Water that is found underground in cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rocks is considered as groundwater. This is store in aquifer and moves via geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks. These aquifer is in permanent motion from areas of natural and artificial recharge to natural and artificial drainage outlets.
It is obvious that human beings are dependent on groundwater. As it supplies drinking water to large number of population. Moreover it is the main source of recharge for lakes, rivers and wetlands.
The 70 percent of the precipitation on land is lost. Only remaining 25 percent penetrates downward to the aquifers. This moves as groundwater from recharge areas to natural discharge outlets on the surface of the ground as springs, streams, lakes and oceans.
It’s very sad situation that underground water reserves are under threat in Pakistan. Groundwater situation in Pakistan is getting from bad to worst. The dependence of household, industry and agriculture is increasing day by day. This is causing underground water economy under critical stress.
Associated with massive pumping of groundwater aquifers through legal or illegal, unrestricted expansion of tube-wells. The groundwater exploitation creating severe negative impacts on environment and economy. It also causing serious threats to the sustainability of agriculture in the country.
In 2008, freshwater withdrawals for Pakistan was 183.5 billion cubic meters, growing at an average annual rate of 6.22 percent. Out of this 93.95 percent of total withdrawal is consumed for agriculture purpose.
The enormous increase in groundwater withdrawal during last half-century carried out by thousands of farmers is due to alternate for consistent irrigation water supply. Two decades back in Pakistan, the number of tube wells installed were 659,278 and in 2012-13 their number had risen up to 1,175,073.
The groundwater in Indus Basin aquifer is expiring on a very fast pace. Pakistan is already categories as water-stressed country by World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. And likely to face acute short fall over the next five years.
It is pertinent to mention that Indus Basin is among 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers which is losing it’s sustainability tipping points. Means more water is consuming than recharge.
As per Punjab irrigation department, water table in Punjab is declining by three feet per year. The groundwater table will come under severe pressure with this continues trend.
Solution to groundwater recharge
To overcome this situation, war like actions are taking place globally. Storage dams are good planning for time of access water.
Underground water recharge can increase through injection wells after every rainfall. These wells help to place surface water into underground storage to avoid evaporation losses. As well as, these wells can be useful to control saline water upcoming in the coastal aquifers.
Keeping in view its utmost need, and its sustainable use it is necessary to develop groundwater regulatory framework to control and optimize its regulation.
Moreover, water is not something which has any alternate, we can’t ignore it’s sensitivity, not only to stress but to resolve as well, as soon as possible. If we keep ignoring this sensitive issue, the predictions of dry Pakistan in 2025 will come earlier.
There is need of time to promote underground water recharge along with proper set of rules and regulations for the use and access of groundwater which is under no legal discipline.