Authorities press panic button as groundwater level depletes in 19,000 villages

Officials from the GSDA further said they had been intimated that nearly 12 districts in the state would continue with all the schemes for scarcity till September 30.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune | Published: September 9, 2015 3:51 am

With depleting groundwater levels and deficient rainfall in the state, the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) has pressed the panic button, stating that in 19,424 villages, groundwater levels had dipped by 1 meter. With less rain recorded in August and September, the groundwater levels would have further dipped, stated officials from the GSDA.

“The groundwater levels dipped in March, and even as June recorded good rainfall, there were no rain in July and August and less in September. We will assess the situation in October. We are expecting a further dip in the groundwater levels in the state,’’ said a senior official from the GSDA.

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In July, the GSDA had surveyed all the districts. Even as the monsoon season is expected to see a recharge of the groundwater levels, this year will be different, considering the deficient rainfall in July, August and September.

Officials from the GSDA further said they had been intimated that nearly 12 districts in the state would continue with all the schemes for scarcity till September 30. Tankers have been deployed in these areas under the schemes. With deficient rainfall in the state and even in the district, teams have been deployed to check the water levels.

With depleting groundwater levels, the government had also banned digging of borewells beyond 200 ft with a view to check the steep decline in groundwater levels across the state. State government’s decision comes in the wake of increase in digging of new borewells by farmers and private players due to water scarcity during summers.

“We are yet to initiate action. However, those found guilty will face a fine ranging between Rs 10,000 and 25,000 or imprisonment up to six months in case of repeated offences,’’ said the officials.

Besides, the state government has made attempt to save water in ponds and rivers in order to bring the drought-like situation in the state under control. The rampant and uncontrolled digging of borewells in various parts of state had led to depletion of groundwater levels. Marathawada region and Buldhana and Amravati districts of Vidarbha region are the worst hit due to depletion of groundwater levels. In these districts, borewells have been dug up to almost 1,000 ft underground in search of water with no success.

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