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Maharashtra villages facing widespread groundwater depletion

A total of 3,186 villages are experiencing a drop in groundwater levels of between two metres to three metres

pune Updated: May 04, 2019 14:48 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Maharashtra,villages
These are the latest findings of the state groundwater surveys and development agency (GSDA) which will soon be published in GSDA’s annual report for 2018-2019. (Image used for representation purpose only)(HT/PHOTO)

Groundwater levels in 2,642 villages in Maharashtra are at least three metres below normal, as of March 2019. A total of 3,186 villages are experiencing a drop in groundwater levels of between two metres to three metres; and 8,380 villages have the groundwater level down by between one metre and two metres below normal.

These are the latest findings of the state groundwater surveys and development agency (GSDA) which will soon be published in GSDA’s annual report for 2018-2019, said II Shah, additional director, GSDA.

“Farmers pumped a lot more water during the entire year (2018), as we received deficit rainfall. Specifically, rabi crops were cultivated entirely on irrigation water and not on rainwater. As a result, we have seen this increased groundwater depletion level by end of March,” said Shah.

As per the GSDA report, groundwater depletion is the most widespread in Marathwada, with 72 tehsils reporting a drop of at least a metre in levels. This is followed by Amravati (55 tehsils) and Nashik (52 tehsils).

In terms of number of villages affected, the GSDA report states that 5,145 villages in the Marathwada region and 3,099 villages in the Amravati region are affected by this decline in groundwater levels.

Shah added, “Now farmers are waiting for the monsoon season. Until then, ground water levels are likely to be at risk.”

On one hand, groundwater levels in the state are depleting very fast and on the other hand, a majority of dams in the state are running dry. According to the state water resources department, Maharashtra has only 18.51% of ‘live’ water stock in a total 3267 dams as of May 3,2019, as against 29.95% on May 3, 2018.

The state government has deployed 4,774 water tankers for supply of drinking water in affected areas. Of these 4,774 water tankers, 2,534 are operational in Marathwada; 1,149 in Nashik division; and 757 in the Pune region.

Groundwater depletion in Maharashtra

Villages

> 1m 14,208

>3m 2,642

>2m to 3 m 3,186

>1m to 2 m 8,380

First Published: May 04, 2019 14:47 IST