In our local area I wrote a report on the groundwater resources crisis.
Two blocks of West Burdwan district could face most water crisis !!!!!!!
I am presenting the subject through regional survey and some practical knowledge -
Our district is West Burdwan in West Bengal, and to its far west there are two blocks - Salanpur and Barabani.
On a small scale map, these blocks of West Burdwan, one of the western districts of West Bengal, are at the eastern end of the Chhotanagpur Plateau in India.
But a very accurate view on a large scale map shows the two isolated plateaus of the Chhotanagpur Plateau in the west, the Salanpur plateau in the south, and the Barabani plateau in the east, which are today's first two blocks.These highlands are on average 150-160 meters above sea level, which is simply called the low plateau.The highest elevation of Chittaranjan railway town is on the westernmost border of Salanpur highlands, about 160 meters.
These two highlands gradually sloped down to the town of Asansol (the second largest city in West Bengal) via Salanpur, Sitarampur, so the land of Asansol town belongs to the lowlands or plains.On a small scale map the whole area is the land of an isolated plateau.
Meanwhile, the Barabani plateau descends and merges with the Ajay river valley,The Salanpur plateau slopes westwards and joins the Barakar river valley.
The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dam near Maithon has built up a huge reservoir by squeezing the excess water of Barakar, so the water of this reservoir has gained a lot of volume.
✴️✴️These highlands now stand as a watershed between the two rivers (the highlands that divide rainwater and the highlands between the two river valleys).
The Chittaranjan region to the far west is rich in ancient granite, sandstone, metamorphic quartzite and quartz, feldspar minerals of the Chhotanagpur Plateau.
However, the whole of Salanpur in the south, and the Barabani region in the east, have large layers of pure and impure sandstone, and layers of quartzite and granite are underground.
Large quantities of white quartz minerals and fragments of granite have been found along the Maithan reservoir.
There is a layer of mud-rich sandstone beneath the pure sandstone over a large area of the Rupnarayanpur area of the Salanpur block highlands.
The overall rock layers are slightly sloping to the south, forming a monolithic structure. You can understand by looking at the coal layers of the coal mines.
🔴How about water drainage and groundwater storage?
When rainwater falls on the Salanpur and Barabani highlands, it first flows through the Chadar and then through small canals - from the Salanpur highlands the whole area flows westwards into the Barakar River valley and into the Maithon Reservoir, and some eastwards into the Ajay River valley.
On the other hand, the rain water falling on the Barabani highlands carries some of it to the Ajay river valley and the rest descends towards the small river channel of the Asansol lowlands.
As a result, no matter how high the water level rises in Maithon Dam and Ajay River due to excess rainfall, these blocks will never flood and there is no danger of flooding in the next 100 years at the highest places like Rupnarayanpur, Chittaranjan.It can be said that only the local villages of Ajay river valley are in danger of being inundated with excess water.
However, in the low-lying areas of Asansol town, the catastrophic flood situation of 2021 has turned ugly, and it would be completely wrong to say that there will be no flood situation in the city due to excess rains in the near future.
Anyway,It is better to say now that the population and road spread between the two blocks is comparatively higher in Salanpur block than in Barabani block, as India had its own electric power plant like Rupnarayanpur, and Chittaranjan railway town, along with various coal mining areas.
However, in the past Salanpur and Barabani highlands were covered with dense forest as such settlements were not developed.
Even today, cutting down trees on Chittaranjan's land is prohibited as there is a lot of forest cover and there is still plenty of forest in the Gaurangi area of Barabani block, as human intervention is relatively less.The Barabani forest was larger and denser than Salanpur, hence the origin of the word "Bara Bani".On the other hand, salo means "high ground or land".
Here the primitive people used to depend on forest resources from the highlands to the lowlands of Asansol. Asan and Sol means Bhumi, meaning Asan Gaye Bhumi or today's --- "Asansol".
This time, as there is a lot of grass and trees in these high lands, the rain water is absorbed more and more and goes underground and stores ground water.
But most of the water does not freeze on the surface and flows down the two river valleys to supply additional water to the rivers.
But with the gradual development of the Asansol Industrial Area, the expansion of improved roads, the Northern Railways (these roads and railways have been extended along the veins of the high watershed to prevent rainwater from accumulating).
And at the same time, from scattered, grouped settlements began to form around these two highlands or blocks.
As a result, forests began to lose large amounts.
From 1990 to 2000, people used to make wells while constructing houses. At that time ground water was available just below the surface (25-30 feet).
But today it can be said that digging of wells is almost non-existent between 2016-2022.
Currently deep tube wells are being dug all around, ground water is not available in many places even after digging tube wells up to 200-600 or even 1000 feet deep !!
In fact, during the dry season in this region - from March to May, the groundwater table goes much deeper.
Many shallow wells, ponds have dried up and become clogged.Because,
1) More land is required to dig this well, but at present the price of land has increased a lot.
2) In the past, ground water surface did not fall deeper than the earth's crust, but now due to deeper fall, well drilling will not be effective. For this deep tube well is dug.
3) Digging wells is quite time consuming and difficult. Tube wells can be dug in a day or two.
4) At present, people are digging tube wells, regardless of the high cost, as they are willing to complete the work quickly.
🔴The reason for the rapid fall of groundwater
The forests of this region could have kept the rain water very tight for so long.
Out of 100 percent of the total rainwater runoff, 50 percent of the surface water flows into rivers or drains and the remaining 50 percent is absorbed and accumulates in the subsoil.
But gradually more forests have been lost and lost due to settlement construction resulting in less water absorption than before and also increased surface flow levels.
Already between 2020-22, these areas are surrounded by residential areas, settlements and most of the land is no longer paved, but paved or concrete roads.Due to the accumulation of water in the road due to excess rain, the road becomes muddy and concrete roads are being constructed to solve this problem.But if you want to handle this side, you have to suffer on the other side, you have to keep it in mind !!!!
This is due to the loss of forests on the one hand and the paved road on the other, which prevents rainwater runoff from being absorbed, and about 90 percent of the total rainwater runoff flows as surface flow.
The remaining 10 percent is exploited in small quantities if there is raw land somewhere.But even if it doesn't move, the tonic will roll in 100 percent water.Second, in many residential areas and settlements, water is being pumped out regularly by digging deep tube wells all around in the summer to meet the high demand for water.
The problem is not upstairs, but underground, with a pipe, when you pull the yoghurt for two, the space between the two becomes English v-shaped, just like the water drawn from a deep tube well from all sides, the water is pumped into the underground v-shape.
The water level gradually goes much deeper.By 2022, the permanent saturated layer of the Earth's crust in the Salanpur block has gone much deeper.If the tube well is not dug in a very deep way, water will not be available.Groundwater is being pulled up like a straw by sub-martial pumps, which are being installed underground, causing the groundwater to fall even faster.
When water is absorbed into the grassland by excess rainfall during the monsoons, the ground water surface rises again, but in the dry season the water surface falls again as a result of the removal of excess water.
Above the Rupnarayanpur area, beneath a layer of sandstone, there is another mud-rich sandstone, which is in the form of aquatard, meaning that rainwater is absorbed by these rocks at a very slow rate and reaches the ground (aqua - water, tordous - slow motion - Latin word).
As a result, groundwater storage in the Rupnarayanpur region is very slow and the water surface in the region falls rapidly due to excess water abstraction.
✴️Why is water not available even after digging deep tube wells? On the other hand, digging a tube well right next to it, why water is found a little deeper?
Water seeps into the saturated layer of an penetrating rock on top of an impermeable rock in the ground and collects water at the bottom, this layer we call "groundwater level or aquifer".
When we look at the well, we see this aquifer.
As I said before, these Salanpur and Barabani areas are not high lands but one watershed. Water is absorbed in it.
On the other hand, the surface water or aquifer that starts underground does not respect the convexity of the surface water, just as the river flows down the slope of the land, so does the groundwater flow to the sea and its water has a hydraulic pressure. Or the water pressure creates a surface, which moves the groundwater from high to low pressure and somewhere it comes out like a fountain in the form of a spring.
As a result, when the land is high and low, or in the highlands, the groundwater level rises a little, the water level in the low valleys becomes a little lower, and eventually it is released into ponds or rivers.
Groundwater surface is not at all equal height or depth.
Secondly, water pressure plays an important role in any direction, and the direction in which groundwater flows is also important.
For these regulators, water is available at a shallow depth in a tube well and water is not available even after digging much deeper in a tube well.
In the Salanpur block area a lot of tube wells are drilled during hot weather but some of the tube wells do not get water even after digging very deep, for the above reasons.
How much water crisis will this region face in the future?
We are all unconscious!
There is no awareness among the people, the greed of the people is increasing day by day.
Only the Chittaranjan area of Salanpur block and most of the land in Gaurandi area of Barabani have saved forest resources.
However, deforestation has already started in Gaurandi area and many trees have been burnt.
Plenty of forests on the Chittaranjan highlands still survive due to administrative constraints, but the rest of the entire block area from Rupnarayanpur town is almost a forest resource and there is not much of it.
As a result, rainwater is not being absorbed on one side,
On the other hand, today the demand for water is increasing due to the pressure of this huge population, as a result of which more than 200-400 tube wells are being dug on one square km of land which is innumerable. A lot of ground water is being pumped out.
With the deforestation still going on in the area, and the loosening of the soil, the excess silt flows into the river, reducing the navigability of the river, and the excess rainfall is accelerating flooding in the Asansol lowlands.
✴️✴️ If this continues, rainwater will no longer be absorbed by 2050-60, as water will not be able to seep through the concrete body.
In the end, the land will be washed away in the form of surface flow. In any river, the water level in the Ajay and Barakar reservoirs will rise in the rainy season and the surrounding villages and ecosystems will be severely damaged and the local biodiversity will be destroyed.
On the other hand, during the dry summer, the groundwater level in the block highlands will drop so low that water will no longer be available from the permanent saturated layer;It will not be possible to draw water from every tube well or pump.In this way wailing for water can be seen all around.
There will be a huge "water crisis".
This will force the locals to be displaced from here, there will be a lot of damage to the ecosystem, there will be loss of birds and animals, and there may even be human-to-human conflict over water.
🔴 Will I be able to control the water crisis at all?
First of all we want to increase public awareness, today we want to bring nature under our control and at the same time destroy this beautiful system of nature,
But he always wants to maintain his method, and it remains to be seen what will happen if this balance is lost !!!
✍️Written by Somnath Kumar Das.
📸 Pictures creadit-1.rinewstoday.com & m.sangbadsafar.com