3.4. Consequences of Role as Service Provider
An affirmative outcome of role as Service Provider can be attributed to the faith and esteem that organisation achieved in the State. The popularity of organisation stimulated farmers to receive its technical advice on feasible sites for DWs. Moreover, GSDA’s recommendation provided financial support for digging wells that increased irrigated area on GW almost to four fold in shortest time. Striking advent of drilling BWs catered the safe drinking water needs of rural people independently.
Though GSDA’s policy was to recommend BWs for drinking water needs, there was no legal provision for restriction on BWs for irrigation purpose. The affordable investment and day’s time required in drilling irrigation BW encouraged many farmers to drill deep BWs for irrigation purpose. Extensive number of BWs increased area under irrigation in the State, however, it resulted into rapid depletion of GW levels. The mushroom growth of irrigation DWs in this period generated similar scenario.
In the GW assessment of total 1505 watersheds 7of State, 34 watersheds appeared as overexploited and 59 as critical (GW Assessment, 1999). Overexploited and critical status of watersheds indicated excess withdrawal of GW than its natural recharge. There was no proper GW policy to regulate indiscriminate extraction and GSDA was devoid of any powers or mechanism to control this excess withdrawal activity.
Likewise, though sincere efforts were made by the organisation in mitigating drinking water needs of people, 2340 habitations were not supplied with adequate safe water and 18967 habitations were partially supplied. There was concentration in technical assistance to farmers and adopting innovative ways only in its technical operation.
GSDA became popular as ‘Drilling Agency’ instead of performing its role as technical advisor in GW management.
Deshpande Committee (1988: 6-8) emphasised that the function of GSDA terminates with bringing GW to surface, however, it is being called upon to intensify their activities and it is necessary to keep an eye on the uniform development of whole region. Merely finding water in the sub-surface is not enough, it is also necessary to bring other issues like equitable utilisation of this water for various purposes in the purview of GSDA. These circumstances compelled organisation to adopt regulatory approach in its mandate.
7 Watershed is the unit recommended by Groundwater Estimation Committee, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India to assess the groundwater. Overexploited watersheds reveal above 100% GW development whereas critical watersheds reveal 90 to 100% GW development.
GSDA Phase II -Regulatory Mode
(1993 to 2000)
Increasing conflict among the competing uses of water for various purposes such as irrigation, urban water supplies and industries etc. and poor operation and maintenance of created facilities in water sector has resulted in...