Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dipping ground Water: Coimbatore nearing drought

There is further bad news on the water front. A weak south west monsoon has left the land parched and the rivers and lakes dry. Now, evidence suggests that ground water level is falling in many parts of Coimbatore and Tirupur.

A senior official with the ground water section in the public works department said water table has depleted by nearly 3 metres to 4.5 meters in several areas in the two districts, as per data collected from monitoring wells. There are 276 monitoring wells in Coimbatore and some parts of the Tirupur. In safe areas, water is generally found at a depth of 4 metres, while in critical or over-exploited areas water level has dipped to at least 15 metres.

"However, these estimates are as per measurements made in during a good monsoon. However, due to low rainfall this year water levels have gone down by at least 4.5 metres in almost all areas," the official said. Rain this season is 56 per cent less compared to the total rainfall in 2011.

Among the areas that face a serious water crisis are Sultanpettai in Sulur block, Madukkarai, Kattampatti, Andipallayam and parts of Avinashi. These places have been over-exploited to the extent that water, which used to be found at a depth of 7 to 8 metres, is not available even at a depth of 700 feet. Indiscriminate digging of bore wells to exploit the ground water is said to have caused for the crisis.

The official said a proposal has been send to the government to have more wells to monitor the situation better.

As per the latest ground water resource assessment by a state department, 142 of 385 blocks in Tamil Nadu are over-exploited, 33 blocks critical and 57 blocks are in a semi-critical state. Many areas across the state underlain by hard rock aquifers having limited storage potentials are facing acute problems of over-exploitation and depletion of ground water. Fluoride contamination of ground water is also prevalent in many parts of the state.

Valakuparai Balu, president, Tamil Nadu Vyavasayi Sangam, said poor rainfall has destroyed agriculture during this season. The situation has worsened due to the depletion in ground water level. Horticulture in Thondamuthur, Pollachi, Kinathakadavu and Madukkarai has been affected as people can't find water despite digging bores to a depth of 500feet, Balu said.

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