57 per cent of Maharashtra wells show decline in groundwater

The water situation in Mumbai is not as grim with two of the three well showing water levels to have risen by 66.7 per cent.

Mumbai: Nearly 57 per cent of wells in Maharashtra have shown a decline in groundwater levels, according to data submitted in the Lok Sabha in March.

A total 1,487 wells were observed by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) where 887 wells showed a decline in water levels even as 667 showed a rise in levels.

According to state water department officials, the state is working on rainwater harvesting and artificial recharge structures to address issue of water scarcity and depletion of groundwater.

The CGWB monitors groundwater on a regional scale, four times a year, through a network of observation wells in the country. The body compared pre-monsoon water levels of 2017 with the average of the decade from 2007 to 2016.

The information submitted by Arjun Ram Meghwal, Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs and water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, read, “The analysis indicates decline in groundwater levels in about 61 per cent of the wells, including urban areas of the country.”

Among the major cities of Maharashtra, the situation is Mumbai is not that grim as out of three wells analysed, two showed water level risen by 66.7 per cent while one well shows 33.3 per cent decline.

In the suburban areas too, the water level in one well analysed showed 100 per cent rise. However, three out of five wells observed in Pune showed water levels decline by 60 per cent.

"Mostly the ground water depletion has been observed in rural districts. Similarly in Nagpur and Nashik, the water levels in wells have shown fluctuating trends. We are working on schemes to encourage developing recharge structures," said a senior official from the State Water Resources Department.

While the state government maintains that there is no immediate water crisis in Maharashtra, in 304 villages and 09 hamlets of 11 districts, drinking water is being supplied through tankers.

"We have prepared the Water scarcity action plan for the period of October 2017 to June 2018. Under the Mukhyamantri Rural Drinking water programme, more than 1000 schemes in around 1940 habitation affected from water depletion have been taken up for implementation," added the official.

Under the water-scarcity action plan, 45,957 number of emergency measures including drinking water supply through tankers, for 26,341 villages and 12,956 hamlets have been prepared with an estimate of Rs. 56038 lakhs. Also, under the Jalswarajya II project co-funded by World Bank, drinking water measures are proposed in 102 water-stressed villages from 9 districts.

Per capita availability of water

As per the 2001 Census, the average annual per capita availability of water in the country was 1,816 m3/year, which, as per the 2011 Census, has reduced to 1545 m3/year. Further, projections for the year 2025 and 2050 are 1,340 m3/year and 1,140 m3/year, respectively. In general, per capita availability of water less than 1000 or 1700 m3/year is considered a water scarcity situation.

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