Depleting water table worries farmers

Patiala: Rapidly depleting water table has become a major cause of worry for farmers in various segments of Patiala district as it has dipped to new low of up to 410ft in most parts, which was at 115ft to 150ft till a few years ago.

laxmi@tribune.com

Manish Sirhindi

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20

Rapidly depleting water table has become a major cause of worry for farmers in various segments of Patiala district as it has dipped to new low of up to 410ft in most parts, which was at 115ft to 150ft till a few years ago.

Several farmers have been left high and dry as they have to dig up new borewells to irrigate fields with the old ones failing to pump out any waters. Even those who are still able to pump out water are wary of the future of these tubewells as they fear that these tubewells would go dry in the near future putting a financial burden on them.

Pritam Singh of Sarala Kalan village in Ghanour segment said over the past two years, the supply of electricity had improved but due to depleting water table, farmers were not able to make the best of it.

There is a large portion of cultivable land in the district. Out of this, about 85 per cent of the cultivable land is irrigated by tubewells and only 15 per cent land gets canal-based irrigation facilities. With the average annual rainfall of 677mm a year, water table in the district has registered a sharp fall in all blocks, which have been put under the category of ‘overexploited’ zones as per a government report. The underground water is being pumped out at a rate that is twice of it getting replenished.

It is learnt that most of the existing tubewells at the depth of 320ft to 330ft have dried up in the entire district. Only a few tubewells that were dug up in the past two year at a depth of 570ft to 590ft are working. About 10 years ago, these tubewells were at the depth of 120ft, said some of the villagers in Mirzapur village of Rajpura segment.

Therefore, in order to revive the underground water, the state government is now all set to come up with a multi-crore micro water dam project under which check dams would be constructed over various seasonal and other rivulets. Water channels under that would not only store additional waters to be used by the famers during non-rainy seasons but also encourage underground seepage of water that would raise the water table.

Speaking to The Tribune, Akali MP from Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh Chandumajra said the project would be formally inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal in the Sanour segment of the district soon. Initially, two check dams would be constructed on the Ghaggar. Later, the project would be extended to other parts of the state.

The MP said the project would not only help in improving the water availability in the areas around the rivulets, but would also prove to be cost-effective way to replenish underground water.

“The state now has no spare waters and whatever water is available has to be put to the best use to protect the interest of the future generations and the farming community,” he said, adding that the state government was also working on way to improve rainwater harvesting.

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