Effect Of Sand Mining On Groundwater Depletion In Karnataka
Groundwater is a crucial source of irrigation for the farmers in Gauribidanur taluk to eke out the living since there is no other perennial source of irrigation. Currently the irrigation wells in the riparian areas of uttara Pinakini River are seriously threatened due to excessive sand extraction, which in turn affects the groundwater recharge. This has manifested in increase in proportion of well failure. It is imperative that sand mining is seriously (negative externality) affecting the interests of the economy of riparian farmers in this river basin. This calls for a serious, effective and efficient implementation of regulation of sand mining for the benefit of both agriculture and civil works. Currently sand extraction is permitted up to three feet by remitting a royalty of Rs.45 per truckload of sand to the Department of Mines and Geology. On the other hand, however, sand miners are excavating even up to 40 feet in Uttara pinakini stream. Thus, department of mines and geology has to seriously monitor the sand mining activity for the overall benefit of society. The estimated negative externality per irrigation well in the Gauribidanur SMA was Rs. 4186 per year. There are about 8000 irrigation wells located in the riparian areas of the Gauribidanur river stream, where sand mining is actively being undertaken. Thus, the total estimated negative externality is Rs.3,34,88,000. The total estimated sand accumulated in uttara pinakini river stream is 1,74,00,000 cubic meter in fifteen years, of which 61 percent was extracted, constituting 1,06,14,000 cubic meter or 37,14,90,000 cft in fifteen years(6). Therefore annual sand extracted is 2,47,66,000 cft imposing externality of Rs 1.35 per cft or Rs .540 per load. In order to conserve the sand resources, along the riparian areas, this environmental cost Rs 540 per load should be imposed to internalise the pressure on this natural resource in the market price of sand. Imposition of the pigouvian tax of Rs. 540 per truck load of sand transported will create a corpus fund with the Government’s Department of Mines and Geology with which (i) the farmers possessing irrigation wells which have failed due to sand mining would be compensated on the basis of loss in net returns which would result from mining a truck load of sand.
|Date of creation:||18 Feb 2005|
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