Punjab will be a desert within 25 years if its underground water resources exploitation continues at the current rate, a draft report of the Central Ground Water Board (North-Western region) has cautioned.
'At the current rate of extraction, all available groundwater resources till the depth of 300 metres will end in 20-25 years,' it warns, adding that all available groundwater resources at a depth of 100 metres will end in 10 years.
Confirming the noting in the draft report, prepared every four years, the state Agriculture Secretary, Mr. Kahan Singh Pannu said the 'latest reports on the declining water level, including by the Central Ground Water Board, are alarming. It looks as if we are staring at the end of our world. It is a red alert period and the hooter for saving water is blaring out of concern.'
Renowned agriculture economist, Dr SS Johl, said, 'The main culprit levels is the rice crop. Farmers got free water and wastage was rampant. Water should be priced and at the same time, no agriculture can survive without subsidy under existing circumstances.But, it should not be on water. The subsidy should be increased to Rs 20,000 crore from the existing Rs 8,000 crore. It should be distributed equally even to farmers who have no tube wells.'