ANANTAPUR: The drought-prone Anantapur district (undivided) has lost 3,614 TMC of rainwater in the last 22 years. From the year 2000 to 2022, the district has received 4,518 TMC of water of which only 12 per cent, that is 541.9 TMC of water retained in the form of groundwater. Of the remaining water, 40 per cent of water was run off, another 40 per cent was lost through evaporation and another eight per cent was in the form of soil moisture.
Though the district boasts several tanks of different capacities, none of them got filled to the brim in any of the seasons, in the past 22 years. Anantapur has a good number of medium irrigation tanks like the Upper Pennar Dam, Mid Pennar Dam, Penna Ahobhillam Balancing Reservor, Chagellu, Yogi Vemana, Subbaraya Sagar, Jeedipalli, Gollapalli, Cherlopale reservoirs, which have a total capacity between 15 to 20 TMC of water. Using traditional sources of water like medium and minor tanks, the district can store about 40 TMC of water.
K Tippe Swamy, deputy director of the groundwater department, Anantapur stated that in the erstwhile Anantapur district, there were about 194 piezometers which recorded the rainfall in the district. “As per its calculation, only 12 per cent of rainwater has been retained as groundwater.”When asked about the effective measures which can be implemented to harvest rainwater to its maximum capacity, retired deputy engineer and irrigation expert, Panyam Subrahmanyam said that it can only be possible by constructing more subsurface dams.
“A subsurface dam is constructed below ground level and captures the flow in a natural aquifer. The best sites for the construction of groundwater dams are those where the soil consists of sands and gravel, with rock or an impermeable layer at a few metres depth. In the erstwhile Anantapur, there were about 1,300 water bodies and around 2000 ponds, which when put together can hold 20 to 25 TMC of water. Ensuring water in them will increase the groundwater table,” he explained.
He further emphasised constructing subsurface dams and underground reservoirs in Kumudvathi, Hagari, Penna and Chitravati river course regions, which will address the drinking and irrigation water needs of the district.