Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) which was carried out in identified districts for four months from July to November involving all States in two phases has ended for the season and the data received from the Abhiyan is currently being analysed by a team led by the Principal Scientific Advisor.
The selection of districts and blocks under JSA was based on the Central Ground Water Report ‘National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India, 2017’ which is the latest data available on the status of groundwater in India. The report identifies India’s districts and blocks that are over-exploited or critical, and these were taken up under the JSA. The level of planning and preparation for this very important initiative is that a senior officer of the Government of India of the level of Additional Secretary or Joint Secretary, representing all Ministries and Departments of GoI, worked with the district officers, and these senior officers were duly aided with technical inputs from experts of the Central Ground Water Board, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Central Water Commission, Central Soil and Materials Research Station, Central Water and Power Research Station, National Institute of Hydrology and the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor.
The JSA has a very robust impact monitoring mechanism. Four specific outcome parameters have been identified and States will be measuring them periodically over the next few years. These are (i) Increase in groundwater level; (ii) Increase in surface water storage capacity; (iii) Increase in the soil moisture in the farm land; and (iv) Increase in area covered with plantation and number of samplings planted. Each officer who visited the district identified and geo-tagged specific structures under each of the five intervention areas for measuring the outcomes of the program.
According to the government, the JSA has successfully raised the level of awareness of water conservation for all stakeholders, and the momentum generated needs to be sustained for the long term benefit.