Geo-spatial analysis of land-water resource degradation in two economically contrasting agricultural regions adjoining national capital territory (Delhi)

Kaur, R. and Minhas, P.S. and Jain, P.C. and Singh, P. and Dubey, D.S. (2009) Geo-spatial analysis of land-water resource degradation in two economically contrasting agricultural regions adjoining national capital territory (Delhi). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment , 154 (1-4). pp. 65-83.

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The present study was aimed at characterizing the soil-water resource degradation in the rural areas of Gurgaon and Mewat districts, the two economically contrasting areas in policy zones-II and III of the National Capital Region (NCR), and assessing the impact of the study area's local conditions on the type and extent of resource degradation. This involved generation of detailed spatial information on the land use, cropping pattern, farming practices, soils and surface/ground waters of Gurgaon and Mewat districts through actual resource surveys, standard laboratory methods and GIS/remote sensing techniques. The study showed that in contrast to just 2.54% (in rabi season) to 4.87% (in kharif season) of agricultural lands in Gurgaon district, about 11.77% (in rabi season) to 24.23% (in kharif season) of agricultural lands in Mewat district were irrigated with saline to marginally saline canal water. Further, about 10.69% of agricultural lands in the Gurgaon district and 42.15% of agricultural lands in the Mewat district were drain water irrigated. A large part of this surface water irrigated area, particularly in Nuh (48.7%), Nagina (33.5%), and Punhana (24.1%) blocks of Mewat district, was either waterlogged (7.4% area with ≤2 m ground water depth) or at risk of being waterlogged (17.1% area with 2-3 m ground water depth). Local resource inventory showed prevalence of several illegal private channels in Mewat district. These private channels divert degraded canal waters into the nearby intersecting drains and thereby increase extent of surface irrigated agricultural lands in the Mewat district. Geo-spatial analysis showed that due to seepage of these degraded waters from unlined drains and canals, ground waters of about 39.6% of Mewat district were salt affected (ECmean=7.05 dS/m and SARmean=7.71). Besides, sub-surface drinking waters of almost the entire Mewat district were contaminated with undesirable concentrations of chromium (Cr 2.0-3.23 ppm), manganese (Mn: 0.80-1.55 ppm), nickel (Ni: 0.02-0.10 ppm) and lead (Pb: 0.40-0.83 ppm). Ground waters (42.5%) of Farukh Nagar irrigated with Najafgarh drain water and adjoining (industrialized) Gurgaon and Pataudi blocks were also salt affected and laden with undesirable Cr concentrations (>0.05 ppm). In fact, sub-surface drinking waters of some areas around battery and automobile manufacturing units in Gurgaon and Pataudi blocks were associated with exceptionally high (>0.1 ppm) Ni concentrations. In general, the ground waters of waterlogged or potentially waterlogged areas in the rural areas of Mewat were more contaminated than the ground waters in the rural areas of Gurgaon district with deeper (>5 m) water depths. Though Cr concentrations in the surface and sub-surface irrigation waters of both Gurgaon and Mewat districts were far above the maximum permissible limit of 1 ppm, their bio-available soil-Cr concentrations were well within permissible limit. Even bio-available Ni concentrations in agricultural lands of Gurgaon district associated with Ni contaminated sub-surface irrigations were well within desirable limit of 0.20 ppm. This was primarily attributed to the calcareous nature of the soils of the study area. About 35% of Gurgaon district and 59% of Mewat district irrigated with poor quality waters were salt-affected. These waterlogged/potentially waterlogged calcareous-salt affected soils of Mewat district were having acute zinc (Zn) deficiency (<0.6 ppm). Some areas with extremely high iron (Fe: 20-25 ppm) and Mn (10-25 ppm) concentrations were also noticed in the Gurgaon, Nuh and Punhana blocks. Generation of reduced conditions owing to paddy cultivation in areas with 3-3.5 m water depths appeared to be the main cause of such point contaminations. Extensive cadmium (Cd) contamination was also noticed in the waterlogged sodic agricultural lands of Nagina village in Mewat district associated with a large scale scrap automobile and battery business

Item Type: Article
Author Affiliation: Division of Environmental Sciences, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, 12, India
Subjects: Agricultural Engineering
Environmental Science
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Syamala
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2011 08:11
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2011 08:11
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