50 recharge wells will be dug for the purpose

‘Care for groundwater before it becomes rare,’ ‘catch the water — where it drops,’ ‘harvesting rain water - harnessing life’ — these slogans on rainwater harvesting by the Directorate of Town Panchayats have apparently caught the imagination of the Erode City Corporation for improving groundwater level.

On Wednesday, the civic body initiated the process for using Sadayampalayam tank, one of the biggest out of 15 water bodies in its jurisdiction, for harnessing rain water and recharging aquifer, with Rs. 2.5 crore funding from the State Government.

Mayor Mallika Paramasivam; Deputy Mayor K.C. Palanisamy; Corporation Commissioner M. Vijayalakshmi; and other senior officials took part in a puja conducted at the tank site to formally inaugurate the works.

Over the next six months, the tank would be deepened and beautified.

Fifty recharge wells would be dug deep into the ground from the surface of the deepened water body to recharge aquifer, said Executive Engineer of City Corporation K. Arumugam.

The work would be carried out in the tank on an over seven-acre expanse with the amount sanctioned from the Infrastructure Gap Filling Fund during 2013-14, he said, adding that the other tanks would gradually be taken up for development in future.

Through the process of artificial recharge, the groundwater reservoir would be augmented at a rate exceeding the extent that could be obtained when stored on surface, sources said.

Rain water harvesting has become essential in the city limits because, surface water has become inadequate to meet water needs of the residents. On an average, the groundwater level stands at 11 metres deep during rainy season and winter.

But the level dips drastically during summer months, causing acute water scarcity. Rapid urbanisation has diminished the scope for rain water to infiltrate into subsoil and recharge groundwater.

The 50 recharge wells of 150mm diameter for storing rain water in deeper aquifer would make possible groundwater availability at all times, Mr. Arumugam said.

Construction activities have caused drying up of water bodies due to reclamation of tanks for conversion into housing plots. The Sadayampalayam tank is ideally located as a collection point for the storm water run-off from the surrounding residential localities.

Water managers worldwide emphasise on harnessing rainwater to recharge aquifer since groundwater is not only a reliable and sustainable source to meet drinking needs, but also is relatively less vulnerable to pollution.

Groundwater that has no turbidity or colour is usually of high bacteriological purity, is free of pathogenic organisms, and needs little treatment before use, knowledgeable sources said.

Once the work is completed, Sadayampalayam tank would also serve as a recreation spot with a lawn, platforms on the bund and steps from the bund leading down to water, said Mr. Arumugam.