Groundwater levels drop by 2.9 metres in three regions of AP

According to Ground Water department officials there is continuous decline in groundwater levels across three regions --Telangana, Rayalseema and coastal areas of the state with deficient rainfall and large-scale extraction of groundwater for agriculture purpose cited as the main cause for depletion.

Between November 2009 and June this year (pre-monsoon), the average fall of water levels in the state stood at 2.9 metres with the water table going down by 3.84 metres in Telangana region; Rayalseema recording a fall of 3.58 m while the Coastal region of 1.42 metres, a senior official of the Ground Water Department told PTI.
Besides, an analysis of average depth to water levels in the state from the year 2000 to 2010 (pre-mosoon period) also indicated that there is a fall of 2.18 metres from 2000 to 2005, followed by a rise of 4.89 m upto 2008.
But, the present trend in average depth to water levels indicated a fall of 2.5 m in the state from May 2008-May 2010.

As many 3,449 villages of the 26,000 villages in the state have been notified as over-exploited (determined on ratio of extraction/recharge) under the Andhra Pradesh Water, Land and Trees Act (WALTA), while out of 1,229 Groundwater micro watersheds 132 are classified as over-exploited, 89 critical and 175 as semi-critical and this is a cause of concern, the official said.
The state has witnessed an uneven rainfall pattern with deficient rainfall of 25 pc during June 2009-May 2010.

"There is decrease in recharge to groundwater mainly due to less rainfall which has resulted in more dependence on groundwater and that is how depreciation in groundwater levels is happening," the official explained.
This year some areas have received good rainfall and a rise in water table is observed, though it is premature to say whether the decline in last year can be made up this year, the official said.

He said 80-85 pc of area in AP is underlined by hard rock and not amenable to hold water and hence there is lowering of the water table as there is run-off of water despite rains.
Giving details on the groundwater scenario in the state, another official said the entire Rayalseema region has witnessed long-term depletion of ground water since 1990 and about eight lakh dug-wells have almost dried up, though they work only seasonally.
All districts in Rayalseema and some in Telangana besides Prakasam district and up-line areas in coastal Andhra Pradesh have been identified as depletion-prone areas.

Demand (usage) for groundwater is increasing year by year with irrigation sector accounting for 85 pc groundwater extraction while industries and drinking water adding for the remaining 15 per cent in the state, the official said adding there are more than 26 lakh wells across Andhra Pradesh with addition of 50,000 new wells annually.
"Though, groundwater depletion is continuing, but efforts to improve management of ground-water resources are underway through artificial recharge measures for harvesting rainwater.

District water management agencies have taken up water conservation through watershed basis and construction of check dams, farm ponds have helped to stabilise further fall in groundwater table in the past decade by over 50 per cent," the official added.

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