Hyderabad: The year 2020 might not be one that everyone wants to remember. But for those watching the groundwater tables of Hyderabad, the Water Year of 2020-2021 has been one of a steady, encouraging rise.
In the Hyderabad division, the mean groundwater level rose from 5.37 metres below ground level (mbgl) in December 2019 to 3.48 mbgl in December 2020, showing a 1.89 metre increase. The Secunderabad division showed an increase by 3.43 m, rising from 8.72 mbgl in December 2019 to 5.61 mbgl in December 2020. There has been a similar increase in groundwater levels across the State, officials say.
According to Dr Pandith Madhunure, Director, Telangana Ground Water Department, there have been several factors that led to the rise in groundwater levels in the city and across the State.
“The obvious reason is the increased rainfall that the State received but there has also been increased water supply with the government’s projects like the Kaleshwaram project and this in turn, has decreased dependence on groundwater. The Water Department has also conducted awareness programmes on rainwater harvesting and it has played its role to a slight extent too,” he says, adding, “There are many apartment buildings that practise rooftop harvesting and it obviously increases the water-level right below and rejuvenates the water below the ground.”
While Telangana on a whole received 1,257.5 mm of rainfall, which was 49% more than the previous year. Hyderabad received 1,257.9 mm of rainfall, which was 76% more than the last year, which saw 714 mm.
This has had a major impact on groundwater levels in Telangana, as per data from the 1,278 groundwater monitoring stations across the State. In Hyderabad district, out of the 21 different monitoring stations, the one at Ameerpet showed the most difference between December 2019 and December 2020, showing an increase of almost 5.7 m, rising from 18.59 mbgl to 12.9 mbgl. Hyderabad district saw an increase of 2.66 m on average, from 7.04 mbgl to 4.55 mbgl.
The numbers apart, this is something that citizens of Hyderabad can rejoice about, as this means there are significantly lesser chances of the city experiencing water shortage in the upcoming summer months.
“There has been a noticeable reduction in the consumption of groundwater and as a result of this, there is plenty available for the upcoming summer months, despite the obvious seasonal decline in the levels of groundwater. The demand and consumption of groundwater will increase in the next few months as we inch towards summer but the levels present in the city now will hopefully sustain without any issue,” explains Jagannadha Rao, Deputy Director, District Ground Water Department, Hyderabad.
An interesting thing to note is that the groundwater levels rose from an average of 7.04 mbgl in May 2020 to 4.55 mbgl in December 2020. This 3.43 metres of increase is enough to sustain the city through the upcoming summer, according to the officials.
More piezometer stations
Additionally, the department is also on the task of installing real-time monitoring stations across the State, having finished the installation of 240 in the first phase.
“These piezometer stations, equipped with digital water level recorders will give us daily, if not hourly data, of groundwater levels wherever they are installed. We are planning on having 504 of them all over the State by the time the second phase is done. We are also planning on having over 100 stations in just Hyderabad to study the impact of urbanisation on the quality and quantity of groundwater,” said an official.
The high-density of monitoring stations in the city will then give officials crucial data necessary to take the right steps to conserve groundwater and solve water shortage issues in the longer run.
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