After Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Raghubar Das stressed on water conservation, the State Government has prepared strategy on water conservation and re-charging depleting ground water table. The State Government from July 7 to September 15 is to launch a concerted save water drive across the State. The campaign though is Government initiatives, but ruling BJP too has jumped in the exercise.
The save water campaign from July 7 to September 15 is to witness voluntary participation of ruling party MPs, MLAs, ministers, besides CM Das himself participating at the campaign. BJP chief whip and MLA, Radha Krishna Kishore said, “From July 7 to 15, all MLAs, ministers, MPs will volunteer their participation in water conservation. Water conservation is need of the hour.”
The Ranchi district administration moving a step ahead too has decided to dole out cash incentives to panchayats taking a lead in water conservation.
Ranchi Deputy Commissioner (DC), Rai Mahimapat Ray on Tuesday held a meeting on water conservation and announced cash incentives for panchayats selected for mini watershed planning. Best performing panchayats will get cash incentives ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Ray said, “On July 7, the district administration will launch the drive on which there will be plantations drive and Shram Daan (volunteer participation) by people. The Chief Minister will himself participate at the function in Kanke.” The State Government and Ranchi District Administration stressing on water conservation is due to depleting ground water table, which has become a cause of concern not only for administration but also for residents of the city.
According to city-based Geologist/Environmental Scientist Dr Nitish Priyadarshi ground water table in State Capital in last 15 years has gone down by 3 metre to 25 metres, with areas such Kanke, Ratu Road, Morhabadi, Harmu largely affected due to ground water depletion.
Priyadrashi said, “The main reason for depleting ground water is lack of water management, which includes over exploitation of ground water and shrinking water bodies. In last few years lots of deep boring has been done. These deep borings in the State Capital has forced the water table to move down, as well as Ranchi plateau consists of metamorphic rocks which are relatively impermeable and hence serve as poor aquifers.”
The over exploitation of water table can be gauged from the fact in localities such as Upper Bazar, Harmu area, Kishore Ganj are facing severe water crisis with borings too becoming failure. Atul Choudhary, a resident of Upper Bazar said, “In our house there are two borings but both of them have failed. We are left with no other alternative but to depend upon water supplied through water tankers by civic bodies which too are irregular.”
Apart from uncontrolled deep borings, the other reasons behind depleting ground water are shrinking surface water in State Capital. Ranchi city that used to have more than 52 to 55 ponds and smaller water bodies during Independence, but now only a dozen odd water bodies exist. Even rivers flowing beside the State Capital are crying for existence. Due to growth of City, these large ponds, rivers and water bodies are encroached by construction companies. “Shrinking natural water bodies have lowered groundwater level and as a result people suffer during summer,” said Nitish Priyadarshi.
In 1946, JB Auden, a British geologist who visited Ranchi to explore for underground aquifers, found that ground water level in Ranchi was not reliable due to the presence of Archaean rocks–the oldest rock formations. To meet the increasing demand for surface water, three dams–the Dhurwa Dam in 1962, Kanke Dam in 1954 and Getalsud Dam in 1971– were built in and around the city to cater to a population, but the depressing fact is that neither administration nor citizens have taken effort to protect these water bodies. Priyadarshi claimed that administration and citizen should take some measures such as putting a ban on construction at recharge area or catchment areas, construction of artificial water reservoirs, regular cleaning of ponds, lakes and rivulets and dams.