|A devotee praying at the famous Kumbh Mela at Allahabad.
Allahabad, the city located at the Sangam, or confluence, of the Ganga and Yamuna is in the grip of a water crisis. The first strata of underground water level has almost disappeared. A majority of wells have been covered and ground water is receding each year. In several localities the residents have been deprived of drinking water.
Population explosion in the area is the main culprit, though problems like the century-old water connections, leakage and over exploitation of groundwater also contibute. As per UP Jal Nigam officials, in the year 1951 UP's population was around five crores. The per capita water availability was 5,690 cubic metre. In 2002 the population has touched 16 crores while the per capita availability of water reduced to 1,778 cubic metre. As per a World Bank report 44 blocks were declared over-exploited, 171 critical and 54 semi-critical. The use of hand pumps and tube wells has led to such a situation, they added.
A state government report states that water consumption in urban and rural sectors is about 1.4 million acre feet (maf) and 2.1 (maf) respectively. The projected requirements are about 2.6 maf and 3.7 maf for the urban and rural population.
The ground water level is receding. Jal Sansthan is supplying 210 million litre per day (mld), while there is a requirement of 300 mld water. The first strata of underground water level has almost disappeared, while the second layer which controls the ground is being bored for installation of hand pumps. Around 50 multi-stories buildings and complexes have been constructed in the heart of the city in the past five years. But no buildings have provisions of recharging the ground water. Allahabad Development Authority has never objected on this point while approving the map.
In the rural areas the water table has receded in 20 blocks. A senior agriculture officer said around 30,000 tube wells were bored in Allahabad division in the past two decades. No awareness camp was organised among the farmers for recharging the ground water. A decreasing number of wells and ponds have been a major reason in depletion of the underground water.
After a survey Chail, Chaka, Handia, Karchana, Manjhanpur, Muratganj and Urva blocks in Allahabad and Kaushambi districts have been declared dark blocks as underground water level in these blocks has declined to a critical level.