Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wells In India - Whew!

I once had the priviledge of meeting and talking to Dr. Tushaar Shah of the International Water Management Institute, Anand, India Regional Office while he visited Kansas on issues of groundwater management.  He was invited to Kansas by KU Law Professor John Peck after having made the statement that institutional groundwater management had not been successful anywhere in the world.  Professor Peck invited him, and asked several of the Kansas groundwater management districts to present a response to his sweeping statement.  Of course, Professor Peck believed that local GMDs in Kansas were far more successful than Dr. Shah's statment would lead everyone to believe.  We presented, and basically concluded that we were mostly successful, but had more work to do - blah, blah, blah. 

But it was during our lunch discussion that I was blown away.  Dr. Shah had told me that India has at least 20 million groundwater wells in the country, but no one really knew how many more there might be, and that with their governmental and water management structures, there was no control over existing wells and little end in sight to new wells coming on line.  Twenty million plus wells and growing. 

Our GMD is fairly well developed (a bit over-developed, in fact) with 3,552 wells, but we're considerably smaller.  Our 4,845 square mile area, by the numbers then, contains about .75 wells per square mile.  India's area is 1,269,219 square miles - meaning they have some 17 wells per square mile - for every square mile in the country.  How'd you like to manage that? Dr. Shah quietly asked me. 

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