Water resources in Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts – A status report by Development Alternatives

The report is an effort to conduct rapid assessment of status of water and wastewater management and the potential to introduce integrated approach with an aim to provide “water for all, always’

Some of the main findings of the status report on water resources in Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts by Development Alternatives are –

  • Although both Tikamgarh & Jhansi are contiguous districts, Jhansi is much better-off in terms of social and development indicators and infrastructural facilities.  
  • Both the districts have experienced a rapid and mass scale degradation of natural resources, resulting in a very high proportion of wastelands and acute scarcity of water.
  • On an average, the districts have a decent amount of rainfall (1000 mm and 850 mm for Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts respectively). However intermittent but successive years of droughts have resulted in water scarcity in the last 2-3 decades.
  • In Tikamgarh district, the water demand (1773 mcm) is for domestic purposes, (122 mcm/ years) livestock (11.2 mcm/year) & agriculture (1740 mcm/year) purpose. Wells being the main source of water for irrigation (78% of total irrigated area), almost 86% of net groundwater availability (630 mcm/year) has been utilized, placing the district under the semi-critical category.  
  • In Jhansi district, out of the total demands for humans & livestock, 2% (35 mcm/year) is for domestic purposes, 97% is for irrigation (1507 mcm/year) and 1% is for livestock & industrial purposes. Recent years have witnessed a dramatic spurt of activity in the Jhansi district leading to a massive increase in water demand for construction purposes also.  
  • Unlike Tikamgarh district, only 48% of irrigation in Jhansi district is groundwater dependent (wells & tubewells) while almost 45% of land is irrigated by canals. This has meant that only 37.29% of the ground water potential of the district has been exploited.  
  • In both the districts, several water harvesting structures have been constructed in the past to ease the water situation. These water harvesting structures include the Bundela tanks, step wells, village ponds, haweli  bundhies etc. Many of these structures, however, are currently in a state of neglect and are no longer able to harvest water for use during dry periods.  
  • In both the districts, there are several challenges in both water availability and accessibility. These relate to -
  • Wide variations in seasonal availability of water, as a result of perennial water sources becoming seasonal due to high levels of run-off, reduced ground water recharging, over exploitation of groundwater and neglect of traditional water harvesting structures. Added to these is the wasteful use, even when the water is available. Water use in agriculture is highly inefficient with water intensive crops being grown using the wasteful flood irrigation method. Similarly, in both urban and rural areas, there is no practice of reuse of water used for domestic purposes.   

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