Water for intensive crops lead to depletion of ground water

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New Delhi, Aug 29 (UNI) Indiscriminate use of ground water for agricultural crops especially for water intensive crops like paddy, industry and drinking water purposes in the country has led to over exploitation of ground water resources during the last six decades.

A census of minor irrigation in the country shows that the number of dug wells in the country increased from 3.86 million to 9.62 million and shallow tube wells from 3,000 to 8.36 million and public borewells and tubewells from negligible to 53.02 million during 1951 to 2001.

The causes for excessive usage were water intensive crops like paddy and cash crops, a Water Resources Ministry release said.

Based on the stages of ground water development, an assessment was made categorising the units as over-exploited, critical and semi critical. Out of 5,723 assessment units in blocks, Mandals and Taluks in the country, 839 units were categorised as over-exploited and 226 units were critical, where the ground water development was near total ranging between 90 to 100 per cent. As many as 550 semi-critical units have ground water development ranging between 70 and 100 per cent.

The reasons contributing to decrease in ground water level was attributed to scanty rainfall in arid and semi-arid regions, limited ground water potential in hard-rock areas and excessive dependence on ground water during drought when all other sources shrunk, the release said.

UNI MCN AE CS1733

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