Khammam: Increasing urbanisation and exploitation of groundwater has been leading to serious fall in groundwater levels across Khammam district. The situation seems alarming as per a report submitted to Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) of Union Ministry of Water Resources by the district level Ground Water Estimation Committee (GEC) which conducted a study of groundwater level for the year 2016-17 in the district.
The GEC, which comprises nine departments including Ground Water, Revenue, Agriculture and others conducts a study of water level for every two years and submits a report to CGWB for further action. According to the latest report, out of 379 revenue villages, groundwater level stress is found in as many as 171 villages. Around 61 villages are over-exploited (OE) villages, which means utilisation of underground water resources is above 100 per cent.
Likewise, there are 45 villages which fall into critical category (with 90 to 100 per cent utilisation of water) and around 65 villages are designated as semi-critical villages (70 to 90 per cent utilisation of underground water). “Importantly, the number of OE villages have nearly doubled. There are about 37 OE villages during the GEC study in the year 2012-13 and now we found 61 OE villages during the recent study”, Deputy Director, Ground Water Department, V Anand Kumar told Telangana Today on Saturday.
The increasing stress on the groundwater level has many aspects to it. The stress is attributed to disturbed monsoon pattern, farmers finding a shortage of surface water due to delayed rains and depending on underground water to feed crops. In urban and semi-urban areas, the people are more depended on borewells despite having municipal water connections. In the past, there used to be around 70 rainy days in monsoon season, now it came down to below 40 days, Anand Kumar explained.
According to him, the depth at which groundwater found is falling rapidly in the district. The normal water level is between 8 to 9 metres and if it crosses 10 metres it indicates a crisis. In this April, Piezometer readings in metres (groundwater level) are 14.75 at Rotary Nagar, at SR Garden area in Khammam city, Sathupalli 33. 4, Madhira 11.66, Kusumanhi 14.10, Enkoor 11.95, Arikayapadu 27.20 and so on. The reason for this is the ignorance of people and poor implementation of Water, Land and Trees Act (WALTA), 2002. No borewell shall be sunk in OE to semi-critical villages, tahsildar can seize rigs if they are found sinking bore wells in such villages. “As soon as the Central government approves the reports and publishes a gazette we will have to ban sinking bore wells in all the 171 villages in Khammam district until the groundwater level reaches safe level’ Anand Kumar noted.