ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sustainable Development of Groundwater Resource-Lessons from Junagadh District

Sustainable Development of Groundwater Resource Lessons from Junagadh District Tushaar Shah Introduction AMRAPUR and Husseinabad, two villages in Junagadh district represent the conditions that obtain in much of the coastal belt of Saurashtra which, until a decade ago, was so green and agriculturally prosperous as to be popularly called Mill itagher' (green creeper). Intensive groundwater irrigation with the onset of the modern pumping technologies in the mid-1950s was all along central to this rural prosperity. Under an encouraging government policy which made subsidies and credit freely available for intensive private groundwater development, the installation of wells with diesel engines or electric pumps increased at a rapid pace especially since 1960; in many areas, water loving crops such as sugarcane, banana, fruit orchards, etc, began to replace traditional crops. Three crops a year became quite common with the help of motorised wells. The amount of water lifted from the coastal aquifers between any two monsoons increased over 10-15 times. As a result, by the late 1960s, the fragile coastal groundwater balance began to develop cracks; in some of the uplying areas, such as Amrapur, separated from the sea by a natural ridge, wells began to dry up in late rabi and summer seasons as happens in the hard rock areas of the south-Indian peninsula; more seriously, in low lying areas closer to the sea, large and increasing areas experienced intrusion of sea water into their wells.

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