Centre pushes 6,000cr plan to tackle water depletion
CGWB Study Of 6,584 Blocks Puts 1,034 Of Them In ‘Dark Zone’
New Delhi: Fast depleting ground water in nearly 30% of the assessed blocks in the country has pushed the Centre to fast-track its Rs 6,000 crore ambitious plan aimed at efficient management of available water resources and strengthening of recharge mechanism through community participation.
Half of the total cost of this central scheme, named Atal Bhujal Yojana, will be supported by the World Bank as loan while the remaining half (Rs 3,000 crore) will be funded by the government through budgetary support to deal with the deepening crisis of water scarcity in many parts of the country.
“We expect it to be approved before March 2018 so that it could be implemented with effect from April 1,” Union water resources secretary U P Singh told TOIon Wednesday.
If the stage of ground water development is more than 100%, it means the annual ground water consumption is more than the annual ground water recharge
The emphasis of the scheme will be on recharge (of ground water sources) and efficient use of water by involving people at the local level.
The last assessment report of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) shows that 1,034 of 6,584 assessed blocks in the country are over-exploited (usually referred to as ‘dark zones’). It means annual ground water consumption in those blocks is more than the annual ground water recharge. Besides, 934 blocks fall in different stages of criticality due to depletion without recharge.
The over-exploited units are mostly concentrated in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, western UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
The report shows that Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi are worst among them. Though Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of ‘dark zones’ (358 out of 1139 assessed units), Punjab is the worst in percentage term with 105 (76%) of its 138 assessed units falling in this category. Similarly, 164 of the 248 assessed blocks in Rajasthan are over-exploited (66%), followed by Delhi where 15 of the 27 assessed blocks are in ‘dark zones’.