The agriculture sector continues to be the mainstay of Punjab’s economy and makes a substantial contribution to the province’s economic growth and prosperity. The sector, comprising of crops, livestock and dairy, is responsible for 19.82 percent of the country’s overall GDP and is the largest employer in the country, absorbing 42.3 percent of the total population. It also affords a large share in total export earnings from manufactured products, such as textiles that constitute 60 percent of the country’s total exports. Due to the agrarian topography of the province and its large growth in the agriculture sector is a necessary precursor both for the economic growth in the province and for rural development. Punjab’s agriculture sector assumes national strategic importance as well since the surplus generated in the region is vital for national food security. The government has envisioned enhancing growth in agriculture sector by facilitating agriculture productivity, increasing competitiveness in agriculture marketing and trade by providing a conducive climate for private investment, improving supply chain and value addition. The vision of Punjab Government is to achieve self-reliance in agricultural commodities, ensure food security through improved productivity of crops. Some of the broad sectoral objectives are as under;
The overall goal of the project is to bring the area under cultivation north-west or barani areas of province Punjab by exploiting and managing groundwater resources on sustainable basis with following objectives;
The proposed project is in-line with the Government objectives to enhance agriculture productivity for attaining food security and alleviate poverty. The main focus of the project is to help the farmers regarding groundwater exploitation through power drilling rigs, which is the only source of drilling in hard formations.
Project Area Map
Agriculture is central to economic growth and development in Punjab as its contribution to national agricultural economy is overwhelming. The sector (including livestock) contributes a quarter of Punjab’s GDP, export products and employs a large portion of its labor force. The agriculture surplus generated in Punjab is also critical for food security of the national population. It may be noted that population density is increasing, land-to-man ratio is deteriorating and food requirement is growing. The potential of agricultural production and to bring more area under cultivation both depends on availability of water. Due to recent climate changes around the globe the water scarcity is increasing. Surface water is insufficient to meet the emerging demand of water risen due to bringing more area under cultivation. Groundwater exploitation like in the plain areas of the province becomes inevitable in hilly areas of Punjab.
The total geographical area of the Punjab province is 51 million acres, out of which 18.6 million acres roughly constitute the Barani Tract. This whole area is entirely at the mercy of water resources obtained through rainfall. It is pertinent to mention over here that the texture and structure of soil composition is very favorable for agricultural production. Due to paucity of water resources most of the cultureable land remains uncultivated. The most of the fertile land can be brought under plough by exploiting groundwater resources with the power drilling rigs.
The vast area generally owns good fertile soil, a favorable climate and sufficient groundwater contained in different pockets/layers with in the hard formations. However, the cropping intensity has increased, living standards of the farming community have also enhanced and they mostly intend to grow high value crops while on the other hand, the cost of input has also increased. Rainwater in the area is not available according to the requirement of the crops of farming community. The agricultural lands receive water from three major sources i.e. surface/canal water, groundwater for artificial irrigation and rainfall. In Barani areas the surface/canal water is not available for agricultural practices due to limited surface water resources and lack of proper canal irrigation systems in the areas and promotion of irrigated-agriculture is unpredictable on rain due to unscheduled, less or excess water availability to the crops at different growth sages, it effects negatively the crop productivity in Barani areas.
The exploitation of groundwater resources is the only option that farmers have to adopt for increasing their water supplies to overcome the water scarcity in Barani areas. Water is one of the most important inputs essential for the production of crops. Plants need it continuously during their life and in huge quantities. It profoundly influences photosynthesis, respiration, absorption, translocation and utilization of mineral nutrients and cell division besides some other processes. Both its shortage and excess affects the growth and development of a plant directly and consequently its yield and quality. Water effects the performance of crops not only directly but also indirectly by influencing the availability of other nutrients, the timing of cultural operations, etc. Water and other production inputs interact with one another; in proper combinations the crop yields can be boosted under irrigated agriculture. Tubewells can be installed in areas having good potential of ground water and where quality of water is within recommended limits for irrigation purposes. In Barani areas of Punjab water pockets are available containing adequate volume of water ranging from 300-600 feet depth which can only be drilled through rotary drilling rigs. In certain places where water availability is not sure or is negligible, this option is again feasible by the application of test bore technique. Samples and profiles of the ground formations can be obtained from test holes, thus giving information as to the nature of the aquifer; depth of the water table and quality of the ground water. Furthermore, many test holes can also be pumped in order to obtain an indication of the possible yield of the aquifer.
The Field Wing of Agriculture Department is carrying out activity of drilling of tubewell bores for the last more than four decades. For well drilling operation, the Department have 60 Nos of Hand Boring Plants, 19 Nos of Power Drilling Rigs and 28 Nos of Electric Resistivity Meters.
This machinery is provided to the farmers at subsidized rates. The hand boring plants are located in all districts of Punjab while rigs are mainly available for deep drilling operation in rocky areas. The Department also conducts surveys with electrical resistivity meters prior to drilling of bores on request of the farmers. Currently, 19 Nos. direct rotary rig machines are being engaged in drilling bore holes in the hilly areas throughout the province Punjab.
In order to promote the agriculture along the Western CPEC route it has been proposed to procure 02 more direct rotary rig machines for carrying out efficient drilling work in the rocky districts of Punjab province along the Western CPEC Route such as Attock, Chakwal and Mianwali. This will help to improve the economic condition of the farmers as well as will increase farm productivity by increasing crop yield per unit area and more area under production.
Groundwater, water that occurs below the surface of Earth, where it occupies all or part of the void spaces in soils or geologic strata. It is also called subsurface water to distinguish it from surface water, which is found in large bodies like the oceans, river or which flows overland in stream. Groundwater occurs under the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations also called Lithological formation. A geologic formation from which significant amounts of ground water can be pumped for domestic, municipal or agricultural uses is known as an aquifer. Ground water moves from higher elevations to lower elevations and from locations of higher pressure to locations of lower pressure. It gets completely saturated with voids of rock at the depth of soil pores spaces or fractures and forms water table. The water can be pumped through drilling in the soil strata and mechanical pumping through pumps. The amount of water that can be pumped from a given well per unit of time is called as Well yield. Well yield is normally different at different geological formations, that can be estimated by pre tube well installation by test bore or Electrical Resistivity Meter (ERM) survey. Groundwater plays a vital role in the development of arid and semiarid zones, sometimes supporting vast agricultural and industrial enterprises that could not otherwise exist.
Working Principle of Direct Rotary Rig Machines
Generally used for the construction of small and medium diameter wells, this technique allows drilling without the use of temporary casing pipes. The direct circulation method occurs through the pumping of the circulating fluid (mud) inside the rods. The fluid (mud and water) is passed through the drilling rods from the top. The fluid passes through the hollow space of the drilling rods and ultimately reaches to the bit attached at bottom of the drilling rods. The pressure and flow of the drilling fluid at and immediately behind the drilling bit effectively flushes the drilled material away from the bit. It is then returned back in the annulus between the rods and the hole, with the material drilled by the bit. Further back from this the hydrostatic head of the drilling fluid ensures the stability of the hole and its viscosity must be such as to allow the transport to the surface of the drilled material; the fluid is usually made viscose keeping in view the specific gravity of the rock to be drilled. The cutting material then floats due to viscosity of the fluid used and passes through the annular space and reaches at surface. To allow effective removal of material without exceeding in viscosity, the ascent speed of the fluid should not be less than 0.2 m/sec. The cuttings are then settled down in an open channel due to atmospheric pressure and again it is collected into a mud liquefaction pit from where it is again sucked through mud pump and the process repeats.
It has been proposed to procure 02 direct rotary rig machines along with the ancillary equipment’s, service van and spares & accessories. The 02 direct rotary rig machines alongwith accessories shall be used in the field for drilling of deep bores in hard formations. The proposed each direct rotary power drilling rig machine will conduct 400 feet per month i.e. one bore (on an average) and the service van will be used for mobile repair, field inspection of rigs and advisory services to the farmers for water source development, efficient groundwater extraction and resource management. Prior to their use, training of staff shall be conducted in collaboration with supplier of the machinery at his cost. These Rigs will be deployed in the project area. Regular procedure as already under implementation will be adapted for provision of rig machines to the farmers for boring to install Tubewells.