Odisha may face severe water crisis by 2051: Study

Bhubaneswar: Groundwater depletion is having serious consequences on communities around the world. It has also become a major cause of concern for Odisha. The groundwater levels across the state have been declining due to over-extraction and lack of proper water management.

A study report by SwitchON Foundation, released on World Water Day, indicates the distressing situation of groundwater depletion in Odisha. The report highlights that depletion in groundwater would aggravate water scarcity in the parched regions.

Research Findings:

  • Parts of the state are yet to achieve the recommended daily drinking water target of 40 litres per capita per day (lpcd).
  • At least 17 districts in Odisha are now facing the issue of saline groundwater. Besides, the concentration of fluoride, nitrate, iron and chromium (hexavalent) are found to be above the permissible limits in the groundwater in several districts of the state.
  • Lack of proper infrastructure and awareness could be blamed for high wastage of water at the domestic level.
  • The inflow of surface water from neighbouring states to Odisha will come down to 25.272 billion cubic metres (BCM) from 37.556 BCM by 2051.
  • By the year 2051, the total water requirement in Odisha may go up to 85 billion cubic metres (BCM) from the present requirement of 55 billion cubic metres. The state may face severe water crisis by 2051.


  • Baseline study of all active groundwater sources should be done for formulation of appropriate policies.
  • Conservation of wetlands for effective ground water recharge.
  • De-siltation/dredging of surface water bodies like streams, rivers and canals for better percolation and recharge of aquifers during monsoons.
  • Rejuvenation of dried up water storage units like ponds and tanks.
  • Artificial recharge structures to be constructed by taking into account aquifer characteristics and land use surveys.
  • Awareness should be created for promoting sustainable use of water and checking wastage at the domestic level.
  • Integrated approach for water conservation.
  • Proper assessment of the existing policies with regard to water conservation.

Overall, the study emphasises the urgent need for better management and conservation of groundwater resources. The report suggests specific policies to regulate the use of underground water and promote indigenous verities of crops.

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