Dynamic groundwater resources, the alternative measure to tackle water scarcity and drought like situation in Manipur
Laishram Kanta Singh
Water conservation means using our water wisely and caring for it properly. Since each of us depends on water for life, it is our responsibility to learn more about water conservation and how we can help keep our water pure and safe for generations to come. Since we all enjoy the benefits of having pure, clean water, we must help conserve water so that we may continue to enjoy these benefits. Water is life because plants and animals cannot live without water. Water is needed to ensure food security, feed livestock, maintain organic life, take up industrial production and to conserve the biodiversity and environment. Hence, there is no life without water. With the God’s gifted earth is the only planet, so far we know that it posses water and this makes it fit for human living and other living organisms to exist on it. This precious substance which are not properly utilize by mankind and increasing demand due to growing population and unsuitable lifestyle, many countries are facing severe water crisis. Year by year per capita availability of water is decreasing which threats to human life in many ways. If proper planning and corrective measures are not taken up in the proper place and proper time many developing countries including India will have to face declining in food production and water security in the near future.
Long before, when the population was low and lifestyle was simple, water was available in plenty and was considered as a free resource. However, with growing demand for water and depletion of the available water, assured supply of good quality water is becoming a growing concern. As the water resources are not evenly distributed, across different continents, some countries have surplus water while many countries are in deficit. Although, Manipur is not a water poor state of India, due to growing human population, severe neglect and mismanagement of this resource, water is becoming a scarce commodity. Manipur is more vulnerable because of the growing population and in-disciplined lifestyle. This calls for immediate attention by the stakeholders to make sustainable use of the available water resources.
A water crisis has taken Manipur by storm making headlines for what can only be described as an emergency. Delay in monsoons and bone-dry surface-level resources have left groundwater as the only redeemer. With more than 50% of the state agricultural land grappling with water shortage, the crisis seems far from over. Excessive demand, coupled with mismanaged resources, and erratic weather patterns have only added fuel to the fire. A weekly report of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) states that as of June 19, the cumulative rainfall for the Long Period Average (LPA) was recorded below 43 per cent between June 1 and 19. This entails that agriculture, domestic and industrial demands, all have taken a massive blow as other resources depend on rainwater. LPA is the average rainfall received by the country during monsoon over a 50-year period.
Meaning and assessment of dynamic groundwater resources
Dynamic groundwater resources are the annual ground water recharge which is the replenishable groundwater resources. The dynamic groundwater resources refer to the annual average long-term refueling in maximum groundwater use conditions (GWREC, 1997). The soil is generally saturated with moisture until the end of October and no extra groundwater is needed for irrigation. The irrigation of groundwater generally begins in early November and continues until May of next year. Therefore, the dynamic groundwater resource is estimated as follows (GWREC, 1997):
DGWR = (DWTE “ DWTO) × A × Sy (i)
Where, DWTE = depth to water table in the pre-monsoon season of next year [L], DWTO = depth to water table in the post-monsoon season of the current year [L], A = aquifer area of influence [L2], and Sy = specific yield of the aquifer [fraction].
Groundwater resources as the only redeemer left in the state with the exploitation of under-water reserves can be alternative measure for the state Manipur. The dynamic groundwater reserve is also regarded to be ‘exploitable groundwater reserve/resources’ or ‘usable groundwater reserve/resources’, which obviously suggests that this quantity of groundwater (i.e., dynamic groundwater reserve) can be completely extracted / removed to satisfy annual water requirements without causing any adverse effect on the accessible groundwater resource and environment. The pre-monsoon season for a specific year generally relates to the period from the prior year’s October/November to the specific year’s May/June, whereas the post-monsoon season for a specific year relates to the period from that year’s October/ November to next year’s May/June.
Our Manipur is not a water deficit state. Further neglect in this sector will lead to water scarcity during the next 1-2 decades. Saving water is very important for human and our world. Water is limited resources and it is irreplaceable for all life. Without water people cannot live, without water plant cannot live, without water animal cannot live, without water firm cannot operate. No water no life, no water no future.
Manipur has sufficient water potentiality enough for its own population, but due to severe neglect and lack of monitoring of water resources development experience water stress from time to time. Further neglect in this sector will lead to water scarcity during the next few decades. It is therefore necessary to prevent this crisis by making best use of the available technologies and resources to conserve the existing water resources, convert them into utilizable form and make efficient use of them for agriculture, industrial production and human consumption.
The author is Subject Matter Specialist (Soil and Water Conservation Engineering), Krishi Vigyan Kendra-Imphal West , ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Lamphelpat, Imphal