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Revitalization of Stepwells and Borewells


10 cities across the country are getting ready to revive defunct borewells, neglected heritage stepwells and other shallow aquifers in a pilot project to recharge the groundwater as well as mitigate flooding. The pilot project will be executed under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Pilot Projects
  2. AMRUT – Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation
  3. AMRUT 2.0 – Second Phase Objectives

Key Highlights of the Pilot Projects

Cities Covered:
  • The pilot projects are being implemented in 10 cities across India, including Jaipur, Gwalior, Dhanbad, Kolkata, Rajkot, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai.
  • These cities were selected based on their historical dependence on shallow aquifer systems and the interest of local urban bodies in participating in the project.

Technical Partners:

  • The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), ACWADAM (Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management), and Biome Environmental Solutions are the technical partners for the project.


  • The pilot projects aim to recharge shallow aquifers, defunct borewells, and neglected stepwells to replenish groundwater resources and mitigate flooding in urban areas.
Advantages of Shallow Aquifers:
  • Shallow aquifers, ranging from 3 to 5 meters in depth, can be recharged relatively quickly and with less energy compared to deeper aquifers.
  • Once recharged, the water from these aquifers can be used by local communities, including informal settlements that rely on shallow aquifers for water supply.
Need for the Project:
  • While Indian cities primarily rely on surface water supply, approximately 40% of the water supply comes from groundwater.
  • Groundwater levels are depleting rapidly, necessitating the need for recharge.
  • India is the largest global user of groundwater, as highlighted in the United Nations World Water Development Report 2022.
Addressing Water Scarcity and Flooding:
  • By recharging groundwater, these pilot projects aim to tackle both water scarcity and flooding issues in urban areas.
  • Recharging groundwater can help maintain a sustainable water supply and reduce the burden on surface water sources.

AMRUT – Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation

Mission Objectives:

  • Provide basic civic amenities and improve the quality of life, especially for the poor and disadvantaged.
  • Ensure access to tap water supply and sewerage connection for every household.
  • Develop green spaces and well-maintained parks to increase the amenity value of cities.
  • Reduce pollution by promoting public transport and non-motorized transportation options like walking and cycling.


  • The mission covers 500 cities, including all cities and towns with a population of over one lakh and notified Municipalities.

Achievements of AMRUT:

  • Added 1.34 crore household water tap connections and 102 lakh sewer connections, benefiting over 4 crore people, ensuring water security.

AMRUT 2.0 – Second Phase Objectives:

  • Improve sewage and septic management.
  • Make cities water safe by ensuring no sewage drains into rivers.
  • Focus on enhancing sewerage and septic management to make all Indian cities water secure.

Targets of AMRUT 2.0:

  • Provide 100% coverage of water supply to all households in around 4,700 urban local bodies, providing 2.68 crore tap connections.
  • Achieve 100% coverage of sewerage and septage in 500 AMRUT cities, providing around 2.64 crore sewer or septage connections.

Principles and Initiatives of AMRUT 2.0:

  • Adoption of circular economy principles.
  • Promotion of conservation and rejuvenation of surface and groundwater bodies.
  • Data-led governance in water management.
  • Technology Sub-Mission to leverage global technologies and skills.
  • Conducting “Pey Jal Survekshan” to promote competition among cities.

Expansion and Impact:

  • AMRUT 2.0 extends coverage from 500 cities in the first phase to 4,700 cities and towns.
  • It is expected to benefit more than 10.5 crore people in urban areas.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023