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city anchor:Chandigarh ground water level shows continuous declining trend

The ground water level in most areas of Chandigarh,though not alarming,has been witnessing a continuous declining trend since more than a decade now.

Written by Snehil Sinha | Chandigarh |
June 26, 2012 1:29:57 am

The ground water level in most areas of Chandigarh,though not alarming,has been witnessing a continuous declining trend since more than a decade now. According to Anil Bhatia,the Regional Director of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB),North Western Region,“The reduction has been at the rate of about 10 cm to 80 cm per year in different sectors,which might intensify water shortage issues in the coming years.” Due to the growing population of Chandigarh and the standards of living becoming higher,the demand for water has increased tremendously,leading to more extraction of water.

The CGWB annual report shows that southern sectors have shallow water level conditions while deepest water level conditions exist in the area comprising sectors north of Madhya Marg. This means that water is found more easily and at a higher level in the south as compared to north. In January 2011,the depth to water level was between 1.99 m Below Ground Level (bgl) and 16.53 m bgl. Shallow water levels in the range of 0-5 m occur in sectors south of Dakshin Marg. Northern sectors have deeper water levels as compared to southern sectors.

While,when it comes to power cuts,southern sectors face more power cuts than the ‘blessed’ North,the water shortage in the city has an opposite trend. Water shortage situation is more prominent in North than South. This north-south divide,according to scientists at CGWB,is because of two main reasons. First,the northern sectors are older and more tubewells are still used for water supply here,which contribute to lowering of the water table. The southern area,on the other hand,is new and canals are mostly used for water supply here.

Another important factor is the Northern sectors’ proximity to the hills. Being closer to the foothills,north Chandigarh gets lesser area of water for extraction while the area available to the south is much more. This is because water moves southwards,away from elevated areas.

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Bhatia points out that good drainage system and better roads are also a major cause of the diminishing water level in the city beautiful. Being a planned city,Chandigarh has a very good drainage system,because of which water is drained out of the city immediately and is not able to percolate and raise the water table. Good concrete roads also contribute to water not being able to seep in through the layers of soil.

The annual report presents the analysis of 20 ground water observation wells in Chandigarh for monitoring water levels. It suggests that while sector 10,33,38 and 47 have good aquifers (pumps used for extraction of water),sector 25 has leaky aquifers.

At present water levels are 5-6 m bgl in the south and 38-45 m bgl in the north. The annual water level fluctuation during May 2009 – May 2010 shows that there is a general decline of water levels ranging between 0.22 metres and 7.04 metres. The north and central part of the city has observed maximum water level decline.

The water levels during January 2011 when compared with the average water level of the last 10 years ,show that decline of water levels ranges between 0.26m and 3.99m whereas rise in water levels varies between 0.13m and 2.47m.

According to CGWB,there is some good news also. The study of general quality of ground water of Chandigarh is potable and fresh. The concentration of various constituents are found to be within desirable to permissible limit of drinking water standards set by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Also,Sectors 31,39,44,45 and 46 have shown an increase in ground water levels recently.

Anil Bhatia says,“The only source of water supply in the city is ground water. So,proper measures need to be taken to ensure that it is replenished.” However,he says that no action has been taken by the UT administration for the purpose. “Even if there are proposals,they are not implemented seriously,” he adds.

In view of the declining water table,the only solution,according to CGWB scientists,is rainwater harvesting and restricting water usage. They have installed rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge units at nine locations in the city.

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