Groundwater resources are over-exploited in 1,186 out of 6,881 “assessment units” (blocks, talukas, watersheds etc) in the country, the Jal Shakti Ministry said in reply to a question in Lok Sabha. This was as assessed in 2017, and translates to 17%, or one in every six of these units.
All these over-exploited assessment units are in 17 states and Union Territories. Punjab has the highest extent of over-exploitation at 79 per cent of its blocks, followed Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, each at 50 per cent or more.
Tamil Nadu, which has the highest number of blocks (1,116 firkas), also has the highest number of over-exploited units at 462 firkas, or 40 per cent. In Maharashtra, where the Marathwada region is drought-hit, 3 per cent of the talukas are over-exploited. In Uttar Pradesh with 830 units (820 blocks and 10 cities), 11 per cent are over-exploited. In the eight Northeastern states none of the assessment units (districts and blocks) is over-exploited.