A Brief Overview of Groundwater Pollution in India

Last Updated on 13 February, 2024 by Sourav Roy

Groundwater pollution is one of the major problems in India at the moment. In this article, we will briefly discuss groundwater pollution, its causes, effects and solutions.

A Brief Overview of Groundwater Pollution in India


Believe it or not, but India does depend a lot on groundwater and other water reservoirs to meet various requirements. For starters, the agricultural market of the country works solely based on the water bodies, such as rivers and ponds, to grow the plants. Moreover, the industrial fields require a considerable amount of water in several aspects as well.

However, there are a few regions in India where you cannot find any surface water at all. So, in that case, you will have to use the groundwater for your purpose (domestic consumption, irrigation, and, lastly, industrial necessities, etc.). Nonetheless, it is quite unfortunate that currently, India does not have that many pure sources of groundwater.

With the widespread groundwater pollution in India, most cities and regions of the nation are struggling with their case. But, how did the awful situation arise all of a sudden? Is there anything that we can do in this context? Let us take a look at a few of these aspects.

Recommended Reading: 9 Best Water Purifiers In India 2024


Some Crucial Statistics on Groundwater Position and Pollution in India

Some Crucial Statistics on Groundwater Position and Pollution in India

The issue of groundwater pollution in India has become one of the most talked-about factors in the country. Hence, to know more about this aspect, CGWB had recently carried out full-fledged research on this aspect. That, in turn, has brought several astonishing pointers to the surface.

According to the research, the total amount of utilizable groundwater reserve in India is around 433 BCM per year. However, as plants also do require it for their growth, we cannot use the whole of the resource. As per the reports, the plants usually consume around 35 BCM/year. So, in the end, we will get almost 398 BCM resources per year for our purpose.

The conducted research revealed that almost 89% of water is used in the irrigation procedure. From the remaining 11%, we do use 9% for our household purpose, and the other 2% goes to the industrial field.

The report also suggests that around 16 states in India over-exploits the groundwater sources, which means that they use more water than they actually should. These regions include – Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan.


What are the Main Causes of Groundwater Pollution?

To begin with, the extensive groundwater pollution in India did not certainly happen in a single day. It started slowly, due to several different causes, and started becoming prevalent over the years. Some of these causes are human-made, while others are the result of a natural disaster. So, here, we will be talking about some of the most prominent sources of groundwater pollution. Let’s get started.


1. Natural Causes

Natural Causes for Groundwater Pollution

As mentioned before, various natural phenomena inflict damage to our environment and pollute the groundwater. You can take the geological formations, such as volcanoes or metamorphic rocks, as some examples in this context. The eruptions tend to produce a lot of toxic substances while it is active. The toxins, which are thrown out by the formation, lands on the ground and, later, submerged within it. This, in turn, leads to groundwater pollution.

Besides, the aquifer sediments can also, sometimes, cause groundwater contamination by releasing arsenic material in it. So, if you live in an area where arsenic pollution is quite ubiquitous, then you should indeed use a best RO water purifier to decontaminate your drinking water. Otherwise, if you drink arsenic-mixed water, you might be affected by several severe skin diseases. Using contaminated water daily may lead to various stomach issues as well.


2. Industrial Causes

Industrial Causes for Groundwater Pollution

When working, the industries tend to release a high amount of toxic effluents through their seepage system. It later mixes with the grounds and inflicts severe damage to the purity of soil and groundwater. Further, sometimes, accidental underground gas tank leakages can also contaminate water pretty rigorously. Moreover, the experts also consider the disposal of slush and sludge material can also pollute groundwater.

Like the conventional industries, the neo-modern petroleum production companies also play a huge part in contaminating groundwater. While managing the sources, they tend to release brine to quite some extent. When mixed with soil, these components can make it salty, which, in turn, makes the underground water bodies salty as well. Lastly, various other industrial substances, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, zinc, etc.

Recommended Reading: Effects of Heavy Metals Contamination in Drinking Water


3. Agricultural Causes

Agricultural Causes for Groundwater Pollution

Yes, you have seen it right. Even a few agricultural practices, too, can cause groundwater damage and contamination. Let’s talk about it with an example. To grow a plant or at least a few of them, you will have to use fertilizers. Now, when you use them within a proper limit, they would not cause that much of an issue.

However, if you do employ them to a large extent, then the plants would not be able to soak all of them at once. Hence, there will be a few extra compounds left, which, further, will go deep into the soil and pollute the water beneath it. Moreover, sometimes, various wrongful irrigational methods, too, can cause groundwater contamination.

Recommended Reading: Arsenic Poisoning in Water


4. Human-based Causes

Human-based Causes of Groundwater Pollution

Besides the natural one, each of the other pointers talks about indirect human-based causes of groundwater pollution in India. However, now, you are going to know about the pollution-related factors that are directly connected to human beings. So, let’s start with the basic ones, which are seepage and landfills. Sometimes, we tend to stash our garbage underground. It, in turn, enables the corrosive elements from them to get mixed with the soil and pollute groundwater in the near future.

Moreover, many people also extract groundwater excessively for irrigation purposes. Hence, to fill the space up, the seawater comes bulging in it plus affects the quality of soil during the process. The inland salinity issues are pretty common in various regions of Punjab, Kutch, Haryana, and many other North Indian states. Besides, the installation procedure of nuclear-based power generators can release harmful uranium in the soil, which, subsequently, destroys the healthy microorganisms in the soil and affect the water.

However, to mitigate the number of pollutants from your drinking water, you can purify it through the RO water purifier.

Recommended Reading: Water Pollution Causes, Effects & Prevention


How Does Groundwater Pollution Impact Our Daily Life?

The extensive groundwater pollution in India has been affecting our lives in various ways. The following are some of them.


1. Economy

How Does Groundwater Pollution Impact Economy

Purging groundwater from all the substances can be quite costly and time-taking. Moreover, while working, the people of the region would not be able to use the water of the same. Hence, the Government would have to arrange an alternative water source for them, which can be pretty pricey as well.

Lastly, groundwater contamination can also increase the prevalence of numerous diseases that can be quite costly. One of the best ways to take care of this situation would be to buy a water cleanser. However, the best water purifier models in India usually do cost a lot. Hence, it becomes difficult for lower-class families to afford them.


2. Health

Blue Baby Syndrome

Several cases of groundwater pollution in India have brought up a plethora of new diseases over the years. Indeed, some of them are actually considerably mild. Others are highly dangerous and life-threatening. Besides, a few of these ailments are contagious as well. So, if the Government does not take care of it quickly, then it can lead to a precarious pandemic, just like cholera.

The nitrate-based contaminations are pretty common in the Indian rural areas. It usually occurs because of the excessive usage of fertilizers. So, if you drink nitrate-mixed water for a prolonged period, it can lead to cancer and other stomach-related problems. Moreover, it can also inflict Blue Baby Syndrome among toddlers. Lastly, seepage-based pollutions can cause several bacterial and viral ailments, which, if not treated quickly, can cause death.


3. Environment

Environment affected by ground water pollution in India

With the soil being polluted, the trees situated on it will stop growing. Some of them might even die. That, in turn, can affect our ecosystem massively. Moreover, the pollution beneath the ground can also indirectly affect the surface water and aggravate this whole issue even further.


4. Agriculture

Agriculture affected by ground water pollution in India

Besides contaminating water, the chemicals can also affect the quality of the soil. That, in turn, can reduce its overall production level. Moreover, a high amount of salinity level of the ground can also weaken its effectiveness to some extent.

Recommended Reading: Safe Drinking Water Guidelines in India


Groundwater Contamination in North and South India

Groundwater Contamination in North and South India

As stated previously, among the whole nation, the North Indian states have been affected most by the groundwater pollution issues. In these regions, the amount of surface water is pretty scarce. Hence, the individuals of these areas usually employ groundwater for every purpose. A few places like Haryana and Punjab have become parched due to the excessive amount of water extraction.

The massive withdrawal has dried down their groundwater sources and made the soil salty. This, in turn, has affected their agricultural works. Many people also have to travel from distant rural areas to the city to buy drinking water for their cause. The whole situation, as of now, is pretty grave in these states, and it will continue declining unless the Government takes a stern step against this situation.

Now, as we have seen the condition of North India, let’s go to the southern side of the country. This section of India usually does not encounter that myriad water-related issues owing to the availability of an abundance of rivers. However, the recent development of groundwater pollution in India has affected them pretty massively as well. Nonetheless, the South Indian states do not usually deal with mass water extraction. They have been affected by the presence of nuclear reactors and other industrial causes.

The city of Kudankulam, which situated in Tamil Nadu, houses a substantial amount of nuclear reactors. Each of them is pretty active and generally dispose of tons of uranium monthly. All of these compounds thereby get mixed in the soils and grounds located nearby the reactors. That, in turn, has increased the quantity of uranium in the groundwater of the city. Thus, the agriculturers of the town have stopped using the water for their cause.

So, as you can see, groundwater pollution in India has made a massive impact on the working culture of nature. Thus, if the governments, as well as the citizens of the country, do not take necessary immediate actions concerning this situation, the entire issue might become more dangerous.


How can this Situation be Reverted to Normal Again?

Due to years of contamination, the damage has already progressed by quite a mile. Thus, changing this situation overnight is, in reality, almost impossible. However, if we do take one step at a time, we can surely do something against this situation. Here are a few things that can help us to replenish our ecosystem to some extent.


1. Public Awareness

The first step in this war should be making the residents of the country aware of the dangers of groundwater pollution in India. If they do not understand the situation, then it would become almost impossible for the Government to take any successful steps against this situation.

So, first things first, we need to understand the gravity of this situation and stop the amount of pollution as much as possible. We can do this either by reducing the overall active time of the nuclear plants and being careful while spreading fertilizer throughout the cultivation field.


2. Supplying Pure Water in the Affected Areas

Supplying Pure Water in the Affected Areas

As you have previously read, several places in the country have been dealing with the water crisis for quite some time. Many people travel hundreds of miles just to buy normal water from the town-market at an over-priced rate. So, to deal with this grave situation, the Government should also distribute drinking water in these areas for free. Moreover, they must do it daily while clearing up the mess.


3. Using Water Purifiers

Using Water Purifiers

Yes, you have seen it right. To avoid drinking contaminated water, you would have to use a best water purifier. These products come with various advanced technologies, which can distil the pollutants from the water.

However, the Indian market is currently filled with multiple variants of water purifiers.

So, while choosing between them, you might get a little bit confused. Nonetheless, there are several RO vs UV vs UF water purifier guides available on the internet that can help you. So, make sure to check them out as soon as possible.


4. Implementation of Stringent Laws

throw plastic materials on the ground and water in India

Many people tend to throw plastic materials on the ground, which, subsequently, can pollute the water beneath in numerous ways. So, the Government should also implement some strict regulations to prohibit this kind of behaviour or actions.


5. Restricting Water Extraction

Restricting Water Extraction

A high amount of water extraction increases the quantity of salt in the soil. It is also probably the most common reason behind the massive extremity of groundwater pollution in India. So, to counter this issue, the Government can restrict the quantity of withdrawal to a certain point. It can surely be helpful in this case.



The issue of groundwater pollution has been affecting human lives for quite some years. So, to eradicate it from the core, we will have to work together and find a solution that can be beneficial for each of us.

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