HydroGeo Park dilutes fluoride in Yadadri dist

HydroGeo Park dilutes fluoride in Yadadri dist
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Highlights

Groundwater sources located in hard subterranean zones can have harmful levels of fluoride and arsenic content which is released when the water reacts with some of the rocks. 

Hyderabad: Groundwater sources located in hard subterranean zones can have harmful levels of fluoride and arsenic content which is released when the water reacts with some of the rocks.

Many villages in Nalgonda and the newly-formed Yadadri districts, in Telangana have since long been impacted by fluoride contamination with effective remedies to this problem yet to materialise.


Minimising Effects

  • NGRI implemented a unique method to dilute contamination of groundwater resources in fluoride impacted Choutuppal in Yadadri district
  • The pilot project known as Hydro-geological Park is the first of its kind in Telangana
  • The project is yielding positive results, going by the interest generated among the villagers in the affected locations

But, an innovative initiative launched by the Hyderabad–based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) may, to a significant extent, prove to be a source of succor for inhabitants in the affected locations.

The NGRI has implemented a unique method to dilute contamination of groundwater resources in fluoride impacted Choutuppal in Yadadri district.

The pilot project, known as Hydro-geological Park – the first of its kind in Telangana - is yielding positive results going by the interest generated among the inhabitants of the villages in the affected locations.

Disclosing this to The Hans India, Dr Virendra Tiwari, Director, NGRI, explained that the method involved blending of fresh surface water with the contaminated subsurface groundwater.

“Groundwater contamination occurs from two sources. One is geogenic contamination, which occurs when the reaction between groundwater and some of the rocks results in the release of arsenic or fluorides.

The second source of contamination is caused by industrial effluents which percolate to the groundwater.”

The method involves artificial recharging of the groundwater with rainwater stored in surface ponds and tanks.

Artificial recharge is a process in which water from a surface tank seeps and mixes with groundwater.

The NGRI has identified fluoride contaminated groundwater aquifers – water bearing permeable rocks - in six villages in Choutuppal and created a pond specifically designed to facilitate continuous seepage of freshwater to the groundwater.

“The freshwater from the surface percolates or seeps into these subsurface aquifers and dilutes the fluoride content in the groundwater,” said Dr Tiwari.

However, he added that this process would help only in ‘diluting’ and not ‘in removing’ the contaminant.

“For instance, through this process the contaminant can be reduced by adding 60 per cent to 70 per cent surface fresh water, which then reduces or dilutes the percentage of contamination,”

he said and added, “we can also achieve another crucial objective through such interventions – ensure sustainable availability of water by providing a source to replenish the groundwater. This pilot project is being implemented as part of CSIR-800 mission.”

Elucidating on the groundwater dynamics of Telangana, Dr Tiwari expressed the view that the state needs a systematic groundwater management strategy and plan due to its heterogeneous and complex hydrological system.

Telangana is mainly positioned on the Krishna river basin where sub-surface aquifers are very complex in nature and not uniformly distributed.

The demand in the state is many times more than storage capacity. “There is lack of sufficient sub-surface space where water can be stored.

So, we need to create recharging reservoirs – to replenish groundwater sources - that are in accordance with the existing capacity,” said Dr Tiwari.

He pointed out that surface reservoirs meant for recharging can be created only after identifying the aquifer or groundwater locations and gauging their capacities.

Moreover the plan should also encompass other factors like distribution of cropping patterns and changing requirements.

“And finally, these recharge facilities or reservoirs should have specific design and structure to enable percolation to the aquifers and in accordance with their storage capacity.

You may make thousands of reservoirs but they do not serve any purpose, if only ten are recharging.

All the others would then end up serving as surface reservoirs exposed to evaporation and consequent depletion,” he said.

By: Satyapal Menon

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