It has been a matter of debate in the last five years are so, in the media – “The depletion of the ground water levels in India”. The problem is only increasing than showing any development. The depleting groundwater table can be because of the poor rainfall in the past couple of years but, a new research carried out by the scientists of Columbia University have other significant facts to share on factors affecting the groundwater levels in the sub-continent.
The recent floods in Chennai has done a good to the Chennai residents i.e., apart from recharging the groundwater levels, the floods have also improved the quality of the water present underneath. However, scientists opined that this is only a temporary development citing the fact that the volume of water drawn is more than the average rainfall that any region in India receives.
For instance, in the case of Punjab, the average rainfall in the state is only 60cms but the volume of water drawn is more than 1.2 meter, which is invariably very high. Thus, when the water usage is more than the rain-water absorption into the ground, there is a high possibility of droughts to affect several parts of India by 2030.
It is a well known fact that Agriculture is the chief sector which requires high-amount of water consumption. In the states like Punjab and Gujarat, high utilization of water will only add more stress to the groundwater levels than improving the agricultural yield. Upmanu Lall, a Scientist from the Columbia university, who had made a thorough analysis of the Indian agricultural system during his research said,”It is a very well known fact and even the bureaucrats and the politicians in India knew it. A particular type of Agricultural practice is what depleting the groundwater levels”.
“To elaborate, Indian farmers are attracted towards raising crops which require more volume of water like rice and Sugar-cane. The volume of water required by these plants is much higher than the actual rainfall itself. Even though the government knew of this issue, it cannot act against the current agricultural practice as it requires the government to development the procurement system first”, Lall said.
“The water-rich intake plant cultivation in India has started much after the Green revolution, which promised free electricity and subsidized seeds. Farmers have neglected raising different crops through crop rotation technique in order to survive unexpected drought conditions”, he added.
To simplify, India must start promoting crops which require less water intake and start working towards the improvement of the groundwater table, failing to which majority of the country will be under the drought hit areas by 2030 due to the underground water scarcity.