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Hyderabad concrete jungles draining ground water

Hyderabad concrete jungles draining ground water
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Hyderabad Concrete Jungles Draining Ground Water. Diminishing water bodies, increasing concrete jungles and lack of focus on rainwater harvesting pits...

Diminishing water bodies, increasing concrete jungles and lack of focus on rainwater harvesting pits by municipal bodies have led to the deplorable status of the groundwater levels in the Nizam’s city of Hyderabad.

In what should be an alarm call to the city administration, the ground water level (2014) in most city pockets are in negative figures compared to the last few years.

The deteriorating condition of ground water in 65 areas of the country including Hyderabad has led to an SOS by the Ministry of water resources signalling a need for implementation of stringent Ground Water Regulatory Act. The Ministry has signaled the state authorities including the GHMC that all the 16 mandals in Greater Hyderabad (including areas in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district) were identified as over-exploited areas.

In spite of the fact that the city received more than normal rainy days last season, environmental scientists say that if appropriate steps are not taken then the city would soon turn into a complete concrete jungle without a drop of ground water and the dependence would be more and more on imports from Krishna River.

The sewerage and drainage system in half of the city is almost 45 years old and inadequate to meet the challenges of the growing population of the greater city.The absence of ground water storage facilities has resulted in huge floods on roads during the rainy season, glut of drains and subsequent manhole deaths in Hyderabad. Even in 2014 rainy season there were three man hole deaths as roads flooded, say environmental experts.

In the absence of proper rain water harvesting and ground water storage points and boosters (trenches and check dams) in and around drains and vacant slots in the city, the situation would become worse in the next few years. There is huge wastage of water supplied by the city as well. As per the assessment of experts at Central Ground Water Board, of the total water supplied by the city Water Board, over 80-85 per cent goes into the drains or sewer lines, while only 15-20 per cent is consumed by the population.

Hyderabad tops among the 65 locations where the ground water resources are fast depleting due to encroachment of its lakes, silting of its drains and extreme levels of population density on par with groundwater resources, says a GHMC official.

“An additional rainfall of 30 per cent was received in 2014. However, due to poor recharge efforts the ground water level is in minus figures in most places. SR Nagar, Ameerpet, Saidabad, Gachibowli, Chandrayangutta, among other areas, have water levels in negative figures against last few years, he says.

“The water tanker supply has increased from 10,000 per month last year to 14,000-15,000 every month this year,” said an official of Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS & SB). Experts attribute this state to increased concrete surfaces and lack of proper rainwater channelizing in harvesting points, diminishing water bodies and also increasing water discharge due to increased population.

Water bodies in and around the city are the main source for recharging the groundwater table. However, hundreds of lakes (620 lakes before 1985) that existed in the last few years are no more. Over 200 water bodies within Outer Ring Road limits have been encroached and buildings have come up. Moreover, lack of proper channelizing of rainwater into water harvesting pits instead of drainage and increased discharge of water due to increased population are the main reasons for decrease in groundwater table,” said an environmental report of the ASCI.

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