Groundwater is depleting day by day due to rapid urbanisation: Experts

ST Correspondent
Monday, 28 May 2018

The groundwater level is depleting slowly in India because over a number of years, urbanisation has increased drastically, said Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director of Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) and Shashank Deshpande, groundwater scientist and former deputy director (R&D) of GSDA during a seminar on groundwater recharging and rainwater harvesting. 

Pune: The groundwater level is depleting slowly in India because over a number of years, urbanisation has increased drastically, said Himanshu Kulkarni, Executive Director of Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) and Shashank Deshpande, groundwater scientist and former deputy director (R&D) of GSDA during a seminar on groundwater recharging and rainwater harvesting. 

Kulkarni said, “The reason behind depleting levels of groundwater is due to rapid urbanisation as the natural groundwater recharge points have been closed down, due to which the recharge has stopped. In rural areas, the scenario of recharge is completely opposite. In one square kilometre area there should not be more than eight wells but in some districts of Maharashtra, the well density is more than 16. Deeper aquifers are being accessed and the situation is serious.” 

The only solution, Kulkarni said, is that, housing societies should come together and make a public recharging system. The civic body should take up this initiative and spread awareness among people. 

Deshpande described how urbanisation grew from 1990 to 2016. He said, “Urbanisation should take place, but while making plans of the Smart City the governing body must consider groundwater as a central part of their developmental plans. Going ahead, planning groundwater use by balancing demand and supply of water, ensuring equity in distribution and sustainability of the resource by involving formal organisations and citizens need to be done on a larger scale in the cities.” 
He said, “There are ways by which societies do not have to depend on water supply from the civic body which includes rooftop water pits, sediling chambers and water filter and groundwater recharging.” 

A seminar and interactive sessions with two hydrogeologists were organised by Pimpri Chinchwad Cooperating Housing Societies Federation and Pimpri Chinchwad Citizens Forum on Sunday. Housing societies of Pimpri-Chinchwad are keen on knowing more about groundwater recharging and rainwater harvesting as they have to pay for the water tankers. Corporators of Wakad area Tushar Kamthe and Rahul Kalate were present along with NGOs including Centre for Environmental Education, Mission Groundwater, and Angholichi Goli.

‘No monitoring of situation’
Shashank Deshpande, groundwater scientist and former deputy director (R&D) of GSDA said there are 6.5 lakh rural areas and around 6,000 urban cities in India. There are around 40 millions borewells in India, but neither the government of India nor the State governments are aware of it and do not have any mechanism to monitor it.

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