Alarm raised over groundwater depletion in areas of assured rainfall

Groundwater Survey and Development Agency says water is being extracted before being recharged; situation alarming in 10 districts, including Pune.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: April 3, 2015 1:56 am
pune rainfall, pune groundwater, pune water, pune ground water sources, pune low groundwater, rainwater harvesting, pune news Groundwater Survey and Development Agency says water is being extracted before being recharged; situation alarming in 10 districts, including Pune.

Despite normal rainfall, groundwater tables have failed to recharge. The situation is alarming in 10 districts, including Pune, said Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) officials. Water was being extracted before being recharged and this could lead to scarcity, officials added.

As the state government starts its ambitious task to make its villages water sufficient, an alarming trend of groundwater table failing to recharge despite sufficient rains has been observed from various parts of the state. GSDA officials said this trend became more prominent over the last two years.

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Annual measurement of the groundwater level post monsoon and in May was carried out by the GSDA to understand the level of recharge and depletion of the table. Recharge of the groundwater table happens post monsoon and it supplies water in the state throughout the year. In case of deficient rainfall, groundwater table fails to recharge which has been a normal occurrence for drought prone areas of the state.

Data of October 2014 collected by the GSDA showed that 19 talukas that received excess rainfall reported over a metre depletion of groundwater, while 30 talukas where rainfall was normal also reported such depletion. As per the meteorological department, when reported rainfall is 20 per cent excess of the predicted value, the area is said to have received excess rainfall. Deviation below 20 per cent of the predicted value is said to be deficit rainfall. As many as 32 talukas with normal rainfall had reported such a dip and 65 talukas where rainfall was excess had reported such depletion. Pune has the highest number of villages where depletion of groundwater was reported in areas of excess rainfall.

In 2013, Nashik division reported the highest dip where groundwater table dropped in areas witnessing above normal rainfall, while Amravati division had the highest number of talukas where groundwater dip was observed in case of normal rainfall. Districts of Pune, Kolhapur, Beed and Latur had reported the highest number of villages where such depletion occurred in 2013.

According to GSDA officials, this trend was observed in areas where sufficient rainfall was recorded. “Districts of Nashik, Pune and Dhule can account for over drawing of groundwater due to the presence of industries, sugarcane and vineyard. In districts like Chandrapur and Gondia, we have seen a dip in areas where there are cement industries,” said a senior officer with the GSDA. The trend, officers explained, was due to people not allowing groundwater to recharge.

While talking about the observations, environmentalist Parineeta Dandekar said depletion of groundwater in areas of excess rainfall like Vidharbha was alarming. “Groundwater meets the drinking needs for more than 90 per cent of rural households and also plays a vital role in the urban landscape. This trend is alarming and shows indiscriminate usage of the resource,” she said.

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