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Punjab, Hry groundwater lower than national average

The Tribune 2019-07-12 06:50:00
Puducherry worst with 100% decline | 17% resources overexploited | Jal Shakti campaign from Sept 15

The wells in Punjab and Haryana have reported higher percentage declines in groundwater levels than the national average.

A recent government groundwater assessment survey reveals that nationally 61 per cent of the wells monitored by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) reported decline in groundwater when surveyed and compared to the decadal average (2008 and 2018). Corresponding declines for Punjab and Haryana were 69 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively.

Puducherry was nationally worst on the scale, showing 100 per cent decline, followed by Arunachal Pradesh and Dadra and Nagar Haveli at 89 per cent each; Karnataka at 80 per cent and Maharashtra at 75 per cent.

In all, the CGWB analysed 13,628 wells in the country. “Pre-monsoon water level data collected by CGWB during pre-monsoon 2019 was compared with the decadal average from 2008-18. Analysis of water level data indicates 61 per cent of the wells monitored had registered decline in groundwater levels,” Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Shekhawat told Parliament today in response to concerns on water crisis.

He also said the first phase of the Jal Shakti campaign to conserve groundwater would start from September 15.

Another startling fact he shared with the House pertained to results of the periodic assessment of dynamic ground water resources of the country.

The 2017 assessment by CGWB and states revealed that out of 6,881 groundwater assessment units across India, 1,186 units in 17 states had been categorised as overexploited where current annual groundwater extraction was more than the annual extractable groundwater resource.

This puts the percentage of overexploited groundwater resources in India at 17 per cent.

Allaying fears of MPs who flagged Niti Aayog report on 21 Indian cities reporting zero groundwater in few years, the minister said the Centre was in the process of measuring all aquifers nationally and would draft a policy to address the challenge.

He said out of 21 “water-critical cities”, the Niti Aayog has flagged, 17 have two sources of water — ground and surface water — and states will shift to surface water to fill water shortage gaps as and when they arise.

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