SHILLONG, July 16 - Water from springs in Meghalaya is of ‘excellent quality for drinking purposes and conform to BIS standards’ and therefore opens up a unique opportunity for economic growth in the rural sector.
A study titled ‘Aquifer System of Meghalaya’ conducted by the Central Ground Water Board available with The Assam Tribune, stated, “The spring water is of excellent quality and is suitable for drinking purposes as per BIS standard.”
So far, 60,000 springs have been mapped in the State. These springs are found mainly restricted to foothills and intermontane valleys of the State. The study pointed out that the people in rural areas are totally dependent on these springs.
Water from these natural springs are not just clean and hygienic, but are also loaded with healthy minerals.
However, the study cautioned that these springs must be properly managed. A different study of the Meghalaya Climate Change Centre has found that out of the total 60,000 springs mapped so far, 50 per cent have been impacted due to various reasons. Some have dried up totally.
However, efforts are on to rejuvenate these springs through the help of the communities and the State Climate Change Centre. “There is an urgent need for scientific approach for proper development and management of this precious resource. These springs play a major role of water requirement for the people in rural areas,” the study stated.
Underlining the importance of ground water management, Chairman SC Dhiman of Central Ground Water Board, said that rapid urbanisation coupled with industrialisation has increased demand on ground water at an alarming rate.
“Dependence on ground water is increasing rapidly in order to supplement the domestic, agriculture and industrial needs. The management of ground water is to be focused on aquifers which act as the repository of ground water,” Dhiman stated.
He said that to meet these challenges it has become imperative to formulate aquifer ground water management to establish the priorities for ground water use with community involvement at various levels of implementation.
“Aquifer System of Meghalaya will provide a framework to prioritise the aquifer level management strategies and build inventories of the aquifer for better understanding of the ground water resources,” the CGWB chairman said.
According to the study, ground water is found to occur under confined to unconfined aquifer conditions within 300 metre in Meghalaya.
Ground water is generally extracted through springs, dugwells, seepage and borewells. Apart from this, tubewells are in use in West Garo Hills district.
The annual gross dynamic ground water recharge of Meghalaya has been estimated as 1.234 billion cubic metre (BCM). Annual allocation for domestic and industrial water requirement up to year 2025 is estimated to be 0.096 BCM as per census 2001.
Therefore, 1.014 BCM of ground water potential may be utilised for irrigation and other purposes. The level of ground water development in the State is just 0.15 per cent, the study found and identified over 6,000 areas in the State where the ground water resources could be developed and managed.