New Delhi: The national capital is at the epicenter of world’s largest groundwater depletion crisis, according to a research conducted by the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI).

In a report by The Times of India, Dr Virendra M Tiwari, director of NGRI said, “From Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Western UP and Rajasthan, nearly 32 cubic km of water is being lost every year, which is much more than the usual and it is only partially being recovered in successive monsoons. In a drought year, the extraction in northern India is going up to 100 cubic km.”

Some reports suggest that groundwater is being pumped out 70 per cent faster than what the Central Groundwater Board of India estimated earlier.

“We have no clue how much ground water is left in the region. But what we clearly know is that the picture is very grim,” Tiwari told TOI.

This research throws weight behind the 2018 June NITI Ayog report that underlined the need to conserve and recycle water- with India dangerously staring at acute water crisis by 2030. The report placed New Delhi in a rather precarious spot alongwith 20 other major cities of the country that might run out of groundwater as early as 2020.

The report, titled ‘Composite Water Management Index’ was released by Minister for Water Resources Nitin Gadkari in June last year.

The NGRI scientist further said that the loss of groundwater table in the Indo-Gangetic basin that comprises of 2,000 km of land from Pakistan to Bangladesh might trigger moderate earthquakes in the region.

Advocating for sustainable use of groundwater, Tiwari in an interview with the TOI said, “All the groundwater pumping is happening for agriculture and perhaps cannot be stopped. So now, you have to find a way to manage sustainable water.”

According to the same TOI report, the Indian government has entrusted the NGRI to look for new aquifers in the country. Speaking about the same, Tiwari added, “We have found new aquifers and now we have to upscale our work in those areas and ensure proper water management methods are followed while drawing water.”