‘Disconnect between surface water and groundwater’

‘Disconnect between surface water and groundwater’

M S Mohan Kumar, Professor, Dept of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Is over-exploitation the only reason for low groundwater levels?

While the current situation is largely human-made, there are also geological factors contributing to low groundwater levels. There is a disconnection between surface water and groundwater which is also a reason for poor groundwater levels in the state.

Can you throw some light on groundwater contamination?

Contamination is of two types — geogenic and anthropogenic. Geogenic is because of the rocks, like fluoride. Arsenic is another contaminant found in water caused by Arsenopyrite and fly ash. Other contaminants like nitrates, phosphates, lead and mercury are found in groundwater because of sewage and heavy metals. While the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is supplying treated water, there is no check on the water supplied by private water tankers. Their source is also not known, which is a matter of concern.

What role can the government play?

The growth rate is very high in the state and infrastructure is not planned to keep pace. Water, as a subject, should have been decentralised long back. Also, instead of focusing on long-distance channels to supply water, the government should focus on local works and multi- village schemes. Water quality is another aspect that should be addressed immediately. Mapping can be done and technology can be used to treat fluorides. The government should focus on places where rainfall is less than 500 mm. Here citizens and government should work in tandem to recharge groundwater directly.