November 23, 2012

2012: Highlight # 49

Recent CGWB data shows that groundwater levels have improved in several blocks in Saurashtra. Jain argues that at least some of the credit for this must go to decentralized rainwater harvesting

Role of Decentralized Rainwater Harvesting and Artificial Recharge in Reversal of Groundwater Depletion in the Arid and Semi-arid Regions of Gujarat, India

R.C. Jain

The assessment of groundwater resources of Gujarat for the year 2007 reveals a noteworthy shift in a large number of assessment units from Critical to Semi-critical/safe category in the semi-arid Saurashtra region, when compared with 2002. This is significant against the backdrop of decline of groundwater levels and groundwater depletion in large parts of the arid and semi-arid regions of the country. The Saurashtra region was facing problems of declining groundwater levels and ground water depletion prior to 2002 but in the post 2002 scenario, there has been an overall steady rise and stabilization in post monsoon ground water levels. Although, Saurashtra experienced above average rainfall during the period, the limited period available for infiltration of rainfall during the monsoon does not allow significantly enhanced recharge due to the limited storage of the underlying aquifers. The analysis of the drivers indicate that the intervention of decentralized rain water harvesting and artificial recharge to ground water taken up on a mass scale in the Saurashtra and Kachchh regions have prolonged the period of recharge to the aquifers during post monsoon season resulting into this miracle of stabilizing the ground water levels and even reversing the trend of ground water depletion.

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