Groundwater depletion a major challenge in J&K: Report

Srinagar, Nov 8: The latest government survey has revealed that the shifting of utilities and depletion of groundwater in summer season was throwing a major challenge for the Jal Shakti Department in Jammu and Kashmir.

The government report has shed light on the challenges faced by the JJM noting that the non-availability of water sources in some hilly areas is also an area of concern.

“Hilly terrain and number of projects involving acquisition of private land or structures and diversion of forest land or felling of trees, is always time consuming and involves huge financial implication as well,” the government report reads.

The official document reads that growing population, rapid urbanization and industrialization was also posing a major challenge for the department in the region.

The government analysis has however pinpointed some positive work of the Jal Shakti Department noting that it was working industriously for the last many years for providing potable drinking water supply, assured irrigation facilities and flood mitigation measures in J&K. “The department has sufficient trained and professional manpower available for achieving the desired results,” it reads.

The government has stated that modern techniques and innovative engineering practices are being adopted by the department to bring efficiency in the system.

At the same time, the government survey has however put forth some weaknesses of the department in terms of the lack of community ownership and participatory approach of the people.

“There is always a gap between actual demand and the receipt of the funds received for the projects from Union as well as UT Budget. Due to budgetary constraints, sometimes desired objectives are not achieved within given timelines,” the document reads.

The official document reads that the budgetary constraints cast a shadow on the development, maintenance and augmentation of the water supply system, providing of sustainable irrigation facilities and taking measures to mitigate the flood threats for the protection of public life and property.

The SWOT analysis of the Jal Shakti Department has however pointed out some opportunities while highlighting the significant progress in achieving the target of providing FHTCs to each and every rural household under JJM.

“The desired target of providing 100 percent coverage to rural households shall be achieved during the fiscal 2023-24. For achieving this target GoI is providing sufficient funding under the ambit of JJM,” the document reads.

Besides, NABARD is also providing funding for rural water supply schemes to supplement the mission.

“After accomplishment of the mission, the people of rural J&K will get the potable drinking water of prescribed quantity as well as quality,” it reads.

The official report reveals that the department under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has planned 3125 schemes (1120-New/Augmentation and 2005-Retrofitting) at an estimated cost of Rs 14226.00 crore for the coverage of left out 12.60 lakh rural households.

This has been done on the basis of Village Action Plans and District Action Plans formulated by the Pani Samitis and District Jal Jeevan Missions in J&K.

“The department is also upgrading the service level of 5.75 lakh rural households that were connected with tap water connections at the start of the Mission,” the document reads.

The official report states that around 10.62 lakh households out of 18.40 lakh have been covered under the JJM and the remaining 7.78 lakh households shall be covered during 2022-23 and 2023-24.

“The J&K UT has achieved 58 percent coverage of households with tap water connections against the national coverage of 56.80 percent,” it reads.

 

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