Who is Exempt from Obtaining CGWA NOC?


The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) plays a crucial role in the management and regulation of groundwater resources in India. One of its key functions is the issuance of No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for various activities that involve the extraction and use of groundwater. These NOCs are essential to ensure sustainable groundwater management and prevent over-exploitation of this precious resource. However, there are instances where certain individuals, industries, and projects may be exempt from obtaining an NOC from CGWA. In this article, we will delve into the exemptions provided by CGWA and explore who qualifies for them.

Understanding CGWA and NOC

1. Role of CGWA

The CGWA, established under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, is entrusted with the task of managing and protecting groundwater resources in the country. Its primary aim is to prevent and control the depletion of groundwater levels and maintain the quality of groundwater.

2. Importance of NOC

An NOC from CGWA is required for various activities such as the drilling of new borewells, expansion of existing industries, or setting up new projects that involve the use of groundwater. This certificate is essential to ensure that groundwater is used responsibly and sustainably. Without an NOC, these activities are prohibited, as they could potentially deplete groundwater reserves, leading to adverse environmental and social consequences.

Exemptions for Agriculture

1. Agricultural Activities

Agriculture is one of the primary sectors that depend on groundwater for irrigation. Recognizing its significance, CGWA has provided exemptions for certain agricultural activities. Small and marginal farmers and individual users drawing groundwater for agricultural purposes are generally exempted from obtaining an NOC, provided they adhere to the prescribed limits.

2. Criteria for Exemption

To qualify for the agricultural exemption, the usage of groundwater must fall within the limits specified by CGWA. These limits vary from state to state, depending on the availability of groundwater in the region. Farmers must also submit necessary documentation and adhere to responsible water usage practices.

3. Examples

Examples of agricultural activities exempt from CGWA’s NOC requirement include small-scale irrigation for personal farming, horticulture, and floriculture, subject to prescribed limits.

Industrial Exemptions

1. Specific Industries

Certain industries may also receive exemptions from obtaining NOC, based on their water consumption patterns and environmental impact assessments. Industries that use groundwater for specific processes and comply with CGWA guidelines may be eligible for exemption.

2. Criteria and Documentation

Industries seeking exemptions must fulfil specific criteria and submit detailed documentation to demonstrate their compliance with CGWA regulations. These criteria often relate to water-efficient technologies and recycling measures.

3. Examples

Examples of industries that might be exempt from CGWA’s NOC requirement include those engaged in water-efficient manufacturing processes or those that rely on treated wastewater for their operations.

Domestic and Drinking Water Use

1. Exemption for Households

Individual households and domestic users are typically exempt from obtaining NOC for the extraction of groundwater, as long as they use the resource responsibly and within the prescribed limits.

2. Responsible Usage

Households are encouraged to practise responsible water usage, avoiding wastage, and ensuring that groundwater extraction does not negatively impact the environment or neighbouring communities.

Exemptions for Government Projects

1. Government Initiatives

Government projects, particularly those aimed at public welfare and infrastructure development, may receive exemptions from CGWA. These projects are often crucial for the nation’s progress and development.

2. Procedures and Approvals

Government projects seeking exemptions from CGWA must undergo a thorough evaluation and approval process. This includes demonstrating the necessity of groundwater use and implementing measures to mitigate any adverse effects.

3. Examples

Examples of government projects that may be exempt from CGWA NOC requirement include the construction of hospitals, schools, and public water supply schemes.


In conclusion, while the CGWA’s primary role is to regulate and manage groundwater resources, it recognizes the need for certain exemptions to facilitate responsible usage across various sectors. Exemptions are granted to small-scale farmers, specific industries, domestic users, and government projects, provided they adhere to the prescribed limits and environmental safeguards. These exemptions help strike a balance between development and groundwater conservation, ensuring that India’s groundwater resources remain sustainable for future generations.

By understanding these exemptions and adhering to CGWA regulations, individuals, industries, and government bodies can contribute to the responsible and sustainable management of India’s precious groundwater resources.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q.1 Is an NOC from CGWA always required?

No, exemptions are available for specific activities and users as mentioned in CGWA guidelines.

Q.2 What are the limits for agricultural exemptions?

Limits for agricultural exemptions vary by state and are based on the availability of groundwater in the region. It is essential to check the specific limits applicable in your area.

Q.3 Can industries obtain exemptions easily?

Exemptions for industries depend on their compliance with CGWA regulations, including water-efficient practices and environmental impact assessments.

Q.4 Are there penalties for non-compliance with CGWA regulations?

Yes, non-compliance with CGWA regulations, including failing to obtain the necessary NOCs, can lead to penalties, legal action, and restrictions on groundwater use.


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