Telangana has recorded an excess of 50 per cent rainfall between June and September this monsoon season. This is bountiful rainfall when compared to an excess of merely 6 per cent rainfall recorded during the monsoon season in 2019. Not only are the ponds, tanks and rivers brimming with water, the latest ground water level report issued by the state government reveals a significant rise in the water table –– 5.9 m between May and October 2020 –– across the state.
In several districts in the northern, eastern, and southern parts of the state, covering nearly 56 per cent of the total land area, the groundwater is available at less than five metres below ground level (mbgl) as of September 2020. Only 24 per cent land area had groundwater at less than 5 mbgl in the same period, if average depth for the last 10 years is taken into consideration. The officials attribute this rise in the water table to the copious rainfall the state received this season.
Telangana has received 1078.3 mm rainfall during the south-west monsoon this year as against the normal rainfall of 720.4mm. The highest deviation of excess rainfall (128 per cent) was recorded in Jogulamba Gadwal district, followed by Warangal Urban and Mahabubnagar which recorded an excess seasonal rainfall of 110 per cent. Of the total 589 mandals, 223 have received “large excess” rainfall of over 60 per cent. Meanwhile, Adilabad and Nirmal districts recorded a seasonal deficit of 10 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.
The ground water department monitors water levels through 963 piezometers installed in all 589 mandals across 33 districts of the state. The average groundwater level in the state in September 2020 was 5.38 mbgl, varying between 1.36 mbgl in Warangal Rural district and 16.10 mbgl in Sangareddy district. When compared to May 2020, the water table has witnessed a net average rise of 5.9m during September 2020. The highest rise is recorded in Medak (10.09m) and the lowest in Wanaparthy district (1.15m).
As against the same period in 2019, this year’s September recorded a net rise of 4.47m in the water table. This rise is witnessed in almost all districts except in Adilabad that recorded a negligible fall. All other districts reported a rise of water table between 0.46m (in Mancherial) and 11.68m (in Mahabubnagar district).
The director of Telangana Ground Water Department, Dr Pandith Madhnure, said multiple factors have led to a significant rise in water table, one of the key ones being the success of ongoing irrigation projects that have filled up tanks across the state. He also pointed out that the state has received 75 to 80 days of rain this season compared to the usual average of 45 days.
“In the last few years, the Telangana government has taken up restructuring of irrigation projects, and also desilted almost 26,000 tanks. We used to have deep water levels in central parts of Telangana, namely in districts of Siddipet, Medak, and Sangareddy, etc. Because of the irrigation canals, tanks are getting filled up and it helps in rejuvenation of water tables,” he said.
The report looking at a decadal average for September between 2010 and 2019 points out that nearly 14 per cent of land area in the state, mostly in these central Telangana districts, could find water only at more than 15 mbgl. This figure has come down to 5 per cent in the present season. Dr Madhnure calls this a significant achievement.
Telangana provides 24-hours free supply of electricity to farmers as a majority of them depend on groundwater for irrigating their fields.