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UP to revive aquifers to maintain flow & dilute river contamination

Meerut: Uttar Pradesh authorities are drawing a road-map to revive aquifers to maintain flow and dilute contamination in 15 groundwater-based rivers that originate in the state. The flow area of these rivers ranges from 18 km to 598 km.
However, due to depleting water tables, they have often been reduced to drains by industries and cities that want to get rid of toxic effluents.
These rivers do not include the Yamuna and the Ganga, as they enter the state from Uttarakhand.
Toxic water from these water bodies has been linked to causing diseases such as cancer and bone deformities in residents of nearby villages. For instance, hundreds of villages on the banks of the Krishni river, which originates in Saharanpur, have complained about the issues. Some residents said the groundwater was "unusable" due to its toxicity.
Most of the aquifers have, been encroached upon for farming. The water table has gone so low in some rivers that they do not have enough water. UP jal shakti minister Swatantra Dev Singh told, " A roadmap is being developed to revive the source of these rivers so that there is a constant flow of clean water. If we have adequate flow, dilution of pollutants is possible." Singh was in Meerut to attend the 'Water Dialogue Challenges and Solutions', an event organised by NGO Neer Foundation, which is credited with reviving the Kali river aquifer in Muzaffarnagar. Raman Tyagi, director of Neer Foundation, told, "Depleting groundwater is the primary reason for drying of rivers. There is a general perception that rivers always originate in the hills but that is not always true. The Neem river, which is 198-km-long, originates from a low-lying area in Hapur. Similarly, Kali begins in Muzaffarnagar. Many of the aquifers of these river are encroached upon for farming. This was the case with Kali. It took us months to convince people to release the area." He added, "However, that's not enough. Water recharging is necessary, for which a natural process in required. We have recommended the establishment of a lake that can be fed by rain or diversion of natural streams from highter areas.

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