THE MAHARASHTRA government has roped in about 30,000 Jal Surakshaks to monitor the groundwater situation even at micro -levels, including panchayats and blocks. The water care-takers, hired by the Ground Water Survey and Development Agency (GSDA), at different blocks and district headquarters, are currently being sensitised about the importance of ground water, the need for its monitoring, etc. In addition to this, these volunteers are being trained for handling basic water-level measuring instruments, processes for identification of wells and digitally sharing the information, among others.
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There are about 44,000 villages in the state and it is an uphill task for the agency to monitor the ground water table for nearly double the number of wells. Presently, the agency undertakes groundwater surveys to issue scarcity prediction reports?four times in a year— January, March, May and October. These reports are often crucial in future planning the water management for every region. It was becoming a time-consuming process for officials to manually make field visits to every village, measure the water-levels in the identified wells after which the data is collated and sent to the headquarters.
With this additional workforce in the form of Jal Surakshaks, GSDA officials are hopeful of conducting more surveys in a year, which means there would be improved scope for planning water usage, particularly for irrigation purposes. “Since there will be more workforce, we can improve the ground water monitoring and make more frequent surveys across the state,” I I Shah, additional director, GSDA, Pune told The Indian Express.
Once trained and certified, each Jal Surakshak, under the guidance of an agency official, will be assigned a small area with a selective number of wells, which he would be responsible for. Stringent monitoring will be initiated during monsoon, during which chances of water-level rise is more pertinent. A special kit containing basic measuring instruments like tape, pisometre, etc. are being supplied to these volunteers.
gWe are also entrusting that the Jal Surakshaks not only take water readings, but are also equipped to digitally send this real data,” added another official.
Some of the training workshops have already been undertaken at Nanded, Bukdhana, Nashik, etc while workshops are being planned at other parts of the state, informed the officials.
Since the system is getting digitally upgraded , it would be soon possible for anybody to access the real-time water level information for any particular region, taluka, village, panchayat and even block, making water management possible even up to the micro-level.