NOTE ON SALIENT FEATURES OF THE ANDHRA PRADESH WATER,
LAND AND TREES ACT-2002.
Andhra Pradesh is known as a River State, but recurring drought and expanding demands have
resulted in a very disturbing water scenario. Inefficient use of surface water in canal commands is
resulting in wastage of water, water logging and soil Stalinization of productive and barren lands.
Indiscriminate use of ground water on the other hand is causing water stress in non-canal commands.
The government of AP promulgated the Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act-2002 to
promote water conservation, Tree cover and regulate the exploitation and use of ground and surface
water for protection and conservation of water sources, land and environment in the entire state. The
Act came into force with effect from 19-04-2002.
APWALTA – Authority was constituted vide GO.Ms No. 240, PR & RD Dept., dated 25-06-2002.
For effectively implementing the Act, provision was made in GOMs No. 244, PR & RD Dept., dated
26-06-2002for the constitution of subsidiary Authorities at District and Mandal levels.
For effective implementation of APWALTA-2002, the government, through GOMs No. 47, PR &
RD Dept., dated 03-03-2003, took some important decisions and designated the following departments
as implementing agencies
Ground Water Department – Registration of Rigs, Sand Mining, Classification
of ground water basins etc.,
MA & UD Department – Construction of Rain-water harvesting structures,
tree planting, tree planting, permission for
construction of new buildings etc.,
Pollution Control Board – Prohibition of water contamination, Regulation on
Ceiling on water use in any industry or
Mines and Geology Dept., GW Dept.,
– Monitoring Sand Mining in Water Bodies
Forest Department – Granting permission for felling trees.
GW, Forest, Pollution Control Board,
RD, MA, Mines & Geology, PR (Engg),
Agriculture and APTRANSCO.
– Officers of these departments at State, District
and Mandal levels are designated for
implementing and detection of offences
regarding violation of the Act.
Municipal Commissioners and Village
– Designated for registration of all existing wells
and water bodies in the Municipalities and
MRO and Municipal Commissioner – Designated for issuing permission for digging
District Collector – Ex-officio Chairman for the District Authority
PD DPAP / DWMA – Ex-officio member Secretary for the District
RDO / Sub-Collector – Ex-officio Chairman for the Divisional AuthorityEE, RWS – Ex-officio Member Convener for the Divisional
Mandal Revenue Officer – Ex-officio Chairman for the Mandal Authority
Assistant Executive Engineer, RWS – Ex-officio Member Secretary for the Mandal
• Fee for registering a Rig for 2 years is Rs. 1,000/-
• Fee for granting permission for digging a new well is Rs. 100/-
• Fee for felling a tree in urban residential and industrial areas is Rs. 50/-
• Fee for felling a tree in urban commercial areas is Rs. 100/-
In view of the indiscriminate drilling for bore wells, the ground water is fast depleting.
Added to it, unscientific and reckless drilling has resulted in failure of bores leading to farmers
incurring heavy losses. Keeping this in view, the government of AP have suitably amended
the APWALTA Act and consequently, through GOMs No. 339, PR & RD Dept. dated 06-11-
2004, comprehensive Rules-2004 are brought out for effective implementation of the Act
The most important features of the recent amendment are the introduction of SingleWindow Approach for speedy clearance of the applications for new bore wells and insuring all
new borewells to assist the farmers wherever bore wells fail.
• Single-Window Approach: The farmers desiring to drill a bore well apply to the Village
Secretary / MRO. The Mandal Authority (Tahsildar) takes the feasibility of electricity from
the APTRANSCO and feasibility of water from the Ground Water Department. When both
are feasible, the MRO accords permission for drilling of new agriculture bore/tube well.
• Failed Bore well Compensation Scheme:: All farmers who obtain permission for
drilling of new agriculture bore wells from the concerned WALTA authority are covered
under this “Failed Bore well Compensation Scheme”. If any bore well drilled after
securing necessary permission from the concerned authority is failed, the farmer will be
eligible to get compensation up to Rs.10,000/-. All the cases will be settled by the Project
Director of DWMA (Dist. Water Management Agency)
• Government has notified 4190 villages under APWALTA, banning further exploitation
of ground water
According to the Act, the following are some of he important measures for protecting
of ground and surface water and tree cover.
• All the existing wells must be registered with the Village Assistant on free of cost.
• The Urban and Local Bodies shall monitor the construction of water harvesting
structures in all existing and new residential, commercial, public and open areas.
• Every Rig Owner, who desires to operate in the state, should register the Rig with the
Authority by paying Rs. 1,000/- for every two years.
• The Authority may take-over any well for drinking water to local people whenever water
• The Authority may prohibit / issue orders for shifting / closure of any industry on
consumption of water or discharging effluents.
• No brick manufacturing should take place in areas where soil is prone to erosion and
depletion.• Sand Mining is prohibited in areas where it affects ground water. Sand mining is
permitted in Godavari, Krishna and Penna rivers.
• Every house-hold should plant trees compulsorily.
• Industrial areas should plant trees as per AP Pollution Control Board.
• Tree felling is prohibited, but with permission from the Designated Authority for a
• Tree plantation and protection in urban areas, road margins, canal banks, tank foreshores and water bodies. At least 5% tree coverage in agricultural lands.
• Advise the Government on the legislative and administrative measures to be taken from
time to time for the conservation of natural resources.
• Advise on economic measures to be taken by the government as initiatives or
disincentives relating to taxes, levies, and fees or other charges to promote conservation
of natural resources.
• Advise on strengthening public participation in conservation of natural resources from
time to time
Penalties, Seizures and Appeals
• Any violation of the provisions of the Act is to be booked as an offence.
• The Designated Authority, such as MRO, may seize any instrument, machinery or
any other movable property involved in committing offence. Machinery includes rigs,
excavators, implements used / involved in the offence.
• A fine, not less than Rs. 1,000/- but may extend to Rs. 5,000/- may be imposed for
contravention of this Act. The offence can be compounded with a sum of money not
less than Rs. 1, 00,000/-.
• The Designated Authority which seizes machinery, serves fine or compounds the
offence, reports in Form 7 to nearest magistrate and in Form 10 to the offender and
• The fee / fine so collected is deposited in the APWALTA Fund.
• Appeals against the order of the Mandal Authority are made to the District Authority
with in 30 days of the date of the receipt of such order. Appeals against the orders of
the District are made to the State Authority with in 30 days from the date of receipt of
orders from the District Authority. The decision of the State Authority is final and