By Amarpal Singh Verma
Hanumangarh (Rajasthan), Jun 15 (IANS/ 101Reporters): For over a decade, farmers in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district have been artificially recharging the groundwater within the area from the Ghaggar river. Having been compelled to take this route as a result of steadily depreciating water desk, it has helped replenish not simply the phreatic zone, but in addition fetch a great yield of crops for farmers.
Ghaggar originates from the Shivaliks in Himachal Pradesh and enters Rajasthan from close to Talwara Jheel village in Hanumangarh, subsequent passing by way of Khannauri in Punjab, and Chandpur and the Ottu barrage in Haryana. A rain-fed river that is domestically often known as ‘Nali’, it used to circulate past the border close to Anupgarh in Sriganganagar district to Fort Abbas in Pakistan, until about 20 years in the past. Nonetheless, it stays confined to Hanumangarh at this time as a consequence of its depleted water degree, unable to succeed in even Sriganganagar, not to mention Pakistan.
Lack of rainfall in catchment areas and the development of a dam over the Ottu barrage in Haryana restricted the quantity of river water from reaching Rajasthan. Furthermore, various occasions within the 90s, the discharge of over 35,000 cusecs of water from the barrage in direction of Rajasthan prompted uncontrollable floods within the area. Presently, solely a restricted quantity of water is launched from Ottu, largely for irrigation in Haryana, and barely 2,000 to 4,000 cusecs attain Hanumangarh sporadically.
Because of this unpredictability, their rice crops suffered, they usually started to depend on tubewells. Nonetheless, the foresighted farmers realised that in the event that they continued to use groundwater — its ranges had already began to drop on the time — it’d pose an excellent larger drawback in future.
“Round 12 to 13 years in the past, sensing the water disaster, farmers began recharging groundwater right here. Now, there is no farmer in our space who hasn’t made preparations for groundwater recharge,” stated Gurcharan Singh, a farmer and resident of Chak 35 SSW close to Dablirathan village.
An extended-term, community-centric resolution
Explaining how the group went about rejuvenating their groundwater, Bhim Singh Raghav, a farmer from Kamrani, stated: “Farmers with land close to the riverbank dug borewells in the course of the river for the only real goal of replenishing their groundwater useful resource. And to stop soil from coming into the pipes, they put up iron nets. When the river started to circulate in June-July, the water would seep straight into the bottom by way of these borewells. This absorption continued all whereas the river water continued to circulate. Ultimately, the groundwater degree rose.’
Even within the close by village of Dablirathan in Pilibanga municipality, farmers made preparations to facilitate the circulate of river water into their tubewells to maintain their groundwater ranges up. They dug pipes deep in the course of the river, by way of which the water is pumped into the tubewells on the embankments.
Based on Rakesh Jat, a farmer from Karnisar, the farmers not solely made preparations for themselves, but in addition pooled in cash to replenish the supply of water for the group.
“Round three years in the past, 10 farmers right here spent round Rs 32 lakh to put in a 24-inch-thick pipe on the banks of the Ghaggar,” he stated. “So long as the river water flows, it reaches these 10 tubewells, inbuilt an space of round 2km, and retains the groundwater degree excessive.”
It’s estimated that about 250 to 300 farmers have made the mandatory preparations on each banks of the Ghaggar river.
“This method advantages the farmers in two methods: so long as there’s water within the river, they’ll irrigate their fields by way of it; concurrently, the groundwater is recharged as a result of steady influx of water by way of the tubewells,” defined Pradeep Bansal, government engineer of the Ghaggar Flood Management and Drainage Division in Hanumangarh.
All at their very own expense
As within the circumstances of Karnisar and Dabli Rathan, farmers have been bearing the bills of those group initiatives, having spent between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1.25 lakh, with no subsidies or assist from the federal government underneath any scheme for his or her efforts.
Nonetheless, the Ghaggar Flood Management and Drainage Division supported the farmers endeavor this conservation work from Kamrani village of Tibbi tehsil to Pilibanga tehsil. 4 years in the past, it spent round Rs 1 crore to construct 34 water-harvesting constructions.
“With the preparations made by the farmers and the division, the water desk is being recharged right here,” stated Rajat Chaudhary, junior engineer of the division. “The groundwater degree has stopped dropping. The water high quality, too, has improved.”
Whereas the peak of the water desk varies across the Ghaggar, a month of steady circulate pushes the extent up by 10ft to 20ft. Because of all their efforts, farmers in Hanumangarh at this time are capable of produce rice on about 35,000ha of land, along with wheat, mustard and vegetable crops.
Based on Prabhudayal Dudhwal, a farmer of Sahajipura, 10 years in the past, the salinity of the groundwater right here had began rising in locations, however that, too, was now underneath management.
‘You’ll be able to examine for your self by consuming the candy water from the tubewell saved in that pot,” he informed 101Reporters, pointing to a pure water cooler.
Hanumangarh, an exception in an overexploited state
Within the state Meeting in 2021, the federal government stated that 29 of Rajasthan’s 32 districts fell underneath the overexploited class. Quite the opposite, the groundwater degree is beneficial in Hanumangarh, Sriganganagar, Banswara and Dungarpur. Whereas the common degree ranges between 47m and 70m in most districts of Rajasthan, it stands at 17.47m in Hanumangarh.
Explaining the distinction, hydrogeologist Barkat Ali, in-charge of the Floor Water Division in Sriganganagar, stated: “In Hanumangarh, it is largely floor water that is used for irrigation by way of canals. Therefore, there’s nominal use of groundwater. The continual recharge by way of canals additionally helps.”
Ali, who’s additionally the nodal officer of the Atal Bhujal Yojna in Hanumangarh, added that the federal government had included the Sangaria, Tibbi and Hanumangarh blocks of the district underneath the scheme, with the extra intention of encouraging farmers to follow drip irrigation and domesticate much less water-intensive crops.
“We’ll work with the group underneath the scheme with the assistance of seven departments,” he stated. “It is commendable that the farming group is already attempting to recharge the groundwater within the Ghaggar river space. We’ll go to related areas and take a look at their efforts. In the event that they want any enchancment, they’ll obtain all the assistance required from the departments involved.”
Impartial specialists agree that one of these groundwater recharge, out of the left discipline as it could appear, is each efficient and sustainable. Surendra Kumar Sharma — a advisor hydrologist from Hanumangarh who’s been advising farmers in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab for twenty-four years on groundwater and establishing tubewells — endorses this methodology. The 67-year-old defined, “For instance, if we ship one lakh litres of water into the bottom, we get again 1.25 lakh litres of water,” and added that farmers should filter the water to make sure that clay doesn’t seep into the groundwater desk.
Moreover, Dr Sushil Kumar Jain, chairman and groundwater knowledgeable on the Jaipur-based Water Conservation Institute, echoed Sharma’s considerations. Whereas he appreciated that extra water after irrigation was getting used to replenish the water desk, he cautioned that not filtering the water for soil and different parts would pollute the groundwater.