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Groundwater Regulation:

ANDHRA PRADESH WATER, LAND AND TREE ACT (WALTA)Policy:
An act to promote water conservation and tree cover and regulate the exploitation and use of groundwater & surface water for protection and conservation of water sources, land and environment and matters connected therewith, or incidental thereto.

Salient Features:
• Registration of wells
• Prohibition of water pumping in certain areas
• Need for permission to sink wells near drinking water source
• Prohibition of commercial exploitation in certain areas
• Prohibition for development in over-exploited areas
• Protection of public drinking water sources
• Registration of drilling rigs
• Closure of wells in case of contravention of any of the provisions of the act
• Promoting rainwater harvesting
• Re-use of water
• Prohibition of water contamination

Walta – 2004( amendments)
• Provision for Divisional Authority
• All well sites to be selected by Ground water dept. or geologists registered by the dept.
• Rig owners should drill site only after obtaining report from Hydrogeologist.
• Insurance mandatory before taking up for drilling.

ROLE OF GROUNDWATER DEPARTMENT IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACT:
• Registration of all the existing Rigs in the AP state.
• Assessing groundwater resource and categorizing areas
• Providing the list of areas for Notification.
• Selection of well sites before drilling.
• Providing technical opinion in case of disputes.
• Joint inspection prior to leasing of sand reaches for mining.

PERMISSION FOR NEW WELLS:
A simple procedure to implement the Act effectively, a single window system at mandal level is adopted for disposing the applications for sinking of new wells, to mitigate any hardship to the general public. The following procedures are adopted for permission of new wells through single window system:
• On payment of Rs.100/- towards application fee to Mandal Revenue Officer, the farmer will apply permission for new well in Form – 2 along with a demand draft for Rs.1000/- in the name of concerned District Deputy Director, Ground Water Department, towards groundwater survey charges.
• After receiving the application from the farmer, the Mandal Revenue Officers are requested to verify spacing norms of 250 meters from the existing bore well of drinking water in the field to the proposed site for new well. If the MRO is satisfied for spacing norms, the case may be referred for APTRANSCO clearance for power feasibility.
• Only after clearance from APTRANSCO and Spacing norms satisfied by MRO, then the MRO will forward the application to the concerned District Deputy Director Ground Water Department to conduct investigations for groundwater feasibility.
• After groundwater investigations are completed, the feasibility reports will be forwarded to the MRO for according permission in Form 3.
• No well shall be drilled beyond 120m.depth.
• Mandal Revenue Officers should ensure that the Rig operated in their jurisdiction for drilling of new wells is registered with Ground Water Department.

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