The past decade has witnessed discussions on various options to overcome groundwater depletion, such as rainwater harvesting (RWH) and ‘artificial recharge’ methods. This paper addresses law and policy issues relating to managed aquifer recharge (MAR). Based on an analysis of the National Water Policy of India and water polices and laws of the Indian states, a concrete case study, namely Chennai metropolitan area, has been studied in detail. The city of Chennai and the State of Tamil Nadu provide a favorable atmosphere for groundwater recharge, making, e.g. RWH mandatory. However, the legal framework does not support more systematic approaches towards MAR and the administrative praxis does not ensure that groundwater recharge is offset by an increase of illegal groundwater extraction.