High salinity, fluoride levels found in groundwater in many districts of Andhra Pradesh

Lead was detected in Kadapa and Visakhapatnam, while chromium was found in Kadapa.
High salinity, fluoride levels found in groundwater in many districts of Andhra Pradesh

VISAKHAPATNAM : A recent parliamentary disclosure by Minister of State for Environment, Forests, and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey shed light on the toxic elements found in groundwater across various States. He pointed out that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) currently monitors groundwater quality at 33 locations in Andhra Pradesh.

The latest assessment of groundwater under the National Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NWMP) in 2023 indicates that out of the 33 locations, 25 comply with the acceptable fluoride levels set by the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) Drinking Water Specifications IS:10500:2012, while eight locations do not meet these standards. With concern to arsenic levels, 32 locations comply with the acceptable limit, while one does not.

As many as 23 districts have reported high salinity, which is indicated by Electrical Conductivity (EC) above 3,000 micro mhos/cm.

These districts are Anakapalli, Anantapur, Annamayya, Bapatla, Chittoor, East Godavari, Eluru, Guntur, Kakinada, Konaseema, Krishna, Kurnool, NTR, Palnadu, Prakasam, Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore, Sri Satyasai, Tirupati, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, West Godavari, and YSR Kadapa. Fluoride levels above 1.5 mg/l have been found in 19 districts —Alluri Sitharama Raju, Anantapur,

Annamayya, Bapatla, Chittoor, Guntur, Krishna, Kurnool, NTR, Palnadu, Prakasam, Srikakulam, SPS Nellore, Tirupati, Sri Satyasai, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, West Godavari, and YSR Kadapa.

‘Heavy metals present above permissible limits in specific areas’

Additionally, Nitrate levels above 45 mg/l have been detected in 24 districts such as Alluri Sitharama Raju, Anakapalli, Anantapur, Annamayya, Bapatla, Chittoor, East Godavari, Eluru, Guntur, Kakinada, Konaseema, Krishna, Kurnool, Parvathipuram-Manyam, Nandyal, NTR, Palnadu, Prakasam, SPS Nellore, Tirupati, Sri Satyasai, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, West Godavari, and YSR Kadapa.

While arsenic levels exceeding 0.01 mg/l have been reported in seven districts -- Anantapur, East Godavari, Krishna, Prakasam, Guntur, Kurnool, and Nellore — iron concentrations above one mg/l have been found in 12 districts - Vishakhapatnam, Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool, Chittoor, Kadapa, Prakasham, Anantapur, East Godavari, Vizianagaram, and West Godavari.

Certain heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, and chromium, were also present above the permissible limits in specific areas. Lead was detected in Kadapa and Visakhapatnam, while chromium was found in Kadapa.

Emphasising the collaborative efforts between the Central and the State governments to address groundwater quality issues, the Union minister noted that while water resources fall under the purview of State governments, the Centre, too, plays a catalytic role by providing technical support and occasional financial assistance.

“To address water quality concerns, the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has undertaken initiatives such as aquifer mapping, innovative cement sealing techniques, and groundwater quality data generation. Awareness programmes on groundwater protection and safe water use are conducted periodically. Additionally, the CPCB has implemented industry-specific discharge standards and stringent norms to regulate concentrated waste. Guidelines for the utilisation of treated effluent in irrigation have been issued, and States have been requested to take actions like sealing contaminated wells and providing alternate drinking water supply in affected areas based on the 2020 assessment of groundwater quality,” he added.

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