Despite Haryana Government's push for incentivizing water conservation, the groundwater crisis is deepening in the agrarian state.
The decadal data shows a worrying trend with 76 percent areas in Haryana witnessing a decline in groundwater level, according to the latest report of Central Ground Water Board.
The interpretations of decadal fluctuations from 2010 to 2020 shows that groundwater level declined in 66 percent of wells which covers about 76 percent area of the state falling in all 22 districts. Water level decline in the range of 0-2m has been reported from 40 percent of the wells covering 34 percent of area of the state, as per the report.
Water level decline between 2-4m has been reported from 12 percent of wells covering 16 percent area of Haryana while decline of more than 4m has been observed in 14 percent wells and 26 percent of the area of state covering parts of Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Palwal, Rewari, Gurugram and occurring dominantly in Mahendragarh, Mewat and Faridabad districts.
In the past few years, the Manohar Lal Khattar led Haryana Government has announced lucrative schemes to encourage farmers in paddy-rich areas to grow less water-consuming crops like maize, pulses, in a bid to address the consistent decline in the water table.
However, the farmers have stuck to the entrenched paddy-wheat cycle in the state, and paddy, being a water guzzler, is often blamed for the rapid decline in groundwater across the state.
Elaborating about the pattern of depth of water level in Haryana, the CGWB data shows that the depth of groundwater level during January 2020 varies from minimum 0.64 m bgl at Lath DW in Sonipat district to maximum of 94.77 m bgl recorded at Singhani Pz in Bhiwani district.
During this time period, very shallow (0-2m) water level conditions were observed in eight wells and two percent area of state fall in this group which indicates water logging conditions. It was also observed in isolated patches in Jhajjar, Hissar, Ambala, Sonipat and Rohtak districts of the state.
On the other hand, shallow water levels (2-5m) were observed in 21 percent wells and it covered 10 percent area mainly in the central Haryana and as patches in Fatehabad, Yamunanagar, Ambala, Panchkula districts. Moderate water levels (5-10m) occured in 20 percent wells covering almost 20 percent area of mainly in the central Haryana.
While moderately deep water levels of 10-20m were observed in nearly 27 percent wells and 30 percent of the area falling in Karnal, Kaithal, Yamunanagar, Ambala, Panchkula, Jind, Fatehabad, Sirsa, Hissar, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Gurugram and Rewari districts, deep water levels of 20-40m have been registered in 19 percent of wells.
Very Deep water levels (>40m) were found in five percent of the wells and six percent area falling in Bhiwani,Charkhi Dadri and Mahendragarh districts and also at isolated patches in Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts.
As on March 2020, there were 1227 groundwater observation wells which included 521 dugwells and 653 piezometers for monitoring phreatic aquifers besides 53 deep piezometers for monitoring confined or semi- confined aquifers in Haryana, the CGWB report pointed out.
The decadal data also indicated that there is not a very encouraging rise in groundwater level in the state. The water level rise has been observed in 34 percent of wells and just 24 percent area in the state. The water level rise in the range of 0-2m has been observed in 27 percent wells covering 21 percent area of the state, rise of 2-4m observed in four percent wells and less than two percent area of the state, rise of less than 4m has been observed in just three percent wells covering just one percent area of Haryana.