Struggling to cope with the declining water table due to overexploitation of groundwater, Haryana is set to implement the Atal Bhujal Yojana, which is aimed at the management of groundwater resources with community participation in water-stressed blocks, besides curbing overexploitation of groundwater resources.
In Haryana, the Central scheme will be implemented by the Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department with a budgetary provision of Rs 723 crore to help in conserving water bodies and strengthening the organisations concerned from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with 50 per cent financial assistance of the World Bank.
Pankaj Mehla, Water Development Specialist, Groundwater Cell, Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department, Haryana, says the state government has made arrangements to launch the scheme from April, under which 36 blocks of 13 districts have been identified, which fall in the overexploited/critical category. The focus would be on stabilising the water table in these blocks, he says.
The government will promote micro irrigation to save on water used in agriculture. It will provide subsidy to farmers for adopting micro irrigation. Rainwater harvesting system will also be developed and check dams will be constructed in Morni and Yamunanagar to save water, he adds.
Mehla says a water monitoring system will be established in 1,895 panchayats by installing digital water recorders, helping the residents to determine the water table of any village. Besides, a water security system will be established at the village level, he says.
Under the project, funds will be provided to conserve water bodies in villages through panchayats. Besides, incentives will be given for crop diversification to farmers to save water. Presently, the state government is offering incentives to farmers switching from non-basmati paddy to less water-intensive crops such as maize, pulses and oilseed under Jal Hi Jiwan crop diversification scheme, says Dr Suresh Gahlawat, Additional Director, Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department.
The scheme looks to contribute towards the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes, promoting participatory groundwater management, improving water use efficiency on a mass scale, improving the cropping pattern and promoting efficient and equitable use of groundwater resources and behavioural change at the community level, he adds.
As per the report of the Ground Water Cell, Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Department, Haryana, the water table of the state is declining at an average of 0.5 to 1 metre every year in paddy-sowing districts of the state. Haryana’s water table, which was at a depth of 10.44 metres in 1974 went down to 20.71 metres in 2019, a fall of 10.27 metres in 45 years. Of the 129 blocks, 78 are in the overexploited category, three critical, 21 semi-critical and 26 in the safe category. Of the 78 in the overexploited category, the government has chosen 36 blocks under the Atal Bhujal Yojana.
Block by block
- 78 Overexploited (Ambala,Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri,Faridabad, Fatehabad,
- Gurugram, Hisar, Jind, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Palwal, Panipat, Rewari, Sirsa, Sonepat and Yamunanagar districts)
- 3Critical (Ambala, Fatehabad and Hisar)
- 21 Semi-critical (Ambala, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Hisar, Jind, Karnal, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Panchkula, Rewari, Sonepat, and Yamunanagar districts)
- 26 Safe (Ambala, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Hisar, Jhajjar, Jind, Mahendragarh, Mewat, Panchkula, Rewari, Rohtak, and Sonepat)
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