Cen­tre pushes 6,000cr plan to tackle water de­ple­tion

CGWB Study Of 6,584 Blocks Puts 1,034 Of Them In ‘Dark Zone’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - | POLITICS POLICY - Vishwa.Mo­han@

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’.

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