of lorry, trailer or any other motor vehicle shall apply to the authority for the grant of a permit.[lx]

Kerala Ground Water (Control and Regulation) Act, 2002

The important legal change is the incorporation of objectives of conservation and development of the resource. Most of the evolving groundwater legislation emphasizes conservation and development as major objectives. The Act recognizes the need for conservation in its preamble.[lxi]  The Act envisages the classification of areas on the basis of the condition of the groundwater.[lxii] Further the permit may be denied if it is likely to endanger the existing use of groundwater in that area. This regulatory framework also provides scope for subsequent alterations in the conditions specified in the permit or certificate of registration.[lxiii]  The regulatory framework provided under the Act is generally applicable to the ‘notified areas’. The power to notify an area vests with the state government[lxiv] and therefore the power of the groundwater authority in this regard is merely advisory in nature. The Kerala Government accorded priority to public drinking water use under the Act[lxv] and it mandates for the maintenance of quality of groundwater as a criterion required to be considered while granting permit or certificate of registration.[lxvi]

Himachal Pradesh Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2005

The Act applies to certain notified areas and permit or registration system is put in place in such notified areas.[lxvii] The Act empowers the Authority for the purpose of improving the groundwater situation to identify the areas of groundwater recharge and to issue guidelines for adoption of rain water harvesting for groundwater recharge in such areas.[lxviii] The Act requires all users in such notified areas to register their wells.[lxix] Potential users are required to seek prior permission. The control over groundwater use is sought to be effectuated by imposing conditions specified in the permit or certificate of registration.[lxx] The Act accords first priority to drinking water usage over other needs while granting permit or registration.[lxxi] The need to prioritize drinking water has been expressly recognized by the judiciary in a couple of cases.[lxxii]  The norm of according priority to drinking water is the prima facie objective of ground water laws. While granting permit the Authority has to consider the maintenance of quality of groundwater and its usage.[lxxiii]

West Bengal Ground Water Resources (Management, Control and Regulation) Act, 2005

The Act aims to manage, control and regulate indiscriminate extraction of ground water in the state. Groundwater authorities are vested with the responsibility of enforcing the regulatory tools provided by the relevant statutes to ensure sustainable use. By and large, the institutional mechanisms provided under various state groundwater laws follow a similar structure and perform similar functions.[lxxiv] However, there are some variations across states. For example, West Bengal has put in place a decentralized structure by providing three levels of groundwater authorities – state level, district level and corporation level.[lxxv] The decentralized institutional mechanism emphasise on preparation of district-wide groundwater profile periodically.[lxxvi] The Act in its preamble stated that maintenance of quality of groundwater as an objective and this mandate is to be considered while granting permit or certificate of registration.[lxxvii] While granting certificate of registration the Authority shall consider the groundwater balance, the quality and quantity of groundwater available in the locality.[lxxviii] The Act also imposes a legal obligation on the District or Corporation Level Authority to keep a regular vigil on the quality and quantity of water available from the ground water resources in the district or the corporation, as the case may be, and promptly bring to the notice of the State Level Authority any sudden deterioration in ground water resources or contamination of ground water resources with poisonous metals or chemicals or otherwise.[lxxix]

Chhattisgarh Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2012

The Act regulates and controls the Development and Management of Ground Water. The Act mandates the Authority, after consultation with various expert bodies, including Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to control and or to regulate the extraction or the use or both of ground water in any form in any area, to advise the State Government to declare any such area to be a notified area.[lxxx] For the purpose of groundwater recharge the Act explicitly contains a provision under which the Authority may identify the recharge worthy areas in the State and issue necessary guidelines for adoption of rain water harvesting for ground water recharge in these areas. In rural areas, watershed management to facilitate ground water recharge may be encouraged through community participation.[lxxxi] This legal provision inter alia emphasized the over-exploitation of ground water due to ever increasing population and other development activities that have led to fall in ground water table, drying up of wells, reduced sustainability of tube wells, environmental degradation etc. in many parts of the State. The Act underlines the need for groundwater recharge and rain water harvesting since it is essential to improve the ground water situation in critical areas. The Act prohibits contamination of groundwater by anybody including industrial, local bodies. It also prohibits direct disposal of waste waters into the aquifers.[lxxxii] 


The following observations emerge from the discussion on MAR, groundwater laws and policy,

  1. The laws and policies are inconsistent; such an inconsistency is not absolutely bad. But the criticism is that they cannot operate together in the present situation because of this inconsistency. If the state prefers to give primacy for policy, it leaves the laws not to be notified, authorities and rules are not to be made, ensuring that the state actions are not condemned by law and Courts. This kind of inconsistency defeats the purpose of both law and policy.
  2. The Union and States conflict with each other on various issues relating to groundwater, specifically on the primacy of the States to enact laws, enforcement of schemes and funding. These conflicts must end and the States may progressively make laws and policies ensuring their jurisdiction.
  3. Managed Aquifer Recharge is a natural development of scientific studies; the Union and States must progressively use the scientific advancements relating to groundwater resources and incorporate them into the legal and policy framework.


MAR: Comparative Table of Selected Groundwater Laws

Applicability & Purpose of Legislation General control of Groundwater Specific reference to MAR
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002 Applicable to all ground water resources in the State and to Promote Water Conservation, and Tree Cover and
Regulate the Exploitation and Use of Ground and Surface Water for Protection
and Conservation of Water Sources, Land and Environment
Ground water contamination in any manner by anyone is prohibited. [sec.19]

Direct disposal of waste waters into the aquifers, is prohibited.

To improve the ground water resources, by harvesting and recharge,
the Authority may issue guidelines for constructing appropriate rainwater harvesting
structures in all residential, commercial and other premises and open
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu Ground-water (Development and
Management) Act, 2003
Applicable to whole of Tamil Nadu except the city of Chennai.
To protect groundwater resources to provide safeguards against
hazards of its over exploitation and to ensure its planned development and
proper management in the State of Tamil Nadu
The Authority
shall have power to direct, regulate and control the development, extraction and
utilization of groundwater
The authority may direct the disposal of mine water in a
manner that it may be directly used by the farmers and its recharge, if feasible to
augment ground-water storage.
Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Act,1987 Applicable to the whole city of Chennai and certain revenue villages in Chengalpattu District.
To regulate and control the extraction and use of groundwater in any form and to conserve the same.
Licence to be obtained for extraction, use or transport of groundwater. [sec.5] To ensure optimum utilisation of groundwater and formation of hydraulic barrier against sea water intrusion, the Government shall issue instructions to the Board for implementing within such period as may be prescribed the scheme for artificial recharge.
Kerala Kerala Ground Water (Control and Regulation) Act, 2002 Applicable to certain notified areas
Grant of Permit to extract and use ground water [sec.7]
Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh Ground Water
(Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2005
Applicable to notified areas
To regulate and control the development and management of ground water
Establishment of an authority(Sec.3)
Licence to extract groundwater( sec.6)
Identify the areas of ground water recharge and issue
guidelines for adoption of rain water harvesting for ground water
recharge in such areas
West Bengal West Bengal Ground Water Resources
(Management, Control and Regulation) Act, 2005
Applicable to the State of West Bengal
To manage, control and regulate indiscriminate extraction of ground water in
West Bengal
Authorities at various levels (sec. 3)
Sinking of
wells for
extracting or
using ground
water (Sec. 7)
State Level Authority to issue certificate for recharge of ground water
Chhattisgarh Chhattisgarh Ground Water
(Regulation and Control of Development and
Management) Act, 2012
Applicable to the State of
To improve the ground
water situation
Establishment of an authority(sec.4)
Permission to extract groundwater (sec. 7)
The Authority may identify the
recharge worthy areas in the State and issue
necessary guidelines

Nota Bene


Co-funding to the collaborative project “Enhancement of natural water systems and treatment methods for safe and sustainable water supply in India – Saph Pani (www.saphpani.eu) from the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (grant agreement number 282911) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors acknowledge Mr. C. E. Paratap, Advocate, Chennai for the research assistance.


[i] Saroj Sharma, Managed Aquifer Recharge: Introduction, UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education, Delft (2011).

[ii] The Plachimada controversy is an example of emerging conflict between the public and industries over depleting groundwater resources and pollution.  See generally, Sujith Koonan, Groundwater – Legal Aspects of Plachmada Dispute, in P.Cullet, A.Gowlland-Gualtieri, R.Madhav and U.Ramanathan(eds.), Water Governance in Motion: Towards Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Water Laws, Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd. (Delhi:2010).

[iii] Debasis Poddar, Groundwater Governance in India: An Imperative for Climate-conscious Law and State Policy, unpublished paper presented in Second International Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, organized by ITM Universe- Gwalior held on December 5-7, 2010.

[iv] National Water Policy, 2012;   Jain,S K,  Harnessing the Managed Aquifer Recharge Potential for Sustainable Ground Water Management in India,  India Water Week 2012 – Water, Energy and Food Security : Call for Solutions, New Delhi (2012).

[v] Gale,I N, Macdonold,D M J, Calow,R C, Neumann, I, Moench,M, Kulkarni,H, Mudrakartha,S and Palanisami,K, “Managed Aquifer Recharge:An Assessment of its role and effectiveness in watershed Management”, Report of the DFID KAR project R8169, Augmenting Groundwater Resources by artificial Recharge (2006).

[vi] Supra note 2.

[vii] Subsistence agriculture refers to farming for basic livelihood needs. Refer, https://www2.ac-toulouse.fr/lyc-saintex-ouaga/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=169:subsistence-farming, accessed on 10.06.13.

[viii]Entry 17, List II, Seventh Schedule, Constitution of India.

[ix] The 11th and 12th Schedules to the Constitution of India refers to water management, watershed development and water supply as a subject which may be managed by local governments.

[x] Subhash Kumar –Vs- State of Bihar AIR 1991 SC 420.

[xi] M. K. Balakrishan and Others -Vs- Union of India and Others 2009 (3) CTC 412; Delhi Water Supply & Sewage Disposal Undertaking and Another -Vs- State of Haryana and Others 1996 (2) SCC 572. In these cases the Supreme Court recognized that the right to clean, healthy and potable water is a part of life and livelihood under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

[xii] Ibid

[xiii] “ Material resources as enshrined in Article 39(b) are wide enough to cover not only natural or physical resources but also moveable or immovable properties”,  State of Tamil Nadu v Abu Kavur Bai, AIR 1984 SC 326.

[xiv] Art. 39(2), Constitution of India; See generally, David Ambrose. A, Directive Principles of State Policy and Distribution of Material Resources with Special Reference to Natural Resources – Recent Trends, Journal of the Indian Law Institute, 55 (2013) the author concludes that the method of distribution of material resources are subject to judicial scrutiny.

[xv] Art. 48(A), Constitution of India.

[xvi] Art. 51(A), Constitution of India.

[xvii] National Water Policy, 2012, Part 2.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] The case is referred in Pacahi Perumal Vs State of Tamil Nadu, Judgement dated  08.07.2011 in W.P.(MD)No.6826 of 2011, available at  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1331549/ (last accessed on 07.06.2013)

[xx] Supra  note 18.

[xxi] Ibid,  Part 6.

[xxii] Orissa Water Policy, 2007, Part 9.

[xxiii] Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 Act No. 29 of 1986.

[xxiv] Sujith Koonan, ‘Legal Regime Governing Groundwater’, in Philippe Cullet, Alix Gowlland Gualtieri, Roopa Madhav and Usha Ramanathan (Eds.), Water law for the twenty-first century: national and international aspects of water law reform in India (2010) p.191.

[xxv] S.Ramamirtham v. State of Tamil Nadu, Judgement of the High court of  Madras dated 01.04.2005 in Writ Petition 1833 of 2005.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003 has not been brought into force. But some of the principles in this legislation are given effect by Government Orders.

[xxviii] Supra note 3: The plachimda dispute is an another example of non application of laws towards groundwater situation. The states asserts their right to extract water resources as explained in the previous Tamil Nadu case, when it comes to protection of resources the same states wither away from responsibility.

[xxix] See, Report  of  the Committee for Drafting of National Water Framework Law, available at https://mowr.gov.in/writereaddata/linkimages/nwfl1268291020.pdf (last accessed on 06.06.2013).

[xxx] The researchers have accessed the critical appraisal of the water policy and framework law by member of various forums, specifically at www.indianwaterportal.org.

[xxxi] Illustration (f), Section.7(a), Easement Act, 1882, Act No. V of 1882.

[xxxii] The case is referred in Pacahi Perumal v. State of Tamil Nadu, Judgement dated  08.07.2011 in  W.P.(MD)No.6826 of 2011, available ate  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1331549/ (last accessed on 07.06.2013).

[xxxiii] Crl. R.C. (MD) No. 191 of 2010 16 November 2011. https://indiakanoon.org/doc/615939472.

[xxxiv] Pacahi Perumal v. State of Tamil Nadu, Judgement dated  08.07.2011 in W.P.(MD)No.6826 of 2011, available at  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1331549/ (last accessed on 07.06.2013).

[xxxv] Water (Prevention and Control) Act, 1974 (Act No. 9 of 1974)

[xxxvi]Ibid,  Section 3, 4 and 13.

[xxxvii] Ibid, Section 16 and 17 .

[xxxviii]  Supra note 24,  Section 5 (b) .

[xxxix] Ibid, Section. 3(3).

[xl] See the official website of the boards, https://cgwb.gov.in/objectives.html (last accessed on 10.06.2013).

[xli] Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws(Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2003: Rules were also made under various building regulations to make rainwater harvesting a mandatory.

[xlii]See,  Souvik Bose and Abdus Salam, The Way out of dry times: Making rainwater Harvesting Mandatory, 1 Indian Juridical Review (2004) p. 256.

[xliii]For the list of States having separate groundwater law, see Table below.

[xliv]Supra note 3, p.191.

[xlv]Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002, Section 11.

[xlvi]Ibid., Section 10.

[xlvii]Ibid., Section 19.

[xlviii]Ibid., Section 19(2).

[xlix]Ibid., Section 17(1).

[l]Ibid., Section 5(1).

[li] Ibid., Section 6.

[lii]See, Tamil Nadu Ground Water (Development and Management) Act, 2003, Preamble.

[liii]Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Act,1987.

[liv]Ibid., Section 3.

[lv]Ibid., Section 4.

[lvi]Ibid., Section 6.

[lvii]Ibid., Section 9(3).

[lviii]Ibid., Section 5.

[lix]Ibid., Section 13(1).

[lx]Ibid., Section 13(2).

[lxi]Kerala Ground Water (Control and Regulation) Act, 2002.

[lxii]Ibid, Section 7(7).

[lxiii]Ibid., Section 11.

[lxiv]Ibid., Section 6.

[lxv]Ibid., Section 10.

[lxvi]Ibid., Sections 8(5)(d) & &(7)(d).

[lxvii]Himachal Pradesh Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2005 Section 5.

[lxviii]Ibid, Section 15(1).

[lxix]Ibid, Section 7(1).

[lxx]Ibid, Section 7(3).

[lxxi]Ibid, Section 8(2).

[lxxii]F.K.Hussain v. Union of India AIR 1990 Ker.321 and Venkaatagiriappa v. Karnataka Electricity Board 1999 (4) Karnataka Law Journal 482.

[lxxiii]Supra note 68 Sections 7(5)(d) and 8(4)(d).

[lxxiv]Supra note 3,  p.192.

[lxxv]West Bengal Ground Water Resources (Management, Control and Regulation) Act, 2005

[lxxvi]Ibid., Section 9(a).

[lxxvii]Ibid., Sections 7(3)(a).

[lxxviii]Ibid., Section 8(2)(a).

[lxxix]Ibid., Section 9(c).

[lxxx]Chhattisgarh Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2012 Section 6(2).

[lxxxi]Ibid., Section 20(1).

[lxxxii]Ibid., Section 20(5).

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