Three residential blocks in Ghaziabad see alarming decline in water table
The 2022 groundwater assessment report released by the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department last year categorises the four blocks of Loni, Razapur, Bhojpur and Ghaziabad City as “overexploited”, and the Muradnagar block as “semi-critical”
The densely populated residential blocks of Ghaziabad City, Loni and Bhojpur blocks continued to experience a decline in the groundwater level in 2022, figures released by the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department has shown.
Two other blocks, Muradnagar and Razapur, registered a minor improvement in water level in the pre-monsoon period of 2022 as compared to pre-monsoon figures of 2016, the figures showed.
According to the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department, Ghaziabad city witnessed the highest decline at 6.13 metres below ground level (mbgl) in the pre-monsoon period of 2022 as compared to pre-monsoon period of 2016.
The second highest decline, of 5.46mbgl, was witnessed in Loni block during the same period. In Bhojpur, the water table declined by 2.37mbgl, the department said.
The figures show that Muradnagar and Razapur blocks witnessed a minor increase in groundwater level of 1.4mbgl and 3.3mbgl, respectively, in the pre-monsoon period of 2022, as compared to the pre-monsoon figures of 2016.
The figures for Ghaziabad City block reveals that major localities in the city have declining groundwater levels in the pre-monsoon preiod of 2022.
The figures indicate that groundwater level has declined by about 12.77mbgl in Vijay Nagar, 9.28mbgl in Sahibabad, 9.5mbgl in Lajpat Nagar, 7.99mbgl in Prhaladgarhi (Vasundhara), 7.61mbgl in Vaishali and 6.15mbgl in Kavi Nagar, among others.
“The groundwater level is on a regular and rapid decline due to illegal extraction; there is hardly any dependence on recycling and reuse. Every other household in the water stressed blocks have installed submersible pumps/motor pumps to extract water for daily use. This scenario has severely impacted the groundwater level,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist and lawyer.
The 2022 groundwater assessment report released by the Uttar Pradesh groundwater department last year categorises the four blocks of Loni, Razapur, Bhojpur and Ghaziabad City as “overexploited”, and the Muradnagar block as “semi-critical”.
“Overexploited” units indicate areas where groundwater extraction exceeds the annual replenishing recharge. In these areas, ground water extraction is more than 100%. The “semi-critical” units are those where the groundwater extraction is between 70% and 90%. The status of the five blocks has not changed since the previous assessment conducted in 2017.
“The city has several water bodies such as ponds, etc., which have been encroached on and there is hardly any enforcement done on regular basis to free them up. The existing water bodies need to be preserved; otherwise, the city will face severe water issues in the future,” said Sushil Raghav, a city-based environmentalist.
In December 2021, the Ghaziabad municipal corporation conducted an internal survey and found that 63 of 100 residential wards in the city do not meet the requirement of 135 litre per capita per day (lpcd) while the other 37 wards have surplus water being supplied by the agency.
The survey stated that residential wards face a supply deficit of about 107.02 MLD -- the production is only 264.75 MLD while the daily demand is 371.78 MLD.
The drinking water supplies are replenished through two operational Ganga water treatment plants of 50 cusecs and 100 cusecs capacity, while a third one, with 50 cusecs capacity, is likely to get operational soon in Ghaziabad.
These plants receive supply from the Upper Ganga Canal and supply water to Noida and Ghaziabad.
“We are focussing on awareness among citizens for preserving and make judicious use of water. Further, about 110 water bodies, of the existing 850, have been revived and rejuvenated in the district.
The water extraction no-objection certificates are only renewed for industrial units that already have them and new ones are only given to MSME [micro, small and medium enterprises] units as per the government’s policy. The rooftop rainwater harvesting units are mandatory in industrial units that have area of 300 square metres or more in order to recharge groundwater resources,” said Hari Om, executive engineer from UP minor irrigation department and nodal officer for district groundwater council.