MINE VOID AS FRESHWATER RESERVOIR – AN ECO-FRIENDLY CONCEPT OF COAL INDIA LIMITED
The water resource is key to survival of the mankind and this resource is now becoming critical in many parts of globe including India. As per an assessment of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) of India, a huge shortfall of about 58 billion m3 of water is anticipated by the year 2050. In order to counter this shortfall, there is thrust from Government of India to adopt water conservation measures. National Environment Policy, 2006 of Government of India also stresses upon the need to take up water conservation measures for water security of the country. The coal mines in India provide an excellent opportunity to take up water conservations measures therein. The mine water is not acidic unlike western countries and it conforms to the prescribed regulatory standards. This nature’s gift is utilized in Coal India Limited by allowing mine voids to get filled with mine water. The net recharge potential of the opencast mining area is found to be about 5% in comparison to 2% in non-mining area offering good prospects for ground water recharge. The seasonal rainwater is also diverted into mine voids left at the end of mining operations which act as huge reservoirs/ pit lakes for storage of the water. They also serve as surface water bodies for recharging of water table in the surrounding areas. The area and space left from where coal has been extracted completely in underground mines and will not be entered by any man or machinery after the extraction, called goaf, are also potential source of water conservation. These additional water resources created are being utilized for meeting the industrial, domestic, irrigation and other requirements of the projects and local communities eliminating the need to tap other fresh water resources including ground water. Presently, 75% of the water demand of the coal mining project is being met from the water stored in the mine pits. In future, CIL is likely to create about 3.3 billion m3 of water resource, on an average, in its opencast mines alone. In the mine closure plan of opencast mines, the last cut is proposed to be developed into water body for recharge of ground water and creating additional water resources. A clean potential source of potable water is thus developed after mine closure. This will ensure water security of the country.
Waters; Water; Mine; Mines; Pits; Resources; India; CIL; Conservation;