Ground reality: Water scarcity looms large | india | Hindustan Times
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Ground reality: Water scarcity looms large

WATER WILL be scarce this summer! The State Ground Water Department (SGWD) has blown the whistle over a sharp fall in the ground water table. Out of 820 blocks in the State, 456 blocks have been declared the worst affected. The water table has fallen to the lowest level in these blocks.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 01:22 IST

WATER WILL be scarce this summer! The State Ground Water Department (SGWD) has blown the whistle over a sharp fall in the ground water table. Out of 820 blocks in the State, 456 blocks have been declared the worst affected. The water table has fallen to the lowest level in these blocks.

The SGWD has urged the State Government to stop exploitation of ground water for agricultural use in these blocks. Majority of the blocks are located in western UP and over 70 per cent of the ground water has been already exploited.

Director, SGWD, MM Ansari said out of the 456 affected blocks, the ground water scenario was really bleak in 138.

And of those 138 blocks, ground water was overexploited in 33. In 17 blocks, the ground water table had reached a critical level and semi-critical level in 88 blocks.

Due to scanty rainfall, natural recharge of ground water has been weakened. On the other hand, ground water has been exploited regularly for irrigation and drinking purpose. The scenario was the gloomiest in west UP. Even as water table continued to fall, farmers were still installing pump sets to draw ground water for irrigation, Ansari regretted.

The scenario in east and central UP was not rosy either, he said, adding farmers in these regions were cultivating crops that required a large quantity of water.

Though there was a network of canals, a majority of the farmers were dependent on ground water, he said.

Why did the SGWD fail to warn  farmers about falling ground water level? Ansari said no fund was allocated for an awareness programme. The SGWD officials were facing problems in continuing their study. Majority of the ponds, wells and natural lakes in the villages had dried up, or were acquired for cultivation. Out of 8,135 nyaya panchayats, piezometer (instrument to study ground water level) was installed in merely 4000.

Meanwhile, the State Government has decided to restructure the Ground Water Department. The re-organisation has been brought about to implement the rainwater harvesting and ground water recharge project. The SGWD has been declared the nodal agency to implement the project. Officers of the SGWD will be posted in all the 70 districts. They would prepare an action plan and issue technical guidelines to district officials about ground water recharging, Ansari said.