Groundwater authority yet to gain ground

Groundwater authority yet to gain ground

The formation of a statutory authority to monitor sinking of borewells seems to have had no effect in regulating the exploitation of groundwater in the State.

The State government has constituted the Karnataka Groundwater Authority and framed rules under the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2011. District-level committees too were formed to keep tabs on utilisation of groundwater.

However, according to sources in the Department of Mines and Geology, borewells continued to be sunk indiscriminately despite all these initiatives.

In the last two years, the department has collected only Rs 7.25 lakh as penalty from 145 unregistered rig owners - Rs 5,000 each for sinking borewells without obtaining prior permission.

Lack of awareness on the new legislation also seems to be another reason for the poor compliance. While 697 applications were issued to rig owners in Bangalore, only 307 have registered so far.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is the authority to grant permission for sinking new borewells in the areas coming under the limits of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike. While 6,370 applications seeking permission for sinking borewells were issued, 2,921 applicants were allowed to sink borewells.