Ground water level hits rock bottom

Ground water is fast depleting the in the district. Efforts to get ground water by digging deep into the ground have failed in most of the places.

Only a few parts in Gubbi, Turuvekere, Kunigal and Tiptur in the jurisdiction of Hemavathi canal are getting ground water at a depth of 1200 foot. Still, borewells are being sunk up to 1800 foot for water in Chelur hobli in Gubbi taluk.

Madhugiri,Chikkanayakanahalli and Koratagere taluks were found to be using ground water to the maximum limit in a joint survey conducted by Central and State ground water authorities in 2009. The ground water level has gone down by 650 foot in these taluks while it is 350 in other taluks. Sand mining also being blamed for depletion of ground water. Two years ago, water was available at a depth of 40-50 feet in sand borewells.The level of water has gone down due to sand extraction. A similar condition prevails in other taluks too.

The condition has further deteriorated in the last five years and the prospects of horticulture in the district will decrease if the ground water level depletes at this rate, the officials of the Department of Mines and Geology expressed apprehensions.

He said no new borewells should be sunk in these three taluks. However, prior permission from the District Ground Water Committee, led by Deputy Commissioner, is a must if one wants to sink borewells. This rule is not being followed. New borewells are being registered as those sunk years ago in the Department of Mines and Geology.

The farmers are taking loans to sink borewells. Each farmer has sunk six to seven borewells and they do not know what to do when they do not find water there. The absence of a proper guidance system is visible here. Neither the Agriculture nor the Horticulture Departments is helping farmers and this has also led to the over utilisation of ground water, it is said.

Since the last two-three days water flow is not continuous in these borewells. “Today, there is no water in the earth,” Kamanna of Rangapur in Madhugiri taluk said.

“Four years ago, water was available at a depth of 300 foot. But the borewell dried up
and we sunk a new on.e Now, we have got water at 1200 feet. We did not see wet soil till 870 foot,” Krishnamurthy, a resident of Yarajjenahalli in Koratagere, said.

Act only on paper

The Government of Karnataka implemented the Karnataka Ground Water (Development and Maintenance Rules and Control) Act in 2011 to prevent the overuse of ground water. But this Act is not being followed properly, the green activists said.

A study on ground water level and condition was conducted all over the State in 2013. However, the Directorate of Ground Water which is supposed to collate all statistics and publish a report is sitting on it. This, some say, has led to a setback to take preventive measures.

Meanwhile, it is said that digging of borewells for drinking water and overuse of water for horticultural crops has led to fast depletion of ground water in the district. According to a geologist, about 20-30 per cent of water being used for horticulture and farming is evaporating. More water is being let into areca plantations, he added.

Ground water can be conserved through drip and sprinkle irrigation. But there is no awareness on this, he added.

Water experts’ view

Water experts said people are digging borewells deeper and deeper into the ground to get water. One should dig the ground for just 20-30 feet once they water in a borewell. But they are digging the ground to a depth of 100-200 foot now. They are not also upgrading the power of motor pumps to lift the water from there, the water experts added.

“About five to six per cent of rain water percolates into the earth. Rain water will reach under ground water after fifty years. The ground water which are using now was collected lakhs of years ago. If water is collected in tanks, it will soon get mixed with ground water due to pressure. Therefore,all the routes through which the tank gets rain water should repaired. People should use water in a limited way and control the use of water for agriculture and horticulture,” Shafiulla, Ground Water Section, Zilla Panchayat, said.

No fine, punishment

Deputy Commissioner K S Sathyamurthy said action will be initiated against those flouting rules. But the Director of the Department of Mines and Geology or Tahsildars have not given any reports. The implementation of the Act is a very sensitive issue. No one has been fined or punished, he added.

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