Uttar Pradesh is a northern State and located between 23°52’N and 31°28’N latitudes and 77°3′ and 84°39’E longitudes. It has two major water sources from the rivers Ganga and Yamuna. About 92.84% of the cultivated area in the district is irrigated with tube wells. The other major source of irrigation in the district is canal irrigation. A very little portion of the land (00.01 per cent) is irrigated by other sources of irrigation. Farmers have been using water intensive crops and over exploiting the groundwater from eons.
Areas like Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh has been observed to have a high irrigation coverage which is about 94.60% of the net sown area and more than 7% of the total irrigated area uses canals as a source in Saharanpur district. Due to decline in rainfall, it has suffered from drought for 5 consecutive years. The shortfall was 24.44% which was more than the percentage of the state. The Bundelkhand region suffers because of water scarcity and persistent drought. The region comprises seven districts of Uttar Pradesh—Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Jalan, Jhansi, Mahoba, and Lalitpur. A total of 40 districts in the state are exposed to high concentration of arsenic in groundwater. The worst affected are Balia, Barabankhi, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Gonda, Faizabad and Lakhimpur Kheri. Most of the affected districts are situated on the floodplains of the Ganga, Rapti and Ghaghara rivers.
The base flow of the river Gomti has declined due to overexploitation of groundwater wells which uses it as the major source of water. The over-abstraction of groundwater has turned many perennial rivers of Ganga plain into intermittent rivers. Due to over-abstraction, the groundwater head falls below the base of the river and the connection between the river and the groundwater breaks. This results in drying of the river as loss of water from the river will not correspond to increase in the groundwater head further.
However, in post-monsoon of 2015, around 4.15 km2 of area came under this category, indicating lowering of groundwater tables. But according to a 2017 report, 82 blocks and nine cities were over-exploited while a report in 2013 showed 113 blocks as over-exploited. However, the drop in the number of over- exploited blocks in the state in 2017 could also be because criteria for assessment was different in 2013.
In February 2021, the state government passed the UP Groundwater (Management and Regulation) Act, 2019, which lays down strict punishment for that polluting groundwater. It makes rainwater harvesting for government and private buildings, and registration of submersible pumps mandatory which has the potential of becoming an effective move if implemented adequately.