Tuesday, April 23
Ladakh Admn initiates 3rd Groundwater Assessment to enhance Water Management Strategies

Ladakh Admn initiates 3rd Groundwater Assessment to enhance Water Management Strategies

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Sahu Chairs Meeting of UT Level Ground Standing Ground Water Resource Estimation Committee
Leh: The Union Territory of Ladakh has commenced the process of its 3rd Groundwater Assessment with the meeting of the Standing Committee, chaired by Commissioner/Secretary, PHE/I&FC Ladakh, Ajeet Kumar Sahu Tuesday.

Notably, this year’s assessment will be conducted at the block level to obtain more reliable and detailed data.

Previous assessments in 2019-20 indicated a safe stage of groundwater development at 17.90% in Ladakh. However, disparities were observed between districts, with Leh reporting a higher groundwater development stage at 36.13%, while Kargil showed a lower stage at 3.40%. To gain a clearer understanding, the 2nd assessment in 2020-21 adopted a basin-based approach, revealing localized regions like the Phyang Valley facing semi-critical groundwater extraction rates of 84.08%.

To address these disparities and limitations, the committee has adopted a block-level methodology for the 2022-23 assessments. This strategic shift aims to identify regions with higher groundwater extraction rates and implement targeted conservation measures for sustainable groundwater management.

The ultimate goal remains ensuring that groundwater extraction stays within the natural replenishment rate throughout Ladakh.

During the meeting, the Union Territory of Ladakh’s Standing Ground Water Resource Estimation Committee (UTLEC), led by Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Commissioner/Secretary, PHE/I&FC Department, discussed the methodology and data requirements for the annual Dynamic Ground Water Resources Estimation for the year 2022-23. Scientist-D Mohinder Lal Angurala from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) stressed the significance of block-level assessments in pinpointing groundwater development hotspots. He urged committee members to contribute the necessary data for timely estimation.

Addressing the committee, Sahu highlighted the semi-critical groundwater situation in Phyang Valley and its imminent declaration as a ‘Controlled Area’ under the J&K (Ladakh) Water Resources Management and Regulation Act 2010. This move aims to ensure proper groundwater conservation through effective monitoring and management measures.

Sahu instructed the PHE/I&FC and CGWB to identify locations for regular groundwater quality and level monitoring in Leh and Kargil. He also emphasized including newly constructed tube wells by PHE/I&FC in the forthcoming assessment.

The Commissioner/Secretary stressed the need for comprehensive data on groundwater usage and availability and requested relevant departments to share their groundwater-related work. He also emphasized adherence to guidelines for groundwater sampling for quality assessment and emphasized recording variations in water quality to establish a database for monitoring purposes.

The meeting concluded with Sahu reiterating the shift from district-level to block-level assessments, in line with the Ministry of Jal Shakti’s mandate, for a more precise understanding of groundwater dynamics.

The meeting was attended by the Director of, the Industries/ Commerce Department; the Director of, the Housing and Urban Development Department; the Director of, the Rural Development Department & Panchayati Raj; the Chief Engineer, of PHE/I&FC Department Ladakh; the Chief Engineer, NHPC, Ladakh; Central Ground Water Board, Jammu, and concerned officers.

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