Continual poor rainfall in 2012 and 2013 is threatening to force a drinking water scarcity in Karur district. Geologists warn that groundwater level is plummeting to unprecedented danger levels in the district.

The annual average rainfall in the district is 652.20 mm, with southwest and northeast monsoon being the main contributors. However, in the last two years, the average rainfall has been below normal. The month-wise rainfall recordings (all in mm) during 2012 indicate that January registered 2.5, February 0.59, March 0.18, April 83.16, May 88.7, June 7.44, July 3.46, August 41.09, September 40.37, October 192.06, November 67.4 and December 1.16 mm for a total of 527.6 mm rainfall, much less than the normal average of 652.20 mm.

During 2013, the rainfall recorded indicate that January experienced 0.08 mm, February 27.06, March 4.01, April 18.71, May 46.99, June 3.44, July 0.33, August 0.33, September 99.34, October 102.03, November 72.24 and December 40.33 mm totalling 488.01 mm rainfall for the year. As a saving grace in 2011, the total rainfall recorded during the year was 723.62 mm but again it was not phased uniformly throughout the year.

Deficient rainfall in successive years, absence of adequate and regular water flow in River Cauvery and its branch channels have all hit the water table. ``In many areas , bore wells had to be sunk to a depth of 1,000 feet and beyond. Many who have sunk bore wells complain of failures after some time,’’ aver S.Thanigaivel, a rig operator from Karur.

Even in the greener Kadavur belt in the southern parts of the district, water that was available at 350 feet has now gone below 700 feet. Imagine the plight of parched regions such as Aravakurichi and K.Paramathi, remarks research geologist R.Mohandoss, who has been studying soil conditions in the district for a decade now.

It is disturbing that the infiltration ratio has gone down significantly as a result of mindless removal of gravel from the surface of the irrigation channels, pond, and lakes.

Due to that groundwater recharging has taken a severe beating as water runs away without being absorbed by the ground to recharge the water table, he explains.

We have a bigger problem at hand on the drinking water front if summer does not bring in some rains or 2014 follows the same pattern of the previous two years, he warns.