Groundwater hits rock bottom

The number of villages where groundwater table has gone down by more than 1metre has increased from 5,976 last year to over 13,500 this time. The report said that close to 2,713 villages in 11 districts may experience severe drinking water crisis soon. These are the villages that recorded over 50% deficit rain and over two metre water table depletion this time, which is why a severe drinking water scarcity here may follow soon.

As per the report, drinking water scarcity may be experienced in over 10,615 villages in the state where rainfall deficit has been over 20% and groundwater level depletion has been more than one metre.

Districts that are expected to face severe drinking water scarcity are Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Beed, Hingoli, Latur, Nanded, Nashik, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Solapur and Satara.

The GSDA prepared a district-wise list of blocks and villages showing groundwater level depletion of more than 1metre in September 2015 as compared to the last five years’ average September water levels. They found as many as 4,189 villages this September with depletion of more than three meters. This number in October 2014 was just 865.

The data shows that all blocks in Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur and Hingoli have shown groundwater depletion this September while in Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara, 50 of the 57 blocks have suffered.

A GSDA official told TOI that the blocks and villages that recorded over 50% rainfall deficit and over two metre water table depletion are the regions where severe drinking water scarcity may be ex perienced soon. “Till last year, talukas and villages that recorded 20% or more rainfall deficit and one metre and above water table depletion were declared as regions where drinking water scarcity could be experienced,“ he said.

The official added that this time the groundwater situation is worse as compared to last year. “In comparison, the monsoon in 2014 was better.Hence the recharge last year was better. In 2014, 29 blocks had reported rainfall deficit of more than 50%. This year, this number has gone up to 57 blocks,“ the official said.

The regions that would face drinking water scarcity are the ones where groundwater will now have to be recouped using groundwater recharge shafts to recharge aquifers directly.

An official from the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) said the state has already issu ed a notification banning digging of deep wells in the 80 over-exploited watersheds across the state. “We will constitute a watershed water resource committee at the district level which will comprise government-appointed district officers and GSDA geologists, who would work in cooperation with one another and begin by registering all the wells and rig owners. Certain licences will also be provided to well owners,“ the official said.
Source : TOI

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