The State government has decided to constitute a separate groundwater authority by the first week of April.
The new authority will have the power to take action against property owners who have not registered their borewells in the city and other notified areas of the State, and will prevent the overuse of groundwater.
Official sources say it will be headed by the deputy director, ground water, in the Mines and Geology Department. The authority will function from the present mines and geology office here till a separate office is allotted.
The Karnataka Ground Water Act 2011 was enacted to regulate the use of groundwater in the state. On the basis of a study by the Mines and Geology Department, the government had notified 35 taluks including Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram, Kolar, Chikballapur and parts of Tumkur as overexploited areas. According to the findings, people were drawing 200 per cent of the groundwater recharge potential in these areas. Therefore, water levels had depleted considerably, the study said.
The government then made it mandatory for property owners who have sunk borewells in the notified taluks to register them with the specified authority, and also banned the sinking of borewells without permission. The Act also made it mandatory for drilling equipment owners to register the rigs used to sink borewells.
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) was authorized to register the borewells in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike areas and a senior geologist in the taluk was authorized to register the borewells in other taluks.
Despite revising the deadlines for registration repeatedly, only 30 per cent of the borewells in the notified areas have been registered. According to estimates, there are around 4 lakh borewells in Bangalore. But only 60,000 have been registered with the board, said BWSSB’s engineer-in-chief T Venkatraju. According to the Mines and Geology Department, very few borewell owners have registered their borewells in the other notified areas.
Therefore, the government decided to constitute a separate groundwater authority.