The dry spell after a bad year does not augur well for the future

With the rain deficit scenario that hit the district last year persisting this year too, groundwater levels have further dipped. This June turned out to be a deficit month with 76.3 mm of rain received against the normal of 128.66 mm.

That this comes on the top of a bad year does not augur well

The average groundwater table level in the district at the end of June is recorded as 9.65 m while in Visakhapatnam division it was at 10.34 m.

But the levels in the areas surrounding the city have gone down alarmingly. At Parawada, an industrial hub, the level at the end of June was 20.05 m, more than double the district average, at Pendurthy 18.86 m, Shivajipalem, in the heart of the city, 13.27 m and Steel Plant 11.61 m.

The fall in level in June, 2012 at 10.34 m, was quite drastic compared to the June 2011’s 5.61 m.

“But comparison with the June 2011 level is not correct,” says Deputy Director of Groundwater K.S. Sastry. The June 2011 position came after a year in which 500 m more than the normal rain was received.

In 2011-12 the district recorded a deficit rainfall of 29 per cent against the normal of 1202 mm.

Visible impact

Its impact is quite visible. The average depth in Visakhapatnam division in February 2012 was 6.33 m, much better than the present 10.34 m. Similarly, Narsipatnam recorded 7.82 m, higher than the 6.33 m in February 2012. The agency area of Paderu shows improvement climbing down from 11.13 m in February to the present 10.11 m. Mr. Sastry says the data from the piezometers for 10 years has been analysed and the district average is 8 m.

In his view, if the levels are around 8 m, the water levels are good.

Mr. Sastry says the situation in Narsipatnam and Paderu is relatively better as they come close to the decennial average.

The drastic fall in water levels owing to excessive use of in growing urban areas like Pendurti and Parawada could be countered through only conservation, says he.

He admits that drought conditions prevailed and this has been presented to higher authorities at district level. The only way out, he suggests, is rainwater harvesting.

He compares the situation here to that obtaining in Rayalaseema and Telangana.

In both the regions the rainfall after deficit is around 500 m to 600 m.

But water conservation measures are being adopted there.

The Groundwater Department suggested that rainwater harvesting be taken up in a big way as a conservation measure.

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