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Save water, levels plunging fast

An alarming 30 per cent of the country faces the threat of rapidly declining water reserves, cautions a survey.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 11:45 IST

States like Madhya Pradesh and others in central India are expected to face severe water shortage as their rate of water consumption far exceeds the rate at which ground water is being replenished, a survey has revealed.

An alarming 30 per cent of the country faces the threat of rapidly declining water reserves, warns the survey.

The decline of water table in western Madhya Pradesh should, therefore, be an eye opener, warns Janardan G Negi, a leading Indian seismologist and director general of the Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology.

"The water level here has gone down by two to 12 metres and over 27,000 bore wells have already dried up. If groundwater reserves are not maintained, the rich heritage of the region would be destroyed," Negi said.

"Studies indicate that only 2.8 percent of the total available water is fresh. Though 0.6 percent of this is groundwater, only 0.3 percent can be economically extracted with the present drilling technology because the remaining is situated below a depth of 800-1,000 metres," he said.

According to Negi, nearly one-fifth of the total water used comes from groundwater resources. Forty percent of the country's 60 million hectares irrigated area is fed from groundwater.

"Of the 370 million mm rainfall, only 10 percent is recharged as groundwater. This is despite one-third of the total land area being most suitable for development of groundwater resources.

"For the optimum development and management of water resources in rain-fed areas, use of remote sensing methods cannot be ignored. The information generated from such studies can be used by decision makers for sustainable development of the area," Negi asserted.