Groundwater resources are as important in ecosystems and ecosystem services as forests and wetlands. Forests and wetlands have figured in discussion on ecosystem and ecosystem services for a long time now. Groundwater, only recently and not as much! The stocks and flows in aquifers, determined primarily by their transmission and flow characteristics, provide a variety of services to both human and ecosystem needs. While aquifers provide water to meet human needs – drinking water, water for domestic purposes, irrigation requirements and water for industry – they also support a variety of habitats, primarily through seeps, springs and base flow contribution to river flows. In a monsoonal climate such as in India, base flow from groundwater is a relatively small but seasonally significant flow that keeps streams and rivers flowing during the dry periods of the annual hydrologic cycle. As aquifers are ‘developed’, one of the first visible impacts is often seen in the form of base flow depletion, with streams and rivers drying up. Is there a trade-off here? How important is such a trade-off? Does our policy make conscious decisions regarding such trade-offs? These are questions of relevance, given that India’s groundwater resources are skewed in distribution spatially and have witnessed time-transition in quantity and quality, during the last 4-5 decades. Hence, food and water securities are not only interlinked in a complex manner, but the added dimension of ecosystem security also necessitates a nuanced approach in planning, management and governance of India’s groundwater resources.

Correspondence address:

Advanced Center for Water Resouces Development and Management
ACWADAM ,"Suvidya", 27, Lane no. 3,
Kshipra Society, Karve Nagar,
Pune - 411 052 Maharashtra, India

Registered address:

ACWADAM, 4, Lenyadri society,
Sus Road, Pashan,
Pune – 411021. Maharashtra, India