HYDERABAD: Situation of groundwater in Hyderabad is becoming precarious and warrants immediate attention of government before it worsens. Excessive amounts of rainfall occurring in the city is not translating into good rise in the groundwater levels in Hyderabad. In the 2017-18 water year, which is the period from June 2017 to May 2018, Hyderabad received 1,123 millimeters (mm), which is 44 per cent higher than normal expected rainfall. It was also the highest rainfall among all districts in Telangana.
However, as per figures obtained from Telangana state ground water department(TSGWD), in May 2018 the average groundwater level of Hyderabad was 9.39 metres below ground level(mbgl), which is a meager 0.47 metres rise from the 9.86mbgl recorded in May 2017, at the end of 2016-17 water year.
Similar was the condition last year, when Hyderabad recorded rainfall that was almost 38 per cent higher than normal but the resultant improvement in groundwater level at the end of May 2017 was a minuscule 0.15 metres, from being recorded 10.01mbgl in May 2016 to 9.86mbgl in 2017.
The condition was better in Hyderabad a decade back, when increase in rainfall in the city would result in a decent rise in groundwater levels. For example, between June 2007 and May 2008, the rainfall was almost 25 per cent higher than normal and it resulted in a rise of 1.82 metres in groundwater, from 10.79mbgl in June 2007 to 8.97mbgl in May 2008. Even as recently as in May 2014, when rainfall recorded was about 40 per cent more than normal in Hyderabad between June 2013 and May 2014, groundwater improved by 2.26 metres, from 11.4mbgl in May 2013 to 9.14mbgl in June 2014.
Why is this happening
TSGWD, Director, Dr. Pandith Madhnure said, “There are a variety of factors behind as to why the recharge of groundwater is not reflective of excessive rainfall city is experiencing. One of them is the change in rainfall pattern.
“The number of rainy days are decreasing and the city is experiencing more and more of short-duration-high intensity rainfall. As a result, the rainwater does not get enough time to percolate into the ground. The number of rainy days has decreased by close to 7 to 8 days in a year between 1988-2016.”
Dr Madhnure added, “Open spaces in the city are also declining due to rapid urbanisation and increase in area under concrete and asphalt, resulting in lesser area every year for rainwater to percolate into the earth. In addition, there must also be an increase in groundwater extraction.”