Home » Column » Odisha’s thirst for water: The alarming rate of groundwater depletion

Odisha’s thirst for water: The alarming rate of groundwater depletion

Groundwater depletion is having serious consequences on communities around the world, and has also started to cause severe issues in the state of Odisha. The groundwater levels across the state have been declining due to over-extraction of ground water and lack of proper water management.

A study was released by SwitchON Foundation on World Water Day indicating the distressing situation of groundwater depletion in Odisha. The report highlights that groundwater depletion is leading to reduced water availability, in regions that rely on underground reserves as their primary source of freshwater. This is leading to an increase in competition for scarce resources and worsening water scarcity in already dry regions.

Research Findings:

  • Parts of the state are yet to achieve the recommended daily drinking water target of 40 lpcd per capita.
  • About 17 districts in the state have issues with saline  groundwater and in many districts the concentration of fluoride, nitrate, iron and chromium(hexavalent) are found to be above the permissible limits.
  • Wastage of water in domestic-due to a lack of adequate infrastructure and metering, around 54% of unaccounted water losses were observed within the system.
  • The availability of water by the year 2051 was assessed, and the result shows that the surface water availability from its own drainage boundary remains more or less fixed but the inflow of surface water from neighbouring states will be reduced from 37.556 BCM to 25.272 BCM.
  • An assessment done by researchers for the water resources in Odisha, indicated that by the year 2051 the total water requirement may go upto 85 billion cubic metre  from the present requirement of 55 billion cubic metre, and the state may face a severe water scarcity situation in 2051.

Recommendations:

  • Baseline study of all active groundwater sources, suggesting relevant policy recommendations.
  • Conservation of traditional wetland to be protected for effective ground water recharge.
  • Desiltation/dredging of surface water bodies like streams, rivers and canals for better percolation and recharge of aquifers during monsoons.
  • Rejuvenation of dried up/deteriorated traditional water storage units like ponds, tanks etc.
  • Artificial recharge structures to be constructed based on a research of aquifer characteristics and land use surveys.
  • Massive awareness programmes to be done for promoting sustainable use of water, avoiding water wastages in agri and domestic sectors, also during supply and distribution etc.
  • Integrated approach for water conservation.
  • Assessing the existing policies, Acts and schemes related to water conservation  for their effectiveness.

Overall, the study emphasises the urgent need for better management and conservation of groundwater resources. The report recommends implementing policies to regulate the use of underground water extraction, adopting technology and practices for water conservation and water use efficiency, promotion of water-resistant crops like millets and other indigenous rice varieties, and shifting from high-water consumption crops. Failure to act could have severe consequences for the environment and communities around the world.

Working towards the conservation of the environment as a whole, SwitchON Foundation has launched their Empowering Energy, Water and Agriculture wing (EEWA) to promote green energy, climate smart agriculture and water conservation.

Looking at the appalling data, Vinay Jaju, Managing Director, SwitchON Foundation said, “It’s very alarming the way groundwater is getting depleted. We have technology solutions and with awareness and change in habits – we have to work on conserving water on a war footing mode.  We need to take immediate action to conserve our most precious resource

 

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.
x

Check Also

Manas Ranjan Samal will received Kendra Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puraskar, Sanjay Kumar Panda will be conferred with the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar

Bhubaneswar:15/6/24: Two Odia writers have been selected for two different prestigious Kendra Sahitya Akademi awards for the year 2024. This was announced by the Kendra Sahitya Akademi after its executive ...