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About   Background
 
Groundwater in India is a vital resource. More than 60% of irrigated agriculture and 85% of drinking water supplies are dependent on groundwater. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world.
However, an increasing number of aquifers are reaching unsustainable levels of exploitation. Despite the valuable nature of the resource, 29% of groundwater blocks are semi-critical, critical, or overexploited, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly (2004 nationwide assessment). Moreover, aquifers are depleting in the most populated and economically productive areas. This will have serious implications for the sustainability of agriculture, long-term food security, livelihoods, and economic growth.
In other places, groundwater is still underdeveloped. This represents a yet untapped potential for improving livelihoods.
Finally, groundwater quality also represents a major challenge. It is threatened by both point source and non point source pollution. In some places, the aquifers have naturally high level of contaminants, such as arsenic, which render them unsafe for usage.
In view of these challenges, the need for reliable and comprehensive maps of aquifers is becoming more pressing for improved, more sustainable, management of groundwater.