With water needs increasing and the city getting most of its water supply from far-off reservoirs, part of the needs are met with the help of groundwater. But in a year with deficit rainfall, borewells have dried up, making residents look for alternatives and in the short-term, buying water. But once the scarcity situation has been overcome, the conservation aspect takes the back seat.
The district is better placed when compared to some others in the State, as far is rainfall is concerned. In the water year 2011-12 (June to May), rainfall suffered from a 29 per cent deficit as compared to the normal level of 1202 mm.
“But it is 50 per cent more, compared to districts like Anantapur, Kurnool, and Kadapa, where the normal rainfall itself is around 600 mm,” points out Deputy Director, State Groundwater Department, K.S. Sastry. That year, the groundwater levels experienced a fall. Against the decadal average of 8.07 m, the district average in May, 2012, was 9.09 m. In the divisions too, the fall was evident. In Visakhapatnam division it was 9.33 m and in Paderu it was 10.22 m, with the exception of Narsipatnam at 7.48 m.
But more rainfall in 2012-13 changed the situation. Against the decadal district average of 8.07 m, the level in May was 7.6 m. In Visakhapatnam division it was 7.17 m (average 7.12 m), Narsipatnam 6.37 (8.44 m) and Paderu 9.67 m (9.61 m). The levels have either improved or marginally fell because of the rainfall during the year, particularly under the influence of the Nilam cyclone. It received 1303 mm, 8.4 per cent more but still normal because only deviations beyond 20 per cent are considered deficit or excess.
It shows that when there is more rainfall the aquifers are in a condition to absorb the water, Mr. Sastry points out. In every 10 to 12 years, three to four years will be rainfall deficit years. To tide over them it is quite important to conserve water when the rain is good rather than panicking in deficit years, he says.
Mr. Sastry says in view of the aquifer condition too conservation measures are necessary. The aquifers in the district can be classified as moderate to poor. When there is rain they absorb fast showing improvement. But they can’t hold it and depletion is also fast. That’s all the more reason to take up conservation measures widely, he emphasises.