Punjab govt forms sub-committee for Israel visit to tackle water shortage
The Punjab Cabinet Wednesday constituted a sub-committee that will soon visit Israel to study ways to regulate the use of water in the state, officials said. The issue of groundwater depletion in the state was taken up for an informal discussion during the cabinet meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, an official spokesperson.
The sub-committee, consisting of cabinet ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu, Tripat Bajwa, Sukh Sarkaria and Razia Sultana, was mandated to explore and suggest measures to tackle the critical water situation in the state, the official said. It will visit Israel to study their water conservation model and examine the feasibility of its adoption in Punjab, added the official.
The cabinet also entrusted the sub-committee with the task of examining the objections raised by some of the ministers on the functioning of the proposed Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority (PWRDA), which was mooted last month.
Earlier, while making a detailed presentation on the current groundwater scenario in the state, Principal Secretary Water Resources Sarvjit Singh apprised the Cabinet that of the 138 blocks in the state, 109 were "over-exploited". He said the total available groundwater in Punjab was 324 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) and every year 35.77 BCM was being extracted, which is 11.88 BCM in excess of the annual recharge of 23.89 BCM.
At this rate, the water level in the state would go beyond 300 metres depth in 28 years, he said, pointing out that the water table was falling at the rate of 0.4 meters annually. As many as 16 of the total 22 districts spread across 72 per cent of state fall in the "over-exploited" category, he said further.
(With inputs from agencies.)