‘Excessive use of groundwater steadily getting dangerous’

Underground water recharge is must before exploitation

Central Chronicle News
Raipur, May 21:
News which hits the headline of the newspapers daily in the months of blistering summer regarding scarcity of water seems to be alarming. Large sections of population live in villages and remain dependent on conventional source of water viz. ponds, wells and rivulets etc. Viewing growing dire situation of underground water table, which is constantly dipping deeper and deeper, Central Chronicle organised a meaningful talk on the subject and what concluded from the discussions held is that -to ensure availability of water in villages we have to rely upon communities which have been handling this issue from time immemorial and have been surviving on recourse of natural sources. Underground water recharge is must before exploiting underground water, renowned Geologist and Agriculture advisor to the CM – Pradeep Sharma asserted.
On the other hand, urban population which largely depends for its water needs on civic bodies and government facilities, which draws surface water from rivers , dams and anicuts, when this source is also getting insufficient, the idea of water harvesting has been adopted as quick remedy to handle the water shortage. Hence civic bodies have passed a resolution for aspirants of homes that they have to install water harvesting system in the new houses. Initially this idea looked good and water table started getting recharged, however as the new study revealed and time goes by it is now getting unsafe staying dependent purely upon groundwater only. Excessive use of groundwater is steadily getting dangerous, all the Geologist unanimously agreed.
Pradeep Sharma:
Geologist and Agriculture Advisor Pardeep Sharma took up the issue that community should take care of their water needs in villages. In rural area per capita water use was reported to be 150 litre now-a-days, whereas in 1981-82 it was only 70 litre per capita.
Sharma says that feeder channel which used to be found in villages and 2-11 km in length and 3 meter in width has to be used as Anicut in it. It will help arresting surface water. He said Chhattisgarh is very specific aquifer zone. We have to take care of the quality of our ground water also. Phosphorus, Arsenic and Lead which are being found in ground water are hazardous for health. The deeper we go, chances of getting these minerals dissolved in water are getting higher.
On the same breath, Sharma also warned that excessive use of groundwater led to contamination of groundwater. When capillaries gets empty after overuse, then saline water from sea will occupy its space in coastal region. Resultantly, salinity travelled upto ponds and in coastal region coconut trees are facing the brunt due to the chemical reaction and foliage drops after getting dried-up.
Dr Ninad Bodhankar:
Supporting this argument Dr Ninad Bodhankar, Professor Geology Pt. RSU Raipur have cited an example that how hazardous Bacteria e-collie being found in deep groundwater. He said that scientists are also taken by surprise that how come this bacteria which is supposed to be found on surface has reached deep inside the ground. Apart from this if water harvesting is not properly taken care of and we keep harvesting polluted water it will make the situation even worse and water which travels inside the ground through capillaries would be contaminated and one day it will not remain usable.
Dr Ninad asserted that why we are depending more on groundwater whereas we have so much surface water available. Why we overlook surface water management. Groundwater dependency is increasing in Chhattisgarh also and it is being used as emergency source for agriculture, in Nagri, Dhamtari etc. people would like to harvest double crops in these regions.
Dr Ninad said that presence of Fluoride, Lead in groundwater in Supebeda in Bastar and in Mahasamud is really a matter of concern since in these areas no industry exists even though water is getting polluted with aforesaid heavy metals which are highly hazardous for health. It is only because of exploiting under-ground water from much deeper levels where these heavy metals are found in abundance.
Dr Ninad shared his experience of Brazil, where he could see the systematic housing plan in which they develop all sorts of facilities for certain number of population and when the number exceeds they move further and develop the same housing plan for certain number of people, they replicate the facilities again.
He said in Raipur 20 year back we have been studying water sample from Dangania stone mine. By that time residents of neighboring area were found suffering from Diarrhoea. It was then found that the groundwater was so contaminated that even under 20 meter deep e-collie bacteria was found. He said that awareness is must while using natural resources.
Dr PK Naik:
Dr PK Naik, senior Geologist of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has raised yet another pertinent point related to patter of the water usage and tried to explain the need of rational use of available water resources. He said that ‘in 1947 we were 37 cr population now we have become 127 cr. Dr Naik stressed on the mindful water use to be adopted. Resource is the same but users have increased manifold. He said that Swedish scientist has said that India is fast getting water- stress country. Normally a man uses 17 lakh litre water in life time and when this figure drops down to the level of thousands, that country becomes water-stressed country. Till 2015 India will be facing dire situation on water front, if the fact and data presented were anything to go by, he asserted.
Dr Naik laid stress on the rational use of water and developing awareness towards the source of water. We should stop apathy towards natural resource.
Dr Naik said that policy has been formulated since 1972, books are available also, but lack of policing and awareness is the main reason for problems. Industries consume hardly 5% of underground water that too after seeking permission but 95 water is being used by irrigation sector. It needs better management and awareness, Dr Naik asserted.
K Panigarhi :
K Panigarhi renowned Hydro-Geologist of the Chhattisgarh also expressed concern that groundwater quality is steadily getting polluted. He shared his more than two decade-long experience working as Hydro-Geologist – He said that in industrial area he has been seeing it that certain industries prefer to drain their industrial waste into abandoned borewells. It is so toxic loaded with hazardous chemicals which come as by-products from the industries. Chemical reaching and dissolving deep into the groundwater and travelled up to the another bore-well where water is being exploited. One can imagine what kind of water it would be in the near future. It nothing but a criminal act, he asserted.
K Panigrahi suggested that in residential area make recharge well upto 10 -12 feet deep and make arrangement of filtering the rainwater before being harvested. People don’t want to disturb the tiles on their floor and would opt for cylindrical filter which are mounted on wall, but it needs proper maintenance and in absence of maintenance pollutants dissolved in water on the roof directly polluting the underground water. Caustic soda dropped off from the cloth line and industrial and vehicular carbon settled on roof goes directly into recharge well.
K Panigrahi said that I have been seeing for thirty years many good scheme have been formulated like ‘Rajeev Gandhi Jal Grahan Mission’, IWMP and IWDP but for want of proper monitoring and proper planning crores have gone down in drain. In Chhattisgarh especially in Raipur region we receive adequate rainfall and it all gets drained out to the rivers. With better water management it can be stored in rivulets and can promote natural recharging of the rainwater. Unfortunately it has not being done.

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