104 villages in Gurugram severely water stressed, data shows

Published on Jun 30, 2022 02:26 PM IST
Gurugram: The Haryana Water Resources Authority and the state irrigation department identified that 104 of the 217 villages in Gurugram are severely groundwater stressed, and termed them as “overexploited”, officials said on Wednesday, adding that in total,1,948 villages of the 7,287 in the state are severely groundwater stressed, while 1,093 are moderately groundwater stressed
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Gurugram:

The Haryana Water Resources Authority and the state irrigation department identified that 104 of the 217 villages in Gurugram are severely groundwater stressed, and termed them as “overexploited”, officials said on Wednesday, adding that in total,1,948 villages of the 7,287 in the state are severely groundwater stressed, while 1,093 are moderately groundwater stressed.

Authorities classify villages with groundwater table at a depth of 30 metres or under as severely stressed, and those with groundwater table at a depth of 20-30 metres as moderately stressed.

Officials said the Pataudi block’s situation was the worst--67 villages here are identified as overexploited-- followed by the Gurugram block, which has 24 such villages. Farrukhnagar and Sohna’s situation is relatively better as they have only seven and six overexploited villages (respectively). However, government data reveals that the situation could turn alarming in these blocks as well, as 50 villages in Farrukhnagar and Pataudi have been identified as moderately stressed, with their groundwater levels between 20 metres and 30 metres that could fall to below 30 metres in the next few years.

Gurugram officials said that excessive extraction of water for construction activities and for drinking purposes is the main cause of the receding water table here. According to data shared by the hydrology department, the city has witnessed a drop of almost one metre in groundwater table every year since 2018, leading to the administration renewing its focus on using treated water and conserving groundwater, said officials.

Experts also said that from 1980 to 1995 (when the Gurugram Water Supply Channel, which carries water from the Yamuna river to the city, came into existence), Gurugram was solely dependent on groundwater for drinking and construction activities. The encroachments of ponds and destruction of bunds have also reduced Gurugram’s capacity to recharge its groundwater considerably, they added.

Dr Shiv Singh Rawat, superintending engineer, Haryana irrigation and water resources department, said they are working in collaboration with Haryana Water Resources Authority, which is now the prime agency for water management and conservation in the state, to identify villages that are water-stressed so that administrations can take remedial measures such as reducing the use of ground and surface water in irrigation, and maximise the use of treated wastewater. “We have identified that out of 7,287 villages across the state, 1,948 are in the overexploited category and need immediate remedial measures. Of these, 104 are in Gurugram. Efforts also have to be made to improve the situation in moderately stressed villages,” he said.

In order to improve the groundwater table situation in Gurugram villages, Rawat said that they submitted water security plans for 162 villages in the district to the state project management unit of the Haryana irrigation and water resources department. “As and when these plans are approved, we will start implementing them in these villages. Our plan is to involve the locals, and create awareness to ensure that the remedial measures are accepted and implemented effectively,” he said.

According to the water security plan, different departments will introduce and support micro-irrigation for farming in these 162 villages, take up pond rejuvenation for rainwater storage, and construct injection wells and recharge wells to boost the water table.

Rawat said that the projects will be undertaken under Atal Bhujal Yojana, Mera Pani Meri Virasat scheme, and micro-irrigation and command area development. “Already, various agencies such as the Panchayati Raj department, irrigation department and related agencies are working on these projects, but these will now be monitored in a centralised manner,” he said.

The Haryana Water Resources Authority, meanwhile, said that they are pushing for the use of treated wastewater in construction and agriculture across the state, the use of micro-irrigation methods and promotion of crops that are less water-intensive. “We have directed the authorities concerned to ensure that only treated wastewater is used for construction activities as well as agriculture. The state government is also focussing on boosting micro-irrigation so that water is used optimally for farming,” said Keshni Anand Arora, chairperson, Haryana Water Resources Authority.

In order to push the use of treated wastewater for agriculture, the irrigation department is also building a channel to carry treated wastewater from the city to Jhajjar for use in agriculture and allied activities. “Maximising the use of treated wastewater and conserving rainwater will ensure that less surface water from the Yamuna and from borewells is required. This will also revive the Yamuna river, from where water is diverted for irrigation and drinking through canals,” said Rawat.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhishek Behl is principal correspondent, Hindustan Times in Gurgaon Bureau. He covers infrastructure, planning and civic agencies in the city. He has been covering Gurgaon as correspondent for the last 10 years, and has written extensively on the city.

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