Groundwater levels dropping in Punjab, Haryana: study

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Chandigarh, Oct 27 (UNI) Punjab and Haryana are in for a serious ecological threat as their watertables have reached 1600 feet deeper and groundwater levels are dropping by 25-30 meters each year due to incraesed installation of tubewells and water pumps, says the ASSOCHAM findings.

Punjab and Haryana put together have installed over 20 lakh tubewells and pumps to extract ground water for domestic, agri and horticulture purposes. Despite this, the two premier Northern states continue to face water shortage, adds the ASSOCHAM Paper on Water Woes in Northern India.

The Paper also reveals that since both Haryana and Punjab depend heavily on tubewell waters for irrigation, their water tables have dipped to an extent of 1600 feet.

In Haryana, Jind district is among those where irrigation is largely dependent on tubewells. In Mahendergarh district, one of the tubewell had been installed at a deep depth of about 600-1600 feet and water table in its Safidon subdivision has dipped to 810 feet.

In Haryana, the number of tubewells and pumping sets has increased to 5.97 lakh as compared to just 27,957 during 1966-67.

Punjab has only 1.5 per cent of India's land but its output of rice and wheat accounts for 50 per cent of the grain the government purchases to feed more than 400 million poor Indians.

The State had the tubewells installed upto the level of 200 to 400 feet deep and with upto 7.5 horsepower pumping machines for drawing water.

In 1970-71, there were only 1.92 lakh tubewells in Punjab which has now reached to over 15 lakh tubewells. In the last four decades groundwater exploitation has touched new heights in Punjab as area under irrigation through tubewells has gone up to as high as 78 per cent and even more from 37 per cent in 1960-61. Cropping intensity has also increased from 126 per cent to 185 per cent during this period. This means more and more dependency on ground water, the paper said.

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