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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 05 March 2024 1.00 AM IST

Groundwater depletes in four districts; Kerala expects water scarcity in upcoming years

groundwater

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If the rains do not come, the groundwater in the state will recede and potentially vanish. Irregular monsoons and hot summers are causing a decline in the groundwater table. Wells are running dry even before summer arrives, which poses a serious threat to the availability of drinking water. The Groundwater Department has received reports indicating that the groundwater level is already dropping in certain areas of Kasaragod, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts.

The availability of usable groundwater is constrained by the rate of water infiltration into the soil through rainfall and natural water sources. According to a report from the Groundwater Estimation Committee under the Union Ministry of Water Power, 97.68 percent of the groundwater in Kasaragod block has been exhausted. In Chittoor, Palakkad district, 95 percent of groundwater resources have been utilized. In Balussery block, Kozhikode district over 80 percent of groundwater has been depleted. Once groundwater usage exceeds 80 percent, it becomes a critical situation. In 2005, Kasaragod, Kozhikode, Chittoor (Palakkad), Kodungallur (Thrissur) and Athiyannoor (Thiruvananthapuram) were identified as 'overexploited' areas. By 2017, most of these areas except for Chittoor and Kasaragod, had returned to a safe status.

Now, areas that were once considered safe have transitioned into semi-critical zones. The Land and Water Department estimates that without further rainfall, these areas will become serious water scarcity zones within a month. Stringent restrictions have been imposed on digging tube wells in areas identified as overexploited. Unfortunately, these restrictions tend to vanish once an area is deemed safe again.

The depletion of groundwater can be attributed to several factors:

1. Commercial use and the widespread use of tube wells.

2. An increase in the number of wells as the number of houses increases.

3. A decrease in agriculture, leading to disappearing fields.

4. Filling of fields and wetlands.

To prevent further groundwater depletion, the following actions are essential:

1. Implement strict controls on groundwater usage.

2. Implement groundwater recharge schemes.

3. Enforce controls on groundwater extraction.

Rainfall from June to August (in centimeters) by district along with the required and actual rainfall and the percentage shortfall:

Thiruvananthapuram.......... Required - 66.6 cm................Gain - 35.6 cm............................Shortfall - 47%

Kollam...........................Required - 103.1 cm...................Gain - 66.2 cm..............................Shortfall - 36%

Pathanamthitta............ Required - 132.1 cm................... Gain - 85.8 cm..............................Shortfall - 35%

Alappuzha....................Required - 137 cm....................... Gain - 92.8 cm..............................Shortfall - 32%

Kottayam.....................Required - 161 cm....................... Gain - 75.9 cm................................Shortfall - 53%

Idukki..........................Required - 220.3 cm.....................Gain - 82.7 cm................................. Shortfall - 62%

Ernakulam..................Required - 179.6 cm...................... Gain - 104.2 cm............................... Shortfall - 42%

Thrissur......................Required - 183.8 cm....................... Gain - 88.9 cm................................. Shortfall - 52%

Palakkad................... Required - 134.9 cm........................Gain - 62.2 cm..................................Shortfall - 54%

Malappuram..............Required - 170.2 cm....................... Gain - 87.4 cm................................. Shortfall - 49%

Wayanad.................... Required - 220 cm..........................Gain - 92.2 cm..................................Shortfall - 58%

Kozhikode....................Required - 227.3 cm......................Gain - 99 cm......................................Shortfall - 56%

Kannur......................... Required - 234.9 cm.....................Gain - 157.2 cm................................. Shortfall - 33%

Kasaragod.....................Required - 257.6 cm.................... Gain - 172.8 cm..................................Shortfall - 33%

Groundwater utilization categories:

Above 95% utilization - Overexploited

Above 80% utilization - Severe

50-80% utilization - Partially dangerous

Below 50% utilization - Safe

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TAGS: GROUNDWATER, DEPLETES, INC, FOUR, DISTRICTS, KERALA, WATER, SCARCITY, EXPECTED, UPCOMING, YEARS
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