The state of Punjab comprising 1.5% area of the country has been contributing 40–50% rice and 60–65% wheat to the central pool since last three decades. During last 35 years The area under foodgrains has increased from 39,200 sq km ha to 63,400 sq km and the production of rice and wheat has increased from 0.18 to 0.32 kg/m2 and 0.22 to 0.43 kg/m2 respectively. This change in cropping pattern has increased irrigation water requirement tremendously and the irrigated area has increased from 71 to 95% in the state. Also the number of tube wells has increased from 0.192 to 1.165 million in the last 35 years. The excessive indiscriminate exploitation of ground water has created a declining water table situation in the state. The problem is most critical in central Punjab. The average rate of decline over the last few years has been 55 cm per year. The worst affected districts are Moga, Sangrur, Nawanshahar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar. This has resulted in extra power consumption, affects the socio-economic conditions of the small farmers, destroy the ecological balance and adversely affect the sustainable agricultural production and economy of the state. Therefore, in this paper attempt has been made to analyse the problem of declining water table, possible factors responsible for this and suggest suitable strategies for arresting declining water table for sustainable agriculture in Punjab. The strategies include shift of cropping pattern, delay in paddy transplantation, precision irrigation and rainwater harvesting for artificial groundwater recharge.

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