Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Wrong estimation of demand and poor maintenance are leading to farmers at the tail-end of the canal networks not receiving an adequate quantity of water. This is forcing them to resort to exploiting underground sources of water, thus depleting the water table.
This is the conclusion of an ‘Evaluation Study’ of eight selected dams of Madhya Pradesh by the Central India Hydrology Regional Centre, Bhopal of the National Institute of Hydrology.
The dam included Kotwal-Pilowa, Doraha, Naren, Mala, Kaketo, Llilgi, Umrar and Jajon dams. These dams are located on major tributaries of the Ganga and Yamuna basins such as Betwa, Chambal, Dhasan, Ken, Son and Sindh rivers in the state.
Scientist and head of the centre Ravi Galkate said that the groundwater situation has been found better in the head and middle reaches of the command area. The groundwater level was observed at a very deep level in the tail reach area and has seen high depletion from post to pre-monsoon season. The reason behind this is the insufficient irrigation supply from the canals and the high use of groundwater for irrigation in the tail reach area. The high use of groundwater is leading to the underground water table going deeper, he added.
According to the study, one reason for the situation is that most of the farmers are flooding their fields with water. They don’t adopt scientific and specific irrigation methods to save water, though progressive and large farmers were found to be using advanced techniques and methods to save, conserve and make optimal use of water.
Recommendations of the study:
Awareness should be created among farmers on adopting advanced methods of irrigation instead of flooding to make optimal use of water.
Use of pressurised irrigation such as drip and sprinkler should be encouraged
Improving efficiency of the projects by lining the canal and protecting it from breaching
The irrigation system should be made self-sufficient by improving the ability of users to manage the scheme without govt’s help
Water User Associations should be strengthened, their involvement in irrigation scheduling for optimal utilisation of water should be increased
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