Mann Government committed to providing alternative agro-irrigation facilities in addition to tubewells, asserts Chetan Singh Jauramajra : Underlining the ongoing efforts to boost agricultural infrastructure and ensure sustainable water resources for the benefit of farming community, Punjab Water Resources and Soil & Water Conservation Minister S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra today reiterated that Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann-led government is committed to enhancing agricultural irrigation facilities in the state by providing alternative agro-irrigation facilities in addition to tubewells.
He informed that more than 15 lakh tubewells are irrigating 29 lakh hectares with 50 to 55 percent efficiency through open and unlined water courses, due to which the ground water level is rapidly and continuously declining. As per estimates, 20-25 per cent of water is lost in the open channels (khals) which are by and large unlined. Apart from this, around 10 thousand hectares used for construction of field channels is taken out of crop production.
He said that keeping this in mind, the state government has made arrangements to provide canal water to the farmers for agricultural use, under which the government has restored 13471 water courses to ensure canal water to the tail end.
The Cabinet Minister said that apart from tube wells and canal sources, irrigation water is being provided to farmers through Underground Pipeline System (UGPS). These pipes are buried at least 3 feet below the ground and generally replace water courses (khals) for irrigation, which take water from canal outlets, common or individual tubewells, village ponds, farm water storage tanks, sewage treatment plants, perennial and non-perennial river, seasonal rivulet etc.
“This technology is widely accepted by farmers and has proved to be highly useful in on-farm conservation of irrigation water during the last few decades”, said the Cabinet Minister, adding that a number of evaluation studies conducted by ICAR, NABARD and PAU Ludhiana have proved that UGPS saves 10-20 per cent of water as per soil conditions and considerable labour. UGPS is a highly efficient system as it has helped in catching up the time gap of conventional irrigation system that results in obvious saving of electricity/diesel due to lower running hours of tubewells. Replacing the open water courses with underground pipeline also saves about 1 per cent of land which can be brought under cultivation. UGPS helps in not only optimum utilization of available surface water but also saving of precious ground water.
Jauramajra said that Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann led government has laid over 2945.72 km of pipelines through the water resources and Soil & water conservation departments during its 22-month tenure, which has benefitted more than 67,926 hectares of land in the state.