It is time we get our act together and demand financial help under various Central schemes for groundwater resources augmentation and learn our lessons well,said Dr Y K Alagh,chairman of the Institute of Rural Management,Anand.
Speaking at the inauguration function of a two-day meeting of the Central Ground Water Board’s Ahmedabad region here on Monday,he said the per capita annual availability of just 400 cubic metres of water,including the Narmada waters,was one of the worst situations across the world.
Dr Alagh,who is also vice-chairman of the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research,Ahmedabad,said this was time to show the world with prudent water management that Gujarat could live with supply of as low as 400 cubic metres per capita and “this need not be taken lightly”.
He pointed out that due to various factors,peak water availability was different from what it was in 1980 and farmers were ready to put more money to get water from any source. “If a farmer does not get water,he is in trouble. To avoid it,he would draw water from underground. Gujarat has every type of agri-climate zone and therefore,there can’t be any one solution for all of them,” he said.
He emphasised that the SSP should be full tank by September,”otherwise you can’t have full tank in 95 per cent of the time of the year unless you have ground water”. He,however,said the state was blessed with groundwater,but the blessing must be used carefully.
B N Navlawala,advisor to the Chief Minister,said the overall stage of groundwater at 77 per cent seemed comfortable,but its development was not uniform in the state where it was overexploited in 31 units in Kutch and north Gujarat out of 223 assessment units with deployment of 7.64 lakh electric and 4.8 lakh diesel pumps. Farmers spent Rs 6,000 crore using 1,200 crore units in pumping groundwater,he said.
Navlawala said engineers and hydrologists seemed to underplay the gravity of side effects of irrigation development. He said legal research was required in understanding situations where water rights and land rights were separate.