Agri experts call for checking decline of water table

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Ludhiana, Sep 18 (UNI) Early sowing of rice in Punjab is the root cause of the declining watertable in the state and to check this the Punjab Government should explore all means.

This was stated by Dr Bobby A Stewart, an eminent US expert on agriculture while addressing the three-day International Workshop on ''Water Management Strategies for Food Security and Environmental Quality'' which commenced at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here yesterday.

As many as 13 international experts and scientists from different states of the country are attending this workshop.

PAU Vice-Chancellor M S Kang in his opening remarks stated that wheat-rice cropping system had become unsustainable and had put a great deal of stress on ground water resources in tubewell irrigated areas. He expressed his serious concern over the drastic fall of water table in many areas across the state.

Dr Rattan Lal, Professor of Soil Science and Director, Carbon Management and Sequestration Centre, Columbus, USA said that the international gathering of scientists deliberating on this serious issue of water, holds great importance as the world must be regarded as one civilisation from the stand point of food production.

Dr S S Johl, eminent economist and former Chairman, Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission, emphasised on tackling the water problem both on demand side and supply side. Terming it as an international problem, Dr Johl said even the harvesting of rain water in Punjab has certain limitations especially on the front of chemical residues.

He suggested that the water problem should be brought to the front and the policy makers need to be sensitized about this critical issue.

Dr P S Minhas of ICAR, New Delhi while deliberating on strategies for efficient utilisation of water resources in agriculture called for increasing food trade from water abundant areas ; improving irrigation efficiency; increasing water productivity of both rainfed and irrigated lands; upgrading rainfed systems through introduction of supplemental irrigation and better land/water management practices and using alternatives sources of water.

Dr G S Hira, former Additional Director of Research, PAU in his address pointed that paddy was never a traditional crop of Punjab.

Area under rice was six per cent in 1960 which increased to sixty percent during green revolution and with this the ground water recharge had decreased.

Dr Hira suggested for reviving the old water courses in central Punjab and shifting of paddy transplantation to June 30 every year.

UNI

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