Another wake call on Groundwater use in Punjab: CGWB says in 84% area the level is going down (in 14% it is too brackish to be useful), 103 of 137 blocks are in over exploited, five in critical and four in semi critical category, 73% of irrigation is coming from Groundwater, not canals and Punjab needs to reduce area under Paddy.
DECLINING WATER TABLE
Reduce area under paddy, water board tells govt
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 24
Expressing concern over the declining water table in the state, the Central Ground Water Board has recommended reducing area under paddy by more than 10 lakh hectares to achieve sustainable growth. In a detailed report submitted to the state government, the board has drawn a road map for the state for ground water management.
“The present state of development and management of groundwater resources in Punjab is a matter of concern for the future of agriculture in the state.There is an urgent need to evolve an optimal ground water management strategy to tackle the problem of the declining water levels,” says the report.
Dwelling on crop diversification, the board says the area under paddy (rice), which consumes six times more water than maize, 20 times more than groundnut, and 10 times more than other kharif crops, has to be reduced.
The board has urged the state to shift from flood irrigation to underground piped water, furrow irrigation and drip and sprinkle irrigation. Punjab is the largest contributor of rice to the central pool.
Educating farmers about the declining water table, regulating power supply, artificial recharge, provision of deeper aquifers and groundwater regulation are the other measures suggested by the board for ground water management.
The board says the groundwater level in Punjab has fallen in about 42,170 sq km area in the north, northeast, central and southern parts, which constitute about 84 per cent of the total area.
The worst affected districts are Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar.
There is only 14 per cent area where ground water level is rising owing to less extraction of water because of its brackish quality, which is unfit for use for both domestic and irrigation purposes. In some pockets in Mansa, Moga, Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur, the water level has gone up. The water level in the state ranges from 0.20 metre below ground level (bgl) in Ferozepur district to 32.28 metres bgl in Fatehgarh Sahib district.
The report says that the annual average rainfall has decreased by 45-50 per cent during the past two decades.
It was recorded 755 mm in 1990, 375 mm in 2004 and 420 mm in 2009.
About 97 per cent of the net sown area is irrigated and 80 per cent of the water resources available are used for the farm sector.
Contrary to the impression that the canal system is a major source of irrigation in Punjab, only 27 per cent area is irrigated with canal waters and the remaining 73 per cent area by groundwater pumped out through tubewells. Of the 137 blocks assessed by the board, 103 fall under “over-exploited” category, five in critical and four in semi-critical categories.
The water table is declining at a faster rate in urban areas and industrial towns. “The water level is declining at the rate of 0.50 to 0.60 metre per year in some urban areas and industrial towns”, says the report. However, potable water is available in 84 per cent of state’s total area.
The board says that the main source of pollution is domestic and municipal waste, agriculture practices and industrial activities.
“Untreated effluents from industries have resulted in increased levels of heavy metals like lead, cadmium, manganese, iron, chromium and copper,” says the government report.
Area under paddy consumes six times more water than maize, 20 times more than groundnut and 10 times more than other kharif crops
The groundwater level has fallen in (42,170 sq km area) about 84 per cent of the state’s total area
The worst-hit districts are Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Moga, Patiala, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Mansa, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar
State told to shift from flood irrigation to underground piped water, furrow irrigation and drip and sprinkle irrigation
Regulate power supply, opt for artificial recharge and deeper aquifers
Damage Control: Committees under DCs set up in 12 blocks
The Central Ground Water Authority has notified 12 blocks, Nakodar, Shahkot, Lohian, Phagwara, Khanna, Nihalsinghwala, Patran, Sunam, Barnala, Sherpur, Dhuri and Malerkotla. It has authorised the Deputy Commissioners concerned to impose restrictions on the construction/installation of any structure for the extraction of groundwater. Committees headed by the DCs have been empowered to regulate and manage the groundwater. Without the permission of the committees, no tubewell or any other source for extracting groundwater can be set up in the notified areas.