Pun­jab, Haryana likely turn into desert in 25 yrs

Ex­trac­tion of ground­wa­ter in the re­gion has in­creased from 149% in 2013 to 165% in 2018, says Cen­tral Ground Wa­ter Board re­port

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab & Haryana - Chetan Chauhan [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com n

All avail­able ground­wa­ter re­sources till the depth of 300 me­tres Pun­jab, Haryana and Rajasthan will end in the next 20-25 years, re­veals a draft re­port of the Cen­tral Ground Wa­ter Board (CGWB), high­light­ing how ground­wa­ter was be­ing over­ex­ploited in the re­gion.

The ex­trac­tion of ground­wa­ter in the re­gion has in­creased from 149% in 2013 to 165% in 2018, the re­port said, adding that wa­ter avail­able at the depth of about 100 me­tres in north-west In­dia will end within next 10 years.

MORE WITH­DRAWAL THAN RECHARGE

The re­port sub­mit­ted to the state gov­ern­ments on ba­sis of ground­wa­ter data be­tween 1994 and May 2018 shows that with­drawal of wa­ter from the ground was much more than the recharge. Un­der­ground wa­ter recharge was 21.58 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres (BCM) an­nu­ally, while the gross wa­ter with­drawal was 35.78 BCM, the re­port said. It also said the ground­wa­ter was fall­ing at a rate of 51 cm ev­ery year.

The sit­u­a­tion is slightly bet­ter na­tion­ally. As against the an­nual ground­wa­ter availabili­ty of 411 BCM, the an­nual with­drawal is es­ti­mated to be 253 BCM. The board has ob­ser­va­tion wells at 30,000 lo­ca­tions across In­dia, pro­vid­ing data on 16 at­tributes for four sea­sons in a year.

The re­port shows the with­drawal of ground­wa­ter has in­creased in the re­gion in the past decade due to fre­quent drought­like sit­u­a­tions. The In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment re­ports on rain­fall pat­terns in the coun­try show that while Hi­machal and Ut­tarak­hand re­ceived more rain­fall, Pun­jab, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan were rain-deficit.

GROUND­WA­TER AT 100 ME­TRE DEPTH TO END IN 10 YEARS

In Pun­jab, dis­tricts of Lud­hi­ana, Ja­land­har, Ka­purthala, Nawan­shahr, San­grur, Pa­tiala and Bar­nala are in red for over­ex­ploita­tion of ground­wa­ter. “The re­port is alarm­ing and clearly states that the ground­wa­ter at the 100 me­tre depth will end in the next 10 years if present rate of with­drawal con­tin­ues,” said a Pun­jab gov­ern­ment wa­ter re­sources depart­ment of­fi­cial, who was not will­ing to be quoted.

SIT­U­A­TION WORSE IN SIRSA

In Haryana, Sirsa, Ya­mu­nana­gar, Kar­nal, Ku­ruk­shetra, Gu­ru­gram, Farid­abad, Bhi­wani and Re­wari are in red for ground­wa­ter.

In the en­tire agri­cul­ture belt of north­ern and eastern Rajasthan, the ground­wa­ter level has fast de­pleted and is now in a crit­i­cal stage. The re­port shows that in cer­tain parts of Haryana, in­clud­ing Sirsa, ground­wa­ter sit­u­a­tion was worse than Pun­jab.

Ex­cept the tribal belt of south­ern Rajasthan and parts of eastern Rajasthan, the en­tire state is in ground­wa­ter emer­gency, as per the CGWB’s lat­est data on its web­site.

In Delhi, only south­ern parts are in the red while there has been im­prove­ment in ground­wa­ter lev­els in north-west and eastern parts of the na­tional cap­i­tal.

Most of the ar­eas no­ti­fied by the Cen­tral Ground Wa­ter Au­thor­ity are also in these four states.

The fall­ing ground­wa­ter in these states will have im­pli­ca­tions over drink­ing wa­ter sup­plies and agri­cul­ture as over a mil­lion tube­wells pro­vide wa­ter for both.

Though Haryana and Pun­jab have ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties, a large part of Rajasthan is to­tally de­pen­dent on ground­wa­ter.

P Nand­ku­maram, mem­ber­sec­re­tary of the CGWB, said they have sub­mit­ted the ground­wa­ter assess­ment re­port to the wa­ter re­sources min­istry for ac­tion. He re­fused to di­vulge de­tails till the min­istry vets the re­port.

‘HEAD­ING FOR DIS­AS­TER’

“The sit­u­a­tion is bad but not alarm­ing,” said a se­nior sci­en­tist with the board, who was not will­ing to be quoted as he was not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia. “If we con­tinue to ex­ploit ground­wa­ter the way we are do­ing, we are head­ing for dis­as­ter. We can sus­tain wa­ter at 50-60 me­tres be­low the ground, but for that some reg­u­la­tion is needed.”

Hi­man­shu Thakkar, an IIT alum­nus, who runs a non-gov­ern­men­tal wa­ter or­gan­i­sa­tion — South Asia Net­work of Peo­ple, Rivers and Dams (SANDRP) — said over de­pen­dence of farm­ers on ground­wa­ter was the prime rea­son for de­ple­tion.

“Though In­dia re­ceives good rain­fall ev­ery year, in many re­gions, wa­ter is now avail­able more than 100 me­tres and in some 200 me­tres be­low the ground,” he said

The sit­u­a­tion shows there is mis­man­age­ment of wa­ter, not proper use of rain­wa­ter and gross mis­use of ground­wa­ter,” he added..

If we con­tinue to ex­ploit ground­wa­ter the way we are do­ing, we are head­ing for dis­as­ter. We can sus­tain wa­ter at 50-60 me­tres be­low the ground, but for that some reg­u­la­tion is needed. SE­NIOR SCI­EN­TIST, Cen­tral Ground Wa­ter Board

HT FILE

The re­port sub­mit­ted to the state gov­ern­ments on ba­sis of ground­wa­ter data be­tween 1994 and May 2018 shows that with­drawal of wa­ter from the ground was much more than the recharge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.