Dhalkebar, Feb. 12: Wells, springs and other water sources in the northern region of Dhanusha have started drying up before the onset of summer. If it does not rain in winter, locals are likely to face acute water shortages in the coming days.
Rivers, water canals, wells and hand pumps have started drying up in the areas including Bateshwor, Mithila, Dhanusadham and Ganeshnatha Charnath Rural Municipalities. The drying up of water sources is sure to escalate water scarcity as well as poor agricultural yields in these areas.
Manoj Kumar Mahato, a farmer from Ward No. 3 of Mithila Municipality in Dhanusa, said, “Water sources started drying up as early as February. I used to irrigate my farm by pumping the water from the well, but this year I feel that I won’t be able to irrigate my farm, and how will I manage the expenses if I won’t be able to grow and sell vegetables?”
He is worried that after the wells, which he used for irrigation, dried up, he would not be able to grow vegetables this time.
Lack of irrigation has left fields where farmers used to grow seasonal vegetables barren, Mahato said.
Ram Ashish Mahato, chairman of Bateshwar Rural Municipality, said that after wells on the premises of Devaki Secondary School dried up, students and teachers have to carry drinking water from their homes.
He informed that with the drying up of wells by mid-January, water availability has fallen by 30 per cent in the local water sources. It is predicted that by April and May, up to 90 per cent of the water sources will dry up.
He attributed the depletion of water sources in the Ratu, Badhari, Auhai and Jalad Kamala rivers in recent years to uncontrolled excavation of riverine products, destruction of Chure hills and rampant deforestation.
Suresh Sharma, an environmental engineer and forest official from the Madhes Province Forest Department, stated that due to the absence of rain this year, water sources in the Tarai region have been gradually drying up
The land’s reduced capacity to retain water, resulting from urbanisation, forest clearance, and alterations in river courses, has further contributed to the depletion of groundwater reserves.
“We have neglected the utilisation and conservation of our natural resources. If we fail to protect the uncontrolled excavation of rivers and deforestation, the crisis will continue to escalate day by day,” he added.
Dr. Vijay Kumar Singh Danuwar an expert on the Chure region blamed the declining underground water levels for the problems as he noticed reduced water levels in numerous locations.
He said that the deep ditches left in the rivers by the contractors of riverbed materials and construction of embankments to prevent flooding, and destruction of water sources in the Chure resulted in the drying up of wells and hand pumps.
Dr. Danuwar further said that this problem of water has arisen because the level of groundwater has dwindled. Stating that the Chure area is a natural water reservoir, he informed that if the rainwater can be retained in the Chure area by building an embankment on the river flowing through the Chure, the underground water level can increase.