Kolkata: State Water Resources Investigation and Development and Panchayat & Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee said on Thursday that ground water level in the state has depleted, but assured that it has not reached a dangerous level.”70 percent of the water used for agricultural activities is still procured from groundwater. There has certainly been a depletion in ground water level, but it has not reached dangerous levels yet. However, we are taking all possible measures to store water,” Mukherjee said, while speaking at an interactive session on “Assuring Irrigation to Small & Marginal Farmers of West Bengal” at Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe minister said that in districts like Hooghly, West Burdwan and East Burdwan, they have found out that they need to go 200 feet below the ground for irrigation water. “We earlier had to put in two to three pipes underground for the purpose,” the minister said.He referred to “Jal Dharo Jal Bharo”, a unique state initiative to conserve rain water in all kinds of water bodies like tanks, ponds, reservoirs, canals etc. According to the minister, as of June 2018, 2,44,149 water bodies/water retention structures have been created in convergence with the state Water Resources Investigation & Development and Panchayat & Rural Development departments. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHe also mentioned about a Rs 3,000 crore loan from World Bank for developing minor irrigation with a command area of 5 hectares and above.The Water Resource Investigation department has already constructed 1,500 check dams across the state, including a good number in the hilly areas for storing water for irrigation.”There are a number of rivers in the state that are of perennial nature. Water from the check dams are being used for irrigation in the areas where rivers dry up,” he said. The minister also spoke about a location-specific scheme for comparatively underserved areas of the state, named “Jalatirtha” since 2014-15, in five Paschimanchal districts of Bankura, Birbhum, Paschim Medinipur, Jhargram & Purulia, which was later extended to Sunderban areas and hilly areas of Darjeeling & Kalimpong.”The achievable minor irrigation potential in the state has been estimated at 44.34 lakh hectares, out of which 31.34 lakh hectares is expected to be drawn from ground water resources, with 13.00 lakh hectares from surface water. Owing to successful implementation of irrigation, the crop intensity has increased from 177 percent in 2010–11 to 188 percent,” Mukherjee said.According to the minister, the small and marginal farmers constitute 96 percent of the farmers and hold around 80.7 percent of the land, the average size of land holding being 0.77 hectare.