Workshop calls for use of dam-storages to recharge state’s depleting aquifers

The two-day workshop on “Issues Related to Ground Water Management and Water Use Efficiency in the State of Gujarat & UT of Daman and Diu”...

Written by Tanvir A Siddiqui | Ahmedabad | Published: March 11, 2009 3:04 am

The two-day workshop on “Issues Related to Ground Water Management and Water Use Efficiency in the State of Gujarat & UT of Daman and Diu”,has recommended the use of existing dam-storages for recharging fast-depleting aquifers in Gujarat.

It noted that there is a need to explore and estimate the sub-surface space,which can be used for underground storage of surplus water lying in the basin or in the adjoining basin,by inter-basin transfer approach for Managed Aquifer Recharge ( MAR).

According to the workshop recommendations,“There is a need for country-wide MAR plan for sustainable ground water management. Priority should be accorded to stressed aquifers based on river/ tributary basin level studies.” It noted that the Government of Gujarat had already prepared such a plan. It has also suggested a transition from surface storage to MAR as a central pin of water strategy.

It has been suggested that farmers and other stakeholders should be made aware about ground water levels at the beginning of different seasons for appropriate crop selection and they be involved in data collection of relevant parameters at the village level.

“Simpler techniques on the lines of Andhra Pradesh for estimation of local ground water resources available should be evolved and transferred to the stake holders so that water resources can be managed at the grassroots,” the recommendations say.

Ground water monitoring requirements are different for urban and industrial areas,making it necessary to have dedicated monitoring network for urban and industrial areas with emphasis on water level monitoring and water quality surveillance. The utilisation of storm water through artificial recharge should be encouraged in urban as well as in industrial areas,it was noted.

The workshop has suggested adoption of a scientific approach for minimisation of losses in surface water irrigation and use of modern technology for increasing efficiency of present irrigation systems. The corrective measures should include proper lining of canal system,ensuring right and timely water supply.

The workshop assumed significance in view of the alarming decline in annual water availability in most parts of Gujarat,projected at 400 cubic metres per capita for the year 2020.

The panel discussion was held during the final session under the chairmanship of B N Navalawala,advisor to the Chief Minister. Other participants included Dr Tushaar Shah of International Water Management Institute,R C Jain,regional director of Central Ground Water Board and former bureaucrats N B Desai,V S Brahmbhatt,and Dr S K Sharma,consultant to the Ministry of Water Resources,New Delhi.

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