Groundwater Level in Punjab

In the past years, there have been a lot of noise about the lowering of water table in Punjab and articles about Punjab turning into a desert are common in daily newspapers.
In this article, I will share the details of groundwater level in Punjab during the year 2017 and a comparison with the decade old data. There is no doubt that the level of ground water in Punjab is decreasing very quickly and it is considered critical in many blocks. But in my view, Punjab will never become a desert due to lowering of water table in the state. The rainfall in the state and water available through rivers/canals may not be enough for growing of paddy crop, but it is more than enough to stop the state of Punjab from turning into a desert. You, the one reading this article today, will not see the state becoming a desert atleast during your lifetime.
The major reason of depletion of water level is the cultivation of paddy crop which requires huge amount of water and is grown in peak summer season when the temperature in Punjab is very high and hence the rate of evaporation of water is also high. On this page, we will share the minimum water level (maximum depth) in each district recorded during pre-monsoon season in 2017. The pre-monsoon readings are recorded in the month of June and the post-monsoon water level is measured in the month of October. The details given on this page are according to the data released by Agriculture department of Punjab govt.

Water Level in Punjab

The district wise details of pre-monsoon minimum water level (or say maximum depth of water level) in 2017 is given in the following table.
Water Level in Punjab
The decade old data for the year 2007 is also given, which will enable you to clearly see the problem of lowering of water table in Punjab. According to this data, the water level is very low in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Barnala and Sangrur districts. The level of water is high in Muktsar and Firozpur districts and many parts of these districts face the problem of water logging. But the water in many parts of these districts in not suitable for human consumption or irrigation due to high level of salinity.
District of PunjabWater Level (feet)
Y 2007Y 2017
Tarn Taran5372
Nawan Shahr4648
Fatehgarh Sahib102128

One may expect that the water level will increase after the monsoon season, but when you analyze the above details you will find that the post-monsoon water level increases in some of the districts and at the same time it decreases in some other districts. This behaviour can be attributed to the fact that maximum consumption of groundwater is also during the same period from June to September due to sowing of paddy crop.