BHUBANESWAR: At a time when the State Capital is experiencing one of the driest periods in recorded history, its groundwater level is dropping at an alarming rate, thanks to rampant construction activities in the City.
This apart, expanding concrete surface and minimal measures to recharge the underground water have led to shrinking of the City’s water table.
Indiscriminate drilling of bore wells and lack of rainwater harvesting pits are some of the reasons for groundwater depletion in the City. Despite Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA)’s provision that a housing project should have a water recharging pit, hardly any developer in the City adheres to it, a senior BDA official said.
“Even in the plan, we demarcate a spot where the pit should be built. But the provision is violated usually,” the official said and added that less than five per cent of the multi-storey apartments in the City have ground water recharging pits.
There are around 1611 apartments under BDA’s jurisdiction which house a population of 1.5 lakh. Going by the standard per capita consumption of 150 litres per day, apartment residents consume 2.25 crore litres of potable water. The entire population depends on groundwater tapped though bore wells.
There are around 20,000 Government quarters housing a population of one lakh. The per capita water consumption of this population is a whopping 295 litres a day, which is supplied by the Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO).
On the other hand, while potable water is used for gardening purposes in these Government quarters, the slum dwellers in the City are deprived of basic water requirements during summer. The four lakh slum population is the worst affected by the inequitable distribution of water. They survive on bare minimum as the pipe water supply and stand-posts are not always dependable and are a shared source. They are forced to resort to unhygienic shallow wells which leads to outbreak of jaundice and other water-borne diseases.
Population rise has led to rise in over-exploitation of groundwater as well as pollution load on sub-soil. Bhubaneswar is a high rainfall zone which witnesses 150-160 millimetre rain in a year. “Concrete structures, roads and pavements lead to surface run-off of rain water. Groundwater recharge by rain water is very negligible, Associate Town Planner Samarendra Jenamoni said.