Out of the 142 revenue blocks of Punjab, including three out of the five revenue blocks of Moga district--- block Moga-1, Nihal Singh Wala and Moga-2 in the heartland of the Malwa region, 110 blocks have already been declared 'dark zones' by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) due to fast depletion of the water table.
However, it seems most farmers have not learnt their lesson from the situation. The ministry of water resources, which had constituted a Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), had carried out a nation-wide survey of ground water resources two years ago and has been guiding the states in scientific and technical matters related to ground water.
The agriculture department of Punjab, along with the district administration, has started organising meetings and training camps to create awareness as well as to educate farmers and general public about the situation of ground water resources in the district. The department of agriculture is motivating farmers to adopt improved technology along with agronomic strategies to help enhance the productivity of crops.
Agriculture development officer of Moga, Jaswinder Singh Brar, while demonstrating planting techniques with a bed planter said the conversion of potato farming from conventional methods to wide bed planting systems may increase water and fertiliser use efficiency in commercial potato production system by reducing the amount of irrigation water.
"To prevent the water table from depleting further, farmers should adopt new technologies such as bed planting method, use of laser leveler, tensiometer-aided irrigation, ridge planting in cotton, drip and sprinkler irrigation that save water. Bed planting can be a very successful technique for intercropping and crop diversification," said Brar, a state award winner.
Deputy commissioner Parminder Singh Gill said the administration was organising training camps to create awareness on the ground water resource situation. "Raised beds are a good choice where the soil is heavy and poorly drained. Farmers should adopt improved technology which will help save ground water," said the DC.