HYDERABAD: It may sound hard to believe, but Telangana has 530 tmcft of dynamic groundwater reserve, which is equivalent to the combined storage capacity of Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam projects.
Due to the proactive measures taken up by the State government, the groundwater recharge has increased and the extraction has reduced to just 50 per cent after the formation of the State. Thus, around 50 per cent of the groundwater, out of the 530 tmcft available, will remain untapped. This was revealed by the results of a latest survey that is carried out once in three years.
According to the survey report, the net annual groundwater available in Telangana is 530 tmcft in the dynamic zone (shallow aquifer), i.e, up to 300 feet. Another 500 tmcft water may be available in the static zone (deep aquifer), i.e., between 300 feet and 1,000 feet. According to the Telangana State Ground Water Department Director Pandith Madhnure, the extraction of groundwater was just 50 per cent in the State, whereas the all India average is 61.6 per cent.
Of the 530 tmcft groundwater available, 36 tmcft will be used for domestic and industrial purposes and 236 tmcft for agricultural purposes. As per the previous survey conducted in 2016-17, the groundwater recharged in the State was 440 tmcft. “The groundwater extraction was 65 per cent in 2016-17 and it has reduced to 50 per cent now,” Madhnure said.
The groundwater table has increased because of the policies of the State government to fill up the minor irrigation tanks, rejuvenated under Mission Kakatiya, with river waters. If the extraction of groundwater is up to 60 per cent, it is considered safe. It is considerate to be moderate, if the extraction is between 60 to 70 per cent, and dangerous if the exploitation of groundwater is above 70 per cent.
Of the 33 districts in the State, 20 are in the safe zone, six are in the moderate zone and another seven districts are in the over-exploitation zone. While Asifabad and Macherial are tapping only 25 per cent of the available groundwater, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Nizamabad, Mahabubabad, Jangaon, Nizamabad and Sircilla are extracting over 70 per cent of it.