Ground Water Directorate Director H R Ramakrishna, on Monday, said that Karnataka is in the safe-block with the use of 66% of groundwater. However, groundwater is being over-exploited in 43 taluks, he said.
The director was addressing the inaugural ceremony of an awareness programme on ‘Ground Water’, organised by the directorate, at Abdul Nazeer Sab State Institute of Rural Development (ANSSIRD), here.
He said that while 56% of the groundwater is being used for irrigation purpose, 16% is being used for drinking. With the utilisation of 66% of groundwater, the state is in the safe-block. However, out of 176 taluks in the state, groundwater is over-exploited in 43 taluks, 14 critical, 21 semi-critical and 98 taluks are in safe-block. According to the officer, using up to 75% of groundwater is safe, 70% to 90% is semi-critical, 90% to 100% is critical and usage above 100% is exploitation, as per the survey in 2013.
Unscientific usage of groundwater has resulted in deterioration of groundwater quality and there is no control on groundwater usage. For better control of unscientific and overusage of groundwater, the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act - 2011 and Rules - 2012 were implemented, he said.
Ramakrishna said that rapid urbanisation leads to exploitation. “Out of 6.8 crore population of the state, 42% people live in urban areas. The per capita demand for water is more in urban region compared to rural areas. The quality of water declines when extraction increases,” he said.
Conservation and protection of groundwater are inevitable as the state’s principal source of water is rain. Rainfall differs every year and 2/3rd of the state’s geographical area receives only on average of 750 mm of rains per annum. However, Malnad and Coastal region receive rainfall between 2,000 mm to 4,000 mm.
Ramakrishna urged the respective district administrations to cross verify the status of borewells.
He said that the district administrations send the status of wells once in three months to the Directorate and a few Deputy Commissioner’s directly forward it without verification, which leads to a problem.
Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) K Jyothi, who inaugurated the programme, said, sinking of new borewells must be avoided to conserve groundwater. She pointed out that the borewells are not being regulated in an effective manner.
ANSSIRD Director Shilpa Nag and Mining and Geology Department Joint Director B Panduranga were present.