As groundwater depletes, drought looms over State

11,487 villages in 167 tehsils may face water scarcity: GSDA survey

Ground reality:Between October 15 and 21, as many as 380 water tankers were used across the State.File Photo
Ground reality:Between October 15 and 21, as many as 380 water tankers were used across the State.File Photo

With the number of tankers supplying water increasing in the last one month, a survey by the government’s groundwater surveys and development agency (GSDA) has warned of a water scarcity in 11,487 villages of 167 tehsils in the State.

In its 2018-19 report, the GSDA, which comes under the department of water supply and sanitation, has said the study of the groundwater level (in comparison to the level in October in the last five years) has shown that of the 353 tehsils in the State, 13,984 villages in 252 tehsils have shown a decrease by more than one metre.

“Of these, 3,342 villages have shown the drop by more than three metres, 3,430 villages have recorded between two and three meters, and the drop in 7,212 villages is between one and two metres,” the report said.

Between October 15 and 21, 380 tankers were used across the State, against 91 tankers in the corresponding period last year. A week prior to that the number was 354, and 329 tankers were used in the first week of October.

Water storage in dams in Marathwada region has reduced to merely 24.45% compared to 69.77% last year, and that in north Maharashtra has dropped to 64.11% from 84.14%. Collective water storage in all dams across the State has come down to 62.17% against 76.32% in 2017.

“Maharashtra is facing a serious situation in October itself. Water level has considerably dropped. After good spells of rain, the area under sugarcane increased, and it was coupled with lack of water management. This has taken a toll on water situation,” Pradeep Purandare, former associate professor, Water and Land Management Institute, Aurangabad, said.

The government has already announced a cabinet sub-committee to look into announcing drought. Opposition parties have criticised the State for not acting swiftly to make the announcement.

By Alok Deshpande

Post source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-otherstates/as-groundwater-depletes-drought-looms-over-state/article25282557.ece

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