Maharashtra is one of the first states to have regulated its groundwater resources. However, two decades after it introduced a law banning sinking of private borewells or deeptube wells within 500 metres of a public drinking water source, brazen extraction of water continues, even in the 16 drought-hit districts of the state.

This is reflected in the fact that 195 of the state’s 1,531 watersheds lie critically depleted, according to the state’s Groundwater Surveys and Development Agency (GSDA). Seventy-three of these are ‘overexploited’.