After heat wave, it's water scare - Lakes drying up fast: survey

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By AMIT GUPTA in Ranchi
  • Published 26.04.08
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Ranchi, April 25: If the scorching summer was not bad enough, Jharkhand is now on the threshold of an acute water crisis with authorities detecting a 30cm depletion over last year’s findings of groundwater table this year.

As a result, there has been a remarkable decrease of water level in three reservoirs around the state capital, one of them — Rukka Dam — witnessing a decrease of six feet over the corresponding period last year.

“In Jharkhand, water is available between eight and 12 metre below ground level. Over the years around 30cm decrease of water table is being witnessed by our hydrographic stations.

“Moreover, pre-monsoon groundwater level is also constantly declining as mining of groundwater through deep-borings has increased manifold,” said S.L.S. Jageshwar, acting director of groundwater wing of state water resources department.

In April last year the water level of Rukka revolved around 17ft. This year it is at less than 11ft.

Same is the condition with Gonda dam (see chart) in posh Kanke area, where many multi-storeyed buildings have been constructed in the past five years.

Raising apprehensions, executing engineer of DWSD Vipin Bihari Sinha said: “If water level decreases at this pace, supply has to be stopped within the next 15 days.

Jageshwar attributed the problem of depleting water table on overdrawing by residents of apartments and multi-storeyed buildings that have mushroomed over the years.

“People not adopting rainwater harvesting structures are to be blamed for the crisis. Recharging of groundwater level at the desired pace has not been possible, especially with Jharkhand being on a plateau where monsoon water tends to drain out fast.

The government also does not seem to be serious about implementing the highly subsidised central scheme of water harvesting, a fact revealed by the Ranchi Regional Development Authority under Right To Information Act, that only five per cent of multi-storeyed residential and commercial buildings here have rainwater harvesting structures.

It is a different matter altogether that civic authorities look the other way despite under building bylaws it is necessary to construct such structures to maintain the water table in urban areas.