Millennium Post

State govt to outline specific roles of various depts for water resource management

Kolkata: The state Water Resources Investigation & Development (WRI&D) department is bringing in more focus realigning the various schemes in connection with the "Jal Dharo Jal Bharo" project. The move comes in the wake of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing her concern over depletion of the groundwater level and stressing on water conservation. The government is now contemplating a clear-cut delineation of roles of the various departments involved in water resource management.

The department of WRI&D will be the nodal department but departments like Irrigation, Agriculture and Public Health and Engineering will have specified functions in water conservation.

The WRI& D department has taken up schemes linked to water conservation in a total area of 1,45000 acres land with an emphasis on the red laterite zone that comprises districts including Bankura, Jhargram, Purulia, West Midnapore, West Burdwan and parts of Birbhum. The water level is extremely low in these zones and water extraction is very difficult.

According to sources, as many as 13,945 schemes have been taken up for the last eight years since 2011 in the red laterite zones. 900 water harvesting tanks have been set up and 287 check dams have been built for water storage. 141 of these schemes are solar-powered. There are 12,600 other types of schemes that involve river lift irrigation, tubewells etc.

A total of 3,600 schemes are being run under the World Bank aid which is popularly known as West Bengal Accelerated Development of Minor Irrigation.

The "Jal Dharo Jal Bharo" project received a boost with the Chief Minister's "Jaltirtha" project, a signature enterprise for the red laterite zone that was initiated in 2015. Water detention structures like ponds, tanks, rivulets have been created to hold water and steps have been taken so that it does not evaporate.

"Till date, we have been doing comparatively simpler schemes in palpably visible areas. Now, we have started doing a detailed survey using a differential GPS system to identify locations with cent percent accuracy where we can create an infrastructure of water detention," a senior official of the WRI&D department said.

The department has created 995 structures like watersheds, check dams under "Jaltirtha" of which 176 have come up in Bankura, 57 in Birbhum, 75 in Jhargram, 427 in Purulia and 224 in West Midnapore. The project is also underway in the saline zones, particularly in pockets of the Sunderbans that involve both South and North 24-Parganas," a senior official of the department added.

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