Tamil Nadu government’s initiatives to encourage rainwater harvesting in the state seem to have paid a rich dividend as the groundwater situation in as many as 20 districts has shown significant improvement.
While improved groundwater situation for July 2015 shown by the PWD’s State Ground and Surface Water Resources Data Centre may seem like the consequence of more than average southwest monsoon rains, the state is notorious for letting much of the rainwater go to the see and suffer acute shortages in summer.
Indeed, the improved groundwater tallies with the weather department statistics that shows as much as 20 districts received either normal or excess rains this monsoon season that began two months ago. Theni district bordering Kerala is a case in point. It received 146 mm rains against its average of 55 mm and has seen its groundwater levels take a 180 degree turn from -4.5 metres last year to 4.74 metres above ground this time around.
An encouraging piece of information for Cauvery delta farmers, who wager a great deal on the river water released by neighbouring Karnataka, is the considerable ups in groundwater in the delta districts. Levels in Thiruvarur went up by 2.5 metres, in Thanjavur 0.41 and in Nagapattinam 0.6 metres above ground.
One district where the surge in rainfall levels did not tally with the groundwater is Nilgiris, where it dipped by 0.09 metres despite the district registering 20 per cent more rains than last year. “Improvement in groundwater this year is largely owing to the rain harvesting methods adopted by people who dreaded the return of the drought they suffered two years ago,” said a senior official from the PWD’s water resources wing. “Initiatives by the government to implement rainwater harvesting programme with people’s help has made an impact, despite much of the rainwater draining into the sea,” he said.