Water table severely depleted in Udham Singh Nagar
The continuous heat wave across the country has begun to take its toll on the ground water levels in the state. Udham Singh Nagar leads the list of the districts where ground water depletion has occurred the most.
Central Ground Water Board’s (CGWB) officials from Uttarakhand have stated that the latest report shows almost 40% decline in the district’s ‘artesian’ or ‘autoflow’ land where water rises to the surface easily without a pump. And it takes over 100 years for an artesian land to get recouped. “And it is alarming situation.” stated an officer from CGWB on condition of anonymity.
The district has registered the worst fall in water level across Uttarakhand. Its Jaspur and Kashipur areas are categorised ‘critical’ with drops of 4m and 2m, respectively, in the past decade.
The CGWB report states: “The highest annual decline of more than 4m is inferred only around Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district.”
The report states 47 of 50 locations in this ‘food bowl’ district have recorded a decline of up to 4m in the past decade.
Udham Singh Nagar is famous for producing three paddy crops in a year, with an average yield of 48 quintals per hectare.
District magistrate Akshat Gupta blamed the cultivation of a Chinese rice variety for the over-exploitation of ground water. “The government should ban this variety of rice as it has a significant role in water depletion,” he said.
Agriculture expert Dr Bir Bahadur Singh said the Centre should promote chickpea in place of summer paddy because it has higher nutritional value and is more remunerative. “It will save a huge amount of water and help in restoring underground water.”
Besides the wasteful ‘flood irrigation’ of paddy fields, about 7,000kl of water is used up daily in the district’s 22 paper pulp units.