National Green Tribunal bars Groundwater Extraction for Commercial Purposes by Industries

National Green Tribunal bars Groundwater Extraction for Commercial Purposes by Industries
31 October 2019

National Green Tribunal bars Groundwater Extraction for Commercial Purposes by Industries

As the shortage of water and water crisis is being witnessed and the realization of it not just being one of those things written and read by the people, it is becoming as real as it could be. Further, steps are taken to preserve and protect drinking water is now witnessing a commotion, especially in the industrial areas. 

The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal has passed its statement disallowing the extraction of groundwater by the industries for commercial purposes under the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Corporation (UPSIC) development area at Ghaziabad. The authority has also cleared itself off the hours of even getting into previewing its earlier order setting aside a notification allowing the extraction for a charge of the Central Groundwater Authority (CGWA). The Industries are asked to seek out other ways to use water for their commercial purpose which included: 

  1. moving the industry to a place with better water availability of water coverage
  2. or to change its process of working in a way that does not include water usage

It is completely on the industry or the concerned authorities to look for other ways of extracting or getting water for their commercial usage. All it focuses on is not to let the left water to get in the commercial use of industries as the drawal of groundwater in those areas is depleting. “The first priority is making water available for drinking” as per a bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel which also included statements such as, "Since the OCS areas have been found to be seriously affected by over-drawal of groundwater, regulation of such drawal for commercial purposes cannot be dispensed with for any industry even in the industrial area”. 

On December 12, 2018, the authority allowed the extraction of groundwater for commercial purposes in overexploited, critically exploited and semi-critical exploited (OCS) areas, on payment of a charge. However, the order was set aside by the Tribunal on 11th September and the Association of Industrial Manufactures requested the Tribunal to reconsider the setting aside of the notification as they pleaded that the industrial area is developed without any water supply.  This setting aside of the order by the Tribunal made the guidelines issued in 2015 re-applicable. The guidelines prescribe the permissions to taken by NOC, for extracting groundwater, only for drinking in overexploited, critically exploited and semi-critical exploited areas and not for any commercial use. 

The court further stated that groundwater is a vital resource and it is already being exploited and replenishing and being the right of every generation to use it, certain measures are to be taken in order to protect it. To save it and preserve it for the coming generations, the depleting water supply requires the drawl of groundwater to be only used for drinking purposes thereby blocking all commercial uses and protecting it from being an exploited resource. Water is naturally a scarce resource and the industries have to put up with such scarcity and find other measures for commercial purposes. 

The court also made it clear that the continuation of the drawal of groundwater by industries for commercial purposes without the possession or permission of NOC from CGWA as per current guidelines and orders of this Tribunal in OCS areas will face the legal consequences.