Impact of Preservation of Subsoil Water Act on Groundwater Depletion: The Case of Punjab, India

Amarnath Tripathi, Ashok Mishra, Geetanjali Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Indian states like Punjab and Haryana, epicenters of the Green Revolution, are facing severe groundwater shortages and falling water tables. Recognizing it as a serious concern, the Government of Punjab enacted the Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act in 2009 (or the 2009 act) to slow groundwater depletion. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of this policy on groundwater depletion, using panel data from 1985 to 2011. Results from this study find a robust effect of the 2009 act on reducing groundwater depletion. Our models for pre-monsoon, post-monsoon, and overall periods of analysis find that since implementation of the 2009 act, groundwater tables have improved significantly. Second, our study reveals that higher shares of tube wells per total cropped area and increased population density have led to a significant decline in the groundwater tables. On the other hand, rainfall and the share of area irrigated by surface water have had an augmenting effect on groundwater resources. In the two models, pre-monsoon and post-monsoon, this study shows that seasonality plays a key role in determining the groundwater table in Punjab. Specifically, monsoon rainfall has a very prominent impact on groundwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 25 2016


  • Green Revolution
  • Groundwater depletion
  • India
  • Panel data
  • Rainfall
  • Water policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Pollution


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