GUWAHATI, March 4 � Speakers at a regional workshop on integrated water resources management, jointly organised by the Central Ground Water Authority and the Central Ground Water Board here today, laid stress on well coordinated efforts on the part of the agencies concerned in judicious utilization of the available water resources of the NE region.
Because of lack of co-ordination and concerted efforts, the Brahmaputra Valley of the region has been able so far to use only 24 million cubic metres of its available 600 million cubic metres of surface water, they pointed out. They also laid stress on formation of a North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) like authority for judicious use of available water resources of the region.
These factors are also responsible in excessive extraction of groundwater and thus depletion of the groundwater table in several parts of the region, they maintained.
Addressing the inaugural function of the workshop, B C Patowary, Scientist-F and Head of the Guwahati Office of the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), said that what is needed now is a change in the water use behaviour and the attitude towards sanitation and hygiene.
He laid stress on community partnership, setting national and global targets and preparing plans accordingly for the adequate and justified use of water resources. Proper rainwater harvesting measures can help Guwahati harness water double its requirement, claimed the NIH scientist, pointing out to the fact the future of humanity depends on the judicious use of water.
In his address, former secretary of the State's Water Resources Department A K Mitra said that since there is no concerted efforts in controlling the river, the Brahmaputra has by now eroded away 7.4 per cent of the land in Assam's plain areas. The river is widening and it has developed around 600 sand bars of various sizes in its bed.
Between 1912-28, the river was occupying an area of 3,870 square km, in 1963-75, it was found to be occupying an area of 4,850 square km and in 2006, a NESAC survey found that the river was occupying an area of 6,080 square km. The river is getting its area expanded by way of eroding the plains land. It has thus got its size swelled by over 50 per cent and the annual average loss of land recorded by the State due to this phenomenon is 8,000 hectares, Mitra said.
Inaugurating the workshop, former secretary of the Public Health Engineering Department A K Bora said that excessive withdrawal of groundwater has led to depletion of the groundwater table in several parts of the region like in Guwahati.
Delivering the keynote address in the function, Regional Director of the Central Groundwater Board, G C Saha laid stress on the specific concentration of the geo-hydrologists on judicious use of water resources of the region.
Hydrologists and scientists from various organizations, including the academic institutions, took part in the two technical sessions of the workshop and made presentations on various aspects of water resources management.