Bhubaneswar: Odisha may face a severe water scarcity situation in 2051, according to a study released by SwitchON Foundation on World Water Day.
The groundwater levels across Odisha have been declining due to the over-extraction of groundwater and a lack of proper water management, the study said while revealing the distressing situation of groundwater depletion in Odisha.
The report said groundwater depletion is leading to reduced water availability, in regions that rely on underground reserves as their primary source of freshwater.
This will lead to an increase in competition for scarce resources and worsening water scarcity in already dry regions.
The research findings said parts of the state are yet to achieve the recommended daily drinking water target of 40 litre per capita per day (lpcd).
About 17 districts in the state have issues with saline groundwater, and in many districts; the concentration of fluoride, nitrate, iron, and chromium (hexavalent) is found to be above the permissible limits.
Wastage of water in domestic-due to a lack of adequate infrastructure and metering, around 54 per cent 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 neighboring 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 up to 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.
The study recommended baseline study of all active groundwater sources, suggesting relevant policy recommendations.
It said the conservation of traditional wetland to be protected for effective ground water recharge.
The study further suggested that 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 are to be constructed based on research of aquifer characteristics and land use surveys.
Massive awareness programmes are to be done for promoting sustainable use of water, avoiding water wastages in the agricultural and domestic sectors, also during supply and distribution.
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, and promoting water-resistant crops.
The SwitchON Foundation has launched its Empowering Energy, Water and Agriculture wing (EEWA) to promote green energy, climate-smart agriculture, and water conservation.
Managing Director, SwitchON Foundation Vinay Jaju, said, “It’s very alarming the way groundwater is getting depleted.
He said, “we have to work on conserving water on a war footing mode and take immediate action to conserve our most precious resource”.
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