Sunday, 17 March 2013

Need to control use of groundwater: Shelar - Source LT

It takes several thousand years for the Earth to stock water in its bowels. There is the limit of 200 feet for digging a borewell, but this limit is widely being overlooked and borewells are being dug at the depth of 1,000 to 1,500 feet. This way, the entire Earth is being riddled and hence the future generation will have to face serious problems of water scarcity. 

Survival of our next generations depends on the water stocked in the bowels of the Earth and hence taking the issue seriously we should control the usage of groundwater or else our next generations will be in great trouble. 
This suggestion-cum-warning was given by Prakash Shelar, a senior geologist from the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA). He was talking to editorial teams of Lokmat during 'Coffee-Table' series of talks. 
While explaining the system of survey of groundwater, its functioning, scientific ways of measurement of groundwater, its valuation and some other important things, Shelar expressed his forthright feelings about the present uncontrolled usage of water and the increasing number of borewells.
He said it takes several thousand years for the Earth to stock water in its bowels. There is the limit of 200 feet for digging a borewell into the Earth, but this limit is widely being overlooked and borewells are being dug at the depth of 1,000 to 1,500 feet. This way, the entire Earth is being riddled and hence the future generation will have to face serious problems of water scarcity. "So, for better future of our next generations, we should control the usage of groundwater right now," he said.
Water scarcity predicted in Sept
"With the help of observations, we had predicted in September that there would be a water scarcity in 1,250 villages out of 1,450 from this area," Shelar said. He also explained the observation process. The Aurangabad district includes three valleys — Godavari valley, Tapi valley and Godavari-Purna valley. There are 52 main watersheds and 282 mini watersheds in this entire area. The 52 main watersheds comply 144 observation wells. These wells are observed four times in a year by the GSDA. Its report registers water levels at different stages and accordingly predicts the situation of water with the help of average readings of the past five years.
Outline of water scarcity and solutions
The remedies for drought start after the declaration of water scarcity by a District Collector. Local panchayat committees are informed through zilla parishads to measure water resources and the situation of water outlets such as borewells, hand pumps etc in their territories. The proposals for stimulation of wells are produced. The water department of zilla parishad outlines an action plan and produced it for the approval of a collector. Then follows, visits by senior geologists, tehsildar, bloc development officials at all the villages, who register the possibilities of water scarcity. The final solution to overcome the situation is to supply water through water tankers.
The proposal for water tankers is produced to a panchayat committee via gram panchayats, tehsildar, and deputy revenue officials forward it to the District Collector. This way, the GSDA plays a lead role in declaration of water scarcity.
Valuation of groundwater
The valuation of groundwater is done by the GSDA. In the beginning, it was being done once in every five years, later the period was reduced to three years and now it is done every year. It measures the quantity of water in the bowels of the Earth and accordingly decides its usage after valuation. 
The valuation helps in deciding over-exploited watersheds, critical watersheds and semi-critical watersheds. Over-exploited watersheds contains almost no water, while critical watersheds contains only 10 per cent of water and semi-critical contains only 25 per cent of water. 
The number of borewells, wells, water pumps and even the agriculture system is also taken into consideration for valuation of water.

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