Groundwater Crisis: Farmers In North India May Not Have Water Left For Irrigation By 2025
Groundwater Crisis: Farmers In North India May Not Have Water Left For Irrigation By 2025An Indian farmer walks through a mustard field in Baran village near Patiala (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) report, average water levels in January 2016 were lower than the average water levels between 2006 and 2015 with hardly 3 per cent wells recording a rise in water level exceeding four metres.

The possible reason for the falling water levels is India's 251 cu km annual groundwater extraction rate, making India the world's biggest consumer of groundwater, according to a 2012 UNESCO report. Over nine-tenths of groundwater is extracted for irrigation, according to the Ground Water Year Book for 2014-15 released by the CGWB, underscoring India's dependence on groundwater for irrigation - it provides water for 60 per cent of the irrigated area.

The average farmer in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana faces the prospect of having no groundwater left for irrigation by 2025. In Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana, groundwater extraction exceeds the rate at which it is being replenished through rainfall, back flows from irrigation and seepage from canals, other water bodies and conservation structures.

Local stakeholders are best positioned to police the use of water, and they are more likely to do so honestly because their lives depend on its availability. "Community-driven decentralised water management was the norm in India until about 100 years ago, prior to the development of the modern canal-based flood irrigation system and extraction technology," said a water conservationist.

With inputs from and IANS

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber