Groundwater is an essential elixir of life. The most important thing is that it should be free from contamination. The main scenario of our Nation should be focused on Ground Water pollution and the vital projects/ studies should be taken up to eradicate this burning problem of this Country.
With a mission to create awareness around water, JalBharat had the opportunity of talking to Dr D.S. Pandey (Retired Scientist D at Central Ground Water Board. Govt. of India) who is exceptional in ArcGIS Products, Sustainable Development, Environmental Issues, and Environmental Awareness. Also, a robust research professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused on Ground Water from B.H.U.
Q: What are the challenges that you have come across in terms of efficient water management?
A: Having 40+ years of experience in ground water exploration and management, the challenges are plenty at different levels. In my experience, I have worked for various states across the country as part of my research project that includes Punjab, Haryana, Orissa and all of Uttar Pradesh.
Q: What’s the current situation in Uttar Pradesh in-terms of water treatment and re-cycling. Are we efficient in doing it?
A: Unfortunately, No. The Uttar Pradesh state has got various problems when it comes to quality of water. There is salinity along the Yamuna belt, Fluoride, Nitrate & Iron problem and the most burning problem in the state is the amount of arsenic content in water which can have serious impact on one’s health.
In the process of finding a solution to arsenic, I have worked on a project that has identified the availability of arsenic in ground-water is only up to 100 meters and beyond that in the lower level, the water is actually arsenic free. (We have had a major breakthrough in this project by pumping out arsenic free water for the state of Uttar Pradesh.)
Q: What do you think is the major cause of arsenic content in water?
A: The main source of arsenic is coming from the Himalayas. The substance called Arsenopyrite is flowing into Ganga which has Meandering planes where the mineral is getting deposited. And with the flow, when it comes in contact with ground water, arsenic is formed.
Q: From ground water exploration to ground water exploitation, where do you think it has gone wrong?
A:Declining of water level is a major concern. The water level has gone so deep that the ground is converted into kallar Lands by which I mean are the rare deposits which will not allow the farmers to use the land for agriculture.
To my knowledge, Punjab, Haryana and UP are currently running at danger levels when it comes to the availability of ground water in northern part.
And if you ask me how to counter such situations? It is by doing artificial recharge, drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and few other techniques have to be deployed in regular practice to handle such situations.
Q: How do you create awareness among people to conserve water?
A: It is important for everyone of us to understand the importance of water. And for mass awareness, various programs related to water conservation has to be organised for public to make them realize the current situation. Because, the demand for water is only going upwards.
Q: Compared to other water boards in the country, how efficiently Uttar Pradesh water board is adopting to the latest technologies available in the market?
A: Not very much efficient I would say. Because, every water board in the country have to look at the possible ways of providing clean drinking water to its residents. When there is a solution available in the market, the govt. should be ready to look into it.
Q: There’s going to be severe water crisis looming by 2030. As an expert in the industry, what is the possible way out?
A: We are blessed to have big rivers flowing across the country that includes Ganga, Kaveri & Brahmaputra. As a scientist, I would recommend deep ground water exploration of up to 1000 meters and store water in the form of wells which can be used during emergency period.
Q: What are your recent achievements in the area of ground water development?
A: It’s been a while that I have retired from work. But, as you have asked about my recent achievements, I have researched on Arsenic mitigation and have published papers on it. Close to 1500-2000 wells have been dig under my supervision at hard rock hilly regions which have turned out to be successful projects under my supervision.
Q: Can you please tell us something about your book?
A: My book named “Ancient Methods to search ground water” talks about searching ground water using ancient methods with scientific interpretation. The book is published in three different languages, available in Sanskrit, Hindi and English.
I have written this to make sure even a layman who is interested in this study can understand how to explore ground water.
Q: Are we looking at upgrading our infrastructure in the coming years to solve water leakages?
A: It is believed that our country has the ages old infrastructure and it needs to be upgraded on a priority basis. All the respective water boards should be working really hard to match the demand for water and the call has to be taken by the govt. before its too late.
Q: Is there any appeal you want to make to the citizens of the nation?
A: My appeal would always be for utilizing water in the right manner. Water is a precious resource and we should be doing whatever it takes to conserve water for emergency situations. And this generation should stand as an example for future generations by bringing the best practices for water conservation.
Team JalBharat was mighty impressed about the insights Dr. D.S Pandey has given us on ground water exploration to protecting water for future generations. Also, we were very much moved to hear from him that he is willing to do whatsoever is required to get the situation better.
In short, the country has got scientists like Dr. Pandey and many others. All it takes for us is to be accountable and take right actions at the right time.