HYDERABAD: With the blistering summer drying up water resources and monsoon failing for the second consecutive year, residents are sinking borewells illegally, leading to fast depletion of ground water table.
While many residents are sinking borewells, neighbours, residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) and environmentalists complain that borewells are drying up due to overexploitation of groundwater.
“We have been urging residents to desist from sinking new borewells as there is a very bleak chance of getting water now. While we could convince some, many ignore our advise. We have been repeatedly making requests to mandal revenue officer (MRO) not to give permission to sink borewells during summer season. But no action has been taken. As a result many borewells have gone dry in the city,” said V Suresh Kumar, president of Anandbagh Welfare Association.
For instance, in Anandbagh locality alone, as many as 20 borewells were sunk during the past 15 days. Most of them failed to yield water. All these borewells have a depth of not less than 500 ft thus putting severe stress on the ground water resources.
“We have never witnessed such a severe water crisis in Hyderabad. Even the public borewell in our colony which has a depth of 650 ft has gone dry. While we used to get water at around 400 ft during last winter, the ground water level has plummeted to 700 ft now. Therefore we appeal to the residents and also request officials to take steps to stop sinking borewells till the summer is over,” said Suresh Kumar.
A severe water crisis is looming large over the entire Greater Hyderabad. Residents have to get permission from MRO concerned to sink a borewell. As it is difficult to convince residents to stop drilling borewells, Resident Welfare associations want officials to stop giving permission to new borewells, till the summer ends.
According to an observation of United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations (UFERWAS), at least two borewells are being drilled in each colony or residential area in the city, every night.
Besides bleak chances of getting water, sinking of borewells burns a hole in the pocket of residents as it costs not less than `40,000 to drill a borewell with a depth of 300 ft. In spite of the cost factor, more borewells are being sunk as the water crisis has worsened in parts of the city.
When contacted, a senior official of Hyderabad Revenue department admitted that they are not able to deny permission for new borewells due to pressure from applicants.
In this situation, the residents associations and environmentalists are urging revenue and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials to put a moratorium on drilling borewells until summer is over and step up supply of water through tankers.
“No one can stop residents from sinking borewells if they take permission and stick to the rules. But in view of the severe drought prevailing this summer, government should think of putting a moratorium on sinking borewells till the summer is over. Instead they should supply more water through tankers. Even residents have a responsibility in this regard,” said Subash Chandra Reddy, a water conservation activist and founder of Smaran, an NGO working in the field of water conservation.
■ Around 80 per cent of new borewells fail to yield water
■ Residents, RWAs, environmentalists want moratorium on sinking new borewells
■ At least two borewells being sunk per day in each RWA limits
■ Revenue officials fail to curb illegal sinking of borewells