Alarmed by depleting groundwater levels, state officials have directed all divisions, districts, tehsils and blocks to observe ‘Groundwater Week’ starting July 16. The directions came after 179 out of nearly 820 development blocks in the state were found to be in the exploited/critical category due to massive groundwater extraction.
According to the groundwater resource assessment of 2011, 111 of the state’s development blocks are categorised as over-exploited, 68 as critical and another 82 as semi-critical.
Out of the four blocks of Ghaziabad, Loni, Razapur and Bhojpur are in the over-exploited category. The state government has now asked the week from July 16 to be observed as ‘Groundwater Week’ in order to create awareness about increasing groundwater recharge.
“To save groundwater and increase recharge, we have already revamped 38 out of 40 identified ponds in areas near river Hindon. We have also identified another eight such ponds that will be taken up soon. To prevent massive extraction in villages, we have started piped water supply to 27 villages. Work on a proposal for 10 more is in process,” said Krishna Karunesh, chief development officer, Ghaziabad.
“However, in urban areas, water extraction needs to be tackled by agencies like municipal corporations. In the absence of any policy, there is no check on water extraction. The corporation should propose a policy that penalises those involved in excessive extraction of groundwater,” he added.
Residents of highrises too are facing water supply problems due to falling groundwater levels.
“The boring in our highrise was around 80 feet in 2009. We have had to re-bore nearly 250 feet to get water. There is a massive extraction of water going on for construction activities,” said Alok Kumar from Arihant Harmony highrise, Indirapuram.
“There is absolutely no check in rampant withdrawal of groundwater by boring pumps and submersibles. Water mafia is minting money by setting up illegal extraction units and supplying water to industries and even in residential areas, at a cost. Massive concretisation too has depleted groundwater recharge,” said environmental activist Akash Vashishtha.