Even with summer season currently at its peak, the groundwater situation in Pune region has not only remained stable, but also shown marked improvements in the last three months. This encouraging trend is in contrast with other regions of the state where the number of wells showing significant fall in groundwater levels has crossed at least 50 per cent. According to the latest scarcity report, issued by the Ground Water Survey and Development Agency (GSDA), there were 48 villages found in March and 47 villages in January this year where groundwater table fell over 3 metres in the region that covers Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur districts.
What is even more heartening to know is that there are no villages in Pune and Solapur districts where groundwater has fallen below 3 metres, which is the considered to be the highest by the agency. “This is an interesting trend and it is the outcome of water conservation measures initiated in the state,” I I Shah, additional director at GSDA, Pune, told The Indian Express.
In addition to this, officials also state that the even if there was water consumption for crop cultivation during the rabi season, which is mainly dependent on irrigation, good groundwater recharge last year meant that there was not much water depreciation noted.
GSDA authorities highlighted how the groundwater situation this year was far better than during the previous three years, all thanks to good monsoon in 2016. While Konkan and Marathwada regions last year received excess rainfall, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidarbha regions reported normal rainfall during monsoon.
Reflecting the same in groundwater stock, in last March, there were 4,477 villages showing highest depletion levels; this year, there are only 325 wells in this category. Of these, 141 wells located in Aurangabad and 104 wells in Nashik region showcased the highest decline in the water levels by the end of March. The water scenario in Konkan, Amravati and Nagpur regions continued to remain largely unchanged.
However, Shah had a word of caution on the current groundwater position. He said, “Even though the situation this year is far better, one must refrain from misusing and drawing excess water from underground.”