IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF WATER RESOURCE AND PEOPLES’ PERCEPTIONS, TARANAGAR BLOCK (CHURU) RAJASTHAN

Abstract: The next world war will be fought over freshwater or Water will be a major source of conflict between nations and communities in this century are statements heard in different permutations in practically every freshwater related event or gathering. Water is an essential source for the sustenance of all life forms on our planet and with every passing day, the demand for freshwater outpaces its availability. This growing scarcity is alarming but such doomsday predictions are not a solution. Science and technology are looking for ways to increase the supply of freshwater but we must also pause and reflect on the ways of our forefathers in harvesting freshwater that sustained them through millenniums in various ecological systems. Historically Indians have been the world’s greatest water harvesters. Be it rainwater, groundwater, floodwater or water from streams and rivers, Indians over centuries developed a wide range of systems for harvesting, storage, utilization and ground recharge in different ecological regions. These systems beautifully blended & complimented the culture of the concerned regions. But for various reasons they were abandoned. Today, in our country, with each passing day the need to sensibly harvest & use freshwater is increasing manifold. For this, we all have to in the words of Maude Barlow, radically restructure our societies and lifestyles to reverse the trend of depleting fresh water from the earth“.
Introduction
Water was a symbol of significance in the history of ancient civilizations that prospered close to it. Unlike the urban industrialized civilizations of 21st century, most humans throughout history knew that freshwater resources would run out unless the water is harvested and conserved. Available freshwater is only one half of one percent of total freshwater available on earth, still, modern-day humans, convinced of their supremacy over nature, have failed to revere water though the dependence on it, of all life forms, for sustenance is still as much as it was in ancient times. Water is an essential natural resource; a key building block of life. However, water use has grown at over twice the population growth rate in the last century. As a result, an increasing number of regions are now chronically short of water. Over 1.4 billion people currently live in river basins where the use of water exceeds minimum recharge levels. In the Second World Water Forum, The Hague in March 2000 estimated that a 17 percent increase in water consumed by irrigated agriculture would be necessary to provide for the nutritional needs of a world population likely to rise to somewhere between 7 and 111 billion by the year 2015.
Rajasthan needs more holistic and integrated management of its water resources. Collective action is necessary to bring together the public sector, the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders to work together towards integrated and participatory solutions for water resources planning and management. Studies have shown Rajasthan is among regions with greatest climate sensitivity and lowest adaptive capability. Rajasthan has only 1.16 percent of the country’s total surface water resources or 21.71 billion cubic meters (BCM), however 16.05 BCM of this is economically usable. The state has created capacity to harness and store 11.29 BCM, or around 70 percent of available water. The state has 1.72 percent of the country’s groundwater, translating into 11.36 BCM. Dependent on inflows into the rivers, 17.88 BCM is allocated through inter-state agreements, although not dependable due to political compulsions of the upper riparian states. On paper, water use can be expanded by a further 30 percent. However more realistic assessment of additional availability is economically usable water or 21 percent. This is broken down in figure below, which accounts for the use of 79 percent of the 45.09 BCM of economically available water.
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Churu District Water Scenario
The district is characterized by undulating sand–dunes and inter-dunal sandy planes, except towards south eastern part where few isolated hillocks of considerable height but restricted extension are exposed. Fairly open & flat topography has also been observed in Rajgarh and Sujangarh blocks. Practically there is no river in the district: however, in extremely high rainy season Kantly River enters in the district from extreme southern peripheral village of Rajgarh block. Semi-desertic to desertic climatic conditions are typical characteristics of the district. In extreme summer season, the temperature rises up to 490 C or even more sometimes, while in extreme winters it falls down below the freezing point. Rainfall is also low and erratic with an average annual rainfall of 415.77 mm in the year 2019. The normal rainfall of the district is 353.76 mm (1901-2018).
Younger and older alluvium of quaternary age, Tertiary sandstones, Nagaur sandstones, Bilara limestone, Jodhpur sandstones, and weathered granite and gneisses are the main water bearing formation encountered in the district. Ground water generally occurs under un- confined to semi- confined conditions. Depth to water in the district generally ranges between 6.67 to 91.05 meters below ground- level. Water table generally shows a depletion trend in almost all ground water potential zones while a rising trend is observed in ground water saline zones. Average discharge of well (dug-cum-bored wells and tube-wells) constructed in the district ranges between 1,500 to 4,500 gallons per hour. Chemical quality of ground water in ground water potential zones is fresh to semi- saline with electric conductivity ranging between 1,000 to 6000 micro Siemens/cm. Quality of ground water in ground water saline zones saline to extremely saline with electric conductivity ranging between 6000 to 24,000 micro Siemens/cm.
As per the revised guide-lines of the Ground Water Estimation Committee 2017, instead of individual ground water potential zone, the block as a whole has been assessed and categorized on the basis of stage of ground water development and long term trend of water- table. Out of seven blocks of the district, one block Sardarshahar has been categorized as “SAFE”, one Ratangarh as “SEMI-CRITICAL”, and three blocks Rajgarh, Sujangarh and Bidasar have been characterized as “OVER-EXPLOITED”. Block Taranagar has saline native ground water and has not been assessed. (Hydrogeological report of Rajasthan, Churu District)

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