Prosopis is a weed that has occupied every nook and corner of rural India. it poses great danger for our groundwater resources.
Prosopis: A Thirsty Weed with Little Use
What is Prosopis?
Prosopis is a common weed plant under the family Fabaceae. The genus contains more than ten species, which are spread in different parts of the world. Prosopis juliflora is a shrub or small tree that was introduced in India from Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. The stems have thorns measuring 1cm to 5 cm.
This plant is widely used as fodder for cattle and to border the fences of rural houses. The wood from Prosopis is used for cooking in most of the Indian villages (this firewood gives lot of smoke).
The prosopis plant is known to be a noxious invader in Australia and other countries, where it has occupies more than 800,000 hectares of arable land. Though it is not called an invader in India, it has occupied every available land for its survival.
Prosopis and Ground Water depletion
People are often carried away by few good things that they could see and ignore some important dangers that lie beneath. This is true to prosopis and its expansion over the sub-continent.
Prosopis is able to survive in arid and semi-arid conditions. It has powerful roots that absorb water from great depths. The roots are believed to penetrate several meters into the soil and also spread over a vast area, thereby depriving water to the cultivated crops and other useful plants.
These weeds absorb the groundwater for their growth and the excess water is left to the atmosphere. They are becoming the primary reason for the depletion of groundwater resources in India and other countries.
If these plants are allowed to grow for another decade, it is projected that the entire water table will be sucked by these plants.
© 2010 Dr.P.Elayaraja