Crisis looms large as water table dips alarmingly

Crisis looms large as water table dips alarmingly
Highlights

A combination of factors, which include absence of rainfall after September, an increase in irrigated area and overexploitation, especially since the government had ensured 24-hour uninterrupted free power supply to farming sector in January, had triggered an alarming dip in groundwater levels in the erstwhile district of Warangal.

Warangal: A combination of factors, which include absence of rainfall after September, an increase in irrigated area and overexploitation, especially since the government had ensured 24-hour uninterrupted free power supply to farming sector in January, had triggered an alarming dip in groundwater levels in the erstwhile district of Warangal.

The fear of depletion in groundwater table due to 24-hour power supply seems to be a ground reality with almost all the five districts carved out from Warangal – Mahabubabad, Bhupalpally, Jangaon, Warangal Rural and Urban – witnessing the phenomenon.

The latest figures suggest that majority of mandals in the erstwhile district witnessed depletion of groundwater level considerably. Bhupalpally district is the most affected, where cultivation of paddy is more. While the average groundwater level here was 9.02 MBGL in January, it dropped to 11.37 MBGL, more than two meters in just about one month.

Jangaon district, where farmers recently staged protests opposing 24-hour power supply, witnessed groundwater depletion from 10.70 MBGL to 11.37 MBGL. During the protests, the cultivators here demanded just 9-hour power supply stating that 24-hour supply was leading to overexploitation of groundwater by big farmers and it was affecting them.

The phenomenon is also in Warangal Rural region as level dipped from 6.79 MBGL to 7.50 MBGL. While the average groundwater level in Warangal Urban was 6.91 meters below ground level (MBGL) in January, it plummeted to 8.33 MBGL in February. It may be noted here that Urban district has the lowest irrigated area among others.

With least irrigation facility, Mahabubabad is one of those districts, where farmers depend more on groundwater. There are around 40,000 agricultural wells and 11,000 borewells in the region. The groundwater level dropped from 7.34 MBGL to 8.36 MBGL.

Speaking to The Hans India, Groundwater Department, Deputy Director, V Anand Kumar said: “There are multiple reasons for the depletion of groundwater table. However, the district had received a good rainfall before the October last year, it was scanty thereafter.” Over-usage of groundwater of late is also the reason behind the depletion, he added.

Rythu Sangham Warangal Rural cistrict general secretary Peddarapu Ramesh said: “The number of borewells went up significantly, this despite there was a ban on new borewells in 230 villages in undivided Warangal which are considered as critical due to overexploitation.”

Mushrooming packaged water business and failure of revenue officials in stopping the installation of new borewells in danger zone area are also the reasons behind steep fall in groundwater table, he said, agreeing that use of automatic starters is also causing wastage of groundwater.

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