Taking irrigability classifications and areas of black soils and saline aquifers into account, about 55% of the command area appears to be in danger of waterlogging and salinisation, an environmental disaster of epic proportions in the making.
Detailed studies indicate that the actual potential for waterlogging and salinisation is even worse than what was indicated by the preliminary study. A study of Zones 1-4 of the SSP command ( Table 3) conducted by Core Consultants (1982) concluded that 54% of Z2, 64% of Z3 and 100% of Z4, is liable to be affected by waterlogging and salinity. Comparison of Tables 2 and 3 shows that while the preliminary study indicates 20.9% of Zones 1-4 as prone to waterlogging and salinisation, the detailed report puts that figure at 45.5%, almost double the original. Even if we exclude the problematic Zone 4, the relative area prone to waterlogging and salinisation increases from 8 % to 36.5 % !
A study done on Zone 7 reports that 74 % of the area is severely problematic for irrigation ( ORG 1981). The study concludes that since the area suitable for irrigation in zone 7 is such a small fraction of the total area of the zone, it is questionable whether this should be brought into the SSP command. The report suggests that a change in cropping patterns under the existing regime may be more fruitful.
Incredibly, detailed studies have so far been completed for only 5 out of 13 agroclimatic zones! A four volume pre-feasibility level drainage study for regions 5-13 of the SSP recently completed by a consultant group ( CES 1992) has carefully refrained from delineating areas that would be prone to waterlogging under the SSP. However, they estimated that under normal operations, approximately 3.12 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of groundwater will have to be pumped out every year to prevent waterlogging. This is