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Water level dip worry for tillers

- Experts hint at lack of rain

Patna, May 24: The lack of rain coupled with extraction for drinking and irrigation has resulted in depleting groundwater level, putting farmers at risk.

The depleting water level has increased woes of people, mostly in rural areas in districts such as Gopalganj, Arwal, Nawada and Samastipur among others. People in rural areas depend on the shallow water aquifer for potable water and irrigation.

“If at all, there would not be any rain in the coming days, then garma (summer farming) as well as kharif would be affected badly this time,” said Yatindra Nath Tiwari, a farmer at Bhorey block in Gopalganj, where the level has dropped by 3ft.

According to the state ground water directorate, the water level in 14 districts fell by up to 3ft (nearly 1m) by the end of April this year as compared to the respective levels in the same month in 2013 and 2012.

The directorate conducts weekly measurement of ground water level at its 240 hydrograph network stations across the state during summer, observes the comparative changes in water level and issues advisories to the state government.

Experts attributed lack of pre-monsoon or summer rain coupled with the decade’s lowest monsoon rainfall in the previous year to the dip. “The decline in the water table is due to this decline in rainfall, complemented by excess extraction of shallow water in rural areas for irrigation and drinking purposes. The authorities should be watchful about the level, especially in shallow aquifer that goes as deep as 70 feet below groundwater level,” said Ashok Ghosh, professor-in-charge, department of environment and water management, AN College.

“In Bihar, 70 per cent of gross irrigated area depends on groundwater extracted from tube-wells. The depleting water table in shallow aquifers can lead to drying up of tube wells leading to rise in irrigation cost,” said Anil Jha, of the agriculture department.

Shower forecast

The Met office today claimed that cloudy conditions were observed in Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea among others. Patna is also expected to receive thundershowers tomorrow.

The rainy conditions over the next couple of days has been attributed to a depression in the Bay of Bengal. “We are expecting rainfall in north Bihar today and tomorrow. Patna is likely to get thundershowers on Sunday,” said Ashish Sen, director, IMD, Patna.

Plunge pattern

In range of 0 to 1.5ft**

Nalanda, Saran, Nawada, Muzaffarpur, Jehanabad, Purnea, Siwan, Kishanganj, Samastipur and Gaya

In range of 1.6 to 3ft**

Gopalganj, Arwal and Aurangabad

**Decline in April 2014 in comparison to April 2013 and April 2012
Source: State groundwater directorate