Groundwater management in Maharashtra is soon going to turn hi-tech. The government is planning to introduce digital water-level recorders for wells across the state. This digital data, pitched to be far more accurate than the present day manual measurements, will also be integrated and brought on to a common platform using Geographic Information System (GIS).
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Officials at city-based Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) said the main aim is to keep handy the exact levels of the groundwater table, which often keeps fluctuating either due to excess drawing of water for irrigation or poor water management techniques.
Not only will it help the officials in undertaking better planning of contingency measures, schemes for water conservation, particularly in case of higher rate of water level depletion, said the officials.
“The proposal for setting up digital metres has been submitted to the state government. We are awaiting the budgetary allocations, following which tendering and installation processes can be initiated,” said a senior official at GSDA.
Maharashtra houses about 4.70 lakh wells, spread across 25,500 villages located in 33 districts.
Groundwater levels were found to have hit the bottom of the table, at some places over 5 metres. Lowest levels were reported from Marathwada and Vidrabha regions, following poor monsoon during two consecutive years (2014 and 2015).
Depending on the level of water depletion, the agency had to alert respective district administrations and suggest measures to curb the drawing of water from these wells.
“The groundwater recharge was badly affected and it was a tough task for geologists and other staffers to draw the exact water levels,” said an official, who is in charge of the Pune region.
At present, the groundwater surveys are mainly taken four times a year — January, March, May and October. Of these, the most vital readings emerge during the pre-and-post-monsoon periods — May and October. The latter survey figures are often used to chalk out plans for the rest of the year, until the next monsoon.
Under the soon-to-be adopted digital scheme, the water level shall be monitored more frequently. Experts are of the opinion that, even monthly review shall largely aide the planning.