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Posted at: Feb 7, 2019, 7:02 AM; last updated: Feb 7, 2019, 7:02 AM (IST)

Water table decline alarming, govt steps go down the drain

Average fall 0.37 m/year; groundwater extraction increases to 165 %

Parched Punjab

  • Manifold increase in tubewells has led to over exploitation of groundwater. In the past 30 years, the state witnessed almost 20 times increase in number of tubewells. Post Green Revolution in mid-60s, the number of tubewells increased from 50,000 in the early 60s to 70,000 in early 80s, and 10.70 lakh in 2001 to 11.80 lakh in 2005-06 and nearly 12 lakh in 2012-13.

Groundwater quality

  • Nearly 50-60% of the groundwater up to 60 metre depth in the state is fresh and fit.
  • Nearly 20-30% of the groundwater generally is moderately saline and of marginal quality.
  • About 15-25% of the groundwater is saline/alkaline and not fit for even irrigation use.
Water table decline alarming, govt steps go down the drain
The water table is going down at the rate of 0.37 metre every year.

Vishav Bharti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 6

Various initiatives taken by the state government to stop over exploitation of groundwater resources seems to have gone down the drain as on an average, the water table is going down at the rate of 0.37 metre every year.

A recent report has found that the condition of groundwater resources have deteriorated further in the past five years.

A report ‘Groundwater Resources of Punjab’ by the Central Ground Water Board and the State’s Water Resources and Environment Directorate has found that the over-exploitation of groundwater has increased by 16 per cent in the past six years.

The groundwater extraction has increased from 149 per cent of the total recharge in 2013 to 165 per cent in the present report. The outcome is that about 79 per cent area of the state is over-exploited. Out of 138 blocks, 109 blocks are ‘over-exploited’ two blocks are ‘critical’ five are ‘semi-critical’ and only 22 fall in the safe category.

The number of over-exploited blocks has increased from 105 in 2013 to 109. “There is an urgent need to recharge groundwater in the over-exploited blocks and develop available shallow groundwater in safe blocks to avoid waterlogging in future,” the report observed.

In historical analysis of groundwater, the report noted that the groundwater level fell almost in 85 per cent of the area between 1984 and 2016. While in the remaining about 15 per cent area of the state it has risen during this period. It has been observed that the area, in which groundwater table is more than 10-metre deep, has been continuously increasing. It was 14.9 per cent in June 1989, 20 per cent in June 1992, 28 per cent in June 1997, and 44 per cent in June 2002 and 61 per cent in June 2008, 65 per cent area fell in that category in 2016.

It has been found that the average yearly rate of fall of water level in the past six years was approximately 0.37 metre a year.

However, in badly-hit areas, including Barnala, Bathinda, Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Moga, Mohali, Pathankot, Patiala and Sangrur, it was approximately 0.49 metre.


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