Now, fine for illegal groundwater extraction

Agri, drinking, domestic usage exempt; objections to draft guidelines invited till Dec 17

Now, fine for illegal groundwater extraction

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12

Unauthorised extraction of groundwater without mandatory permission in the state would now attract a penalty between Rs 8 and Rs 22 per cubic metre per day.

The regulation forms part of the draft groundwater guidelines prepared by the Punjab Water Regulatory and Development Authority (PWRDA), inviting public objection by December 17 before the guidelines are notified.

The guidelines say the PWRDA would give permission in over-exploited zones, subject to stringent water conservation measures or heavy charges. Earlier, the Central Ground Water Board (CGBW) had stopped permission for expansion and new units in the over-exploited zones.

The extraction of groundwater for agriculture, drinking and domestic usage has been exempt from the provisions. It has been proposed for volumetric charge of groundwater extraction and based on water meters to be installed by all users.

To give relief to micro, small and medium enterprises, slab rates have been proposed, with minimal rates for small volumes of groundwater extracted up to 10 cubic metres per day.

The state has been divided into green, yellow and orange zones. The highest groundwater charges would apply to the orange zone, which is the most water stressed and the lowest charges would be in the green zone.

Those opting for implementing water conservation measures would be eligible for a water conservation rebate in the charges.

The gross charges range from a minimum of Rs 4 per cubic metre in green zone for the volume up to 10 cubic metre per day to a maximum of Rs 22 per cubic metre in the orange zone for the volume exceeding 100 cubic metre per day.

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