Ground Water Quality

With fast growth in population and economy in the Ganga Basin the water use has intensified many fold. With highly uneven distribution of rainfall in the basin, it is experiencing severe water scarcity in many parts. Basin's groundwater is over-abstracted leading to lowering of water table at alarming rate which resulted in reducing the flows of most of the tributaries of the Ganga. With fast urbanization and increasing prosperity the wastewater is steeply increasing. Due to paucity of resources the urban local bodies, which are responsible for management of this wastewater, are not able to do so. Thus, a large part of this wastewater is getting into the river Ganga or its tributaries either untreated or partially treated. Reduced level of water flow coupled with increased waste loads pose serious water quality problems in the river. Although, access to drinking water has increased over the past decade due to large number of efforts by the government, still the tremendous adverse impact of unsafe water on health continues. The highest mortality from diarrhoea is said to be among children under the age of five, highlighting an urgent need for focused interventions to prevent and control water quality degradation to avoid diarrhoeal disease. The water quality monitoring results indicated that pathogenic pollution caused by discharge of untreated or partially treated domestic wastewater is the main cause of water quality degradation in the Ganga river. Most of the tributaries of the Ganga and many groundwater sources are affected by such pollution. Apart from pathogenic pollution organic pollution causing oxygen depletion was observed in many stretches of the Ganga and its tributaries. Nutrient enrichment followed by eutrophication is observed in some stretches of the Ganga and its tributaries. Toxic pollution is observed in some pockets of the river or its tributaries, where industries are concentrating. Due to lack of proper transport facilities (sewerage system) for the wastewater in the basin both for domestic and industrial wastewater, a large part of it is percolating in the ground and polluting the groundwater. Such pollution is evident in large urban and industrial areas. The over-exploitation of groundwater in many parts of the basin led to geogenic contamination by underground minerals. Fluorides, iron, arsenic, salinity and hardness is found to be increasing in many parts of the basin.


State wise details of contamination of ground water in some areas of the districts



Place of occurrences

Salinity (Inland)




Najafgarh, Kanjhawala, and Mehrauli Blocks


Karnal, Sonepat, Rohtak, Hissar, Sirsa, Faridabad, Jind, Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh

Madhya Pradesh

Gwalior, Bhind, Morena, Jhabua, Khargaon, Dhar, Shivpuri, Shajapur, Guna, Mandsor, Ujjain

Uttar Pradesh

Agra, Mathura, Mainpuri, Banda

Salinity (Coastal) West Bengal Haldia and 24 Parganas
Flouride Haryana

Hissar, Kaithal, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Jind, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Faridabad

Madhya Pradesh

Bhind, Moerana, Guna, Jhabua, Chhindwara, Seoni, Mandla, Raipur, Vidisha

Uttar Pradesh

Bulandshahar, Unnao, Agra, Aligarh, Mathura, Ghaziabad, Meerut, and Rai Bareilly

West Bengal



Uttar Pradesh



East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Mungher, Deoghar & Madubani, Patna, Palamau, Nalanda, Nawada, Banka

West Bengal

Midnapur, Howrah, Hoogly and Bankura

Manganese Uttar Pradesh Moradabad, Basti, Rampur, Unnao


West Bengal

Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda, South-24 Paraganas, Hoogly, Bardhaman, Howrah



Patna, East Champaran, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, Banka, and Bhagalpur


Naraina, Shahadara (Blocks)


Ambala, Sonepat, Jind, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Hissar, Sirsa, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Mahendragarh

Himachal Pradesh

Kulu, Solan, Una

Uttar Pradesh

Orai, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Faizabad, Sultanpur, Maharajganj, Gorakhapur, Deoria

Madhya Pradesh

Sehore, Bhopal, and West & Central part of state


Jaipur, Churu, Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jalore, Barmer, Bundi, and Sawaimadhopur

West Bengal

Midnapur, Howrah, Uttar Dinajpur, Malda, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Nadia, Bankura and Purulia


Shahadara and Mehrauli Blocks


Madhya Pradesh

Bhind, Shajapur and Sehore


West Bengal

Digha, Haldia

Zinc Delhi R.K. Puram
Heavy Metals


Dhanbad, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai



Himachal Pradesh

Purwanoo, Kalaamb

Madhya Pradesh

Bastar, Korba, Ratlam, Nagda

Uttar Pradesh

Singrauli, Basti, Kanpur, Jaunpur, Allahabad, Saharanpur, Aligarh

West Bengal

Durgapur, Howrah, Murshidabad, Nadia


Alipur, Kanjhawala, Najafgarh, Mehrauli, and Shahdara Blocks


The Central Pollution Control Board undertook a major groundwater quality survey and the report published in 1995 identified about 20 locations in various states of India as critical sites of ground water pollution. CPCB found that industrial effluents are the primary reason for ground water pollution. In the industrial and urban fringe zones of cities, sub-soil water has already been polluted by industries which release highly toxic substances. The wells in many residential areas are contaminated with nitrate and detergents.


Results of Chemical Analysis Carried by CPCB


Industrial Activities

Ground Water Quality Problem


(West Bengal)

Coal field

Heavy metals except Cu exceeded the desirable limit. Hg was also reported as high as 9.5 mg/l. Phenolic compounds were in traces. Total pesticides levels have violated the desirable limit.


(West Bengal)

Foundries, Electroplating & other mechanical type

Heavy metals viz, Pb, Cd, Cr were very high and Zn, Cu, were within limit. Hg was also present Fe & Mn were also very high, CN & Phenolic compounds in traces. EC, Cl, TDS were some time very high. Pesticides were also on high side.

Ratlam, Nagda

(Madhya Pradesh)

Distillery Dye (intermediates) Pharmaceutical (intermediates)

TDS, TH, Hg, Pb were on higher side considerable amounts of pesticides were also reported. Fecal Coliforms were also present particularly at Nagda.

Korba (Chhattisgarh)

Thermal power plants, ancillary units, Aluminum industries, mining

The presence of Cd, Fe, Cr & Cu has exceeded the presented limits, Pesticides were also present. Coliform, F, TDS, B & phenolic compounds also exceeded the standards.


(Uttar Pradesh)

Thermal Power Plants, aluminum Plants, organic chemicals industries and other subsidiary units with Carbon plants, caustic soda and pesticides

Fe, Cr & Cu were present in predominance. Presence of high Aldrine, Dieldrin & Lindane levels were also observed. Beside this F, Ca, Mg, B, Coliforms, Phenols exceeded the prescribed limit.



Insecticides, Caustic Soda, Vanaspati, Electroplating etc.

EC, TDS both exceeded tin drinking water standards. Coliform, F, NO3 were found significantly in higher values. Fe & Cr were in levels exceeding standards limit.

(Source : Central Pollution Control Board)


The details of ground water quality observations in the basin are given here.