Telangana is witnessing a constant and consistent rise in the groundwater table across the state. According to the latest report from the ground water department, over 97 per cent of the state’s land area has water available at less than 10 metres below ground level (mbgl) in November. At the same time, the land area with deep water levels, that is, where water is available at more than 20 mbgl, has shrunk from 987 sq km to 295 sq km (approximately 70 per cent) when the decadal average for the month is taken into account.
As per the groundwater data for November 2022, groundwater is available across the state at an average of 4.5 mbgl, with Warangal district recording water at 2.34 mbgl and Sangareddy district reporting water at 7.69 mbgl. As compared to November 2021, a net average rise of 0.47 metres in groundwater levels was observed in November this year. When compared to May 2022, the net average rise in the water table in November 2022 is 4.51 metres.
According to Dr Pandit Madhnure, Director of the Groundwater Department, the rise in the water table could be attributed to multiple factors ranging from good rain to decreasing dependence on groundwater. Telangana recorded an excess rainfall of 45 per cent in 2022, and so was the case in the previous two years.
The officer also reasoned the government programmes of rejuvenation of surface water bodies through Mission Kakatiya, supply of river water for drinking purposes through Mission Bhagiratha, and the state reforestation drive Haritha Haram for recharging the groundwater and reducing dependency on groundwater.
Madhnure said that the rise in the water table is the cumulative effect of multiple factors over the years. As much as it is influenced by good rains, an average rise in the water table is seen in pre-monsoon months too, he said.
The average groundwater level in the state in May 2022 was 9.01 mbgl, showing a net average rise of 0.18 m when compared to the same month last year.
In terms of deep water levels, the area where the groundwater was available at over 20 mbgl decreased from 11,027 sq km to 1,398 sq km (ie; by 87 per cent) in May 2022 in comparison to the decadal average water levels for May 2012 to 2021.
For instance, a look at the pre-monsoon data for groundwater shows that 69 per cent of the state had groundwater available at less than 10 mbgl in May 2022. Only 1 per cent of the total state’s land area had water available at more than 20 mbgl in the driest month of the year. The decadal average for May 2012 to May 2021 shows that only 33 per cent land area had water available at less than 10 mbgl in May and that groundwater was available at more than 20 mbgl in over 10 per cent land area.