Jeevan Chinnappa

Steps need to be taken to improve the situation, say geologists

Groundwater level is low in Somwarpet taluk compared to the other two taluks

Sinking of more number of borewells and open wells may be one of the reasons for depletion

Madikeri: Kodagu is one of the highest rainfall receiving districts in the State.

However, depletion in groundwater level may become a cause for concern in the years to come if steps are not taken to improve the situation, say geologists.

Groundwater level has remained good in Virajpet taluk, going by the average in the last five years. The level stood at 10.01 metres during 2004 and went up to 12.09 m in 2005. It was 11.21 m in 2006, 12.73 m in 2007 and it came down to 10.62 m in 2008.

The average was taken as 11.33 m, Senior Geologist, Department of Mines and Geology, N.A. Harry told The Hindu. Considering the last year’s level and the average, it could be said that the groundwater level had gone down by 0.7 m in Virajpet taluk, he said.

Groundwater level in Madikeri taluk that stood at 7.5 m in 2004 went up to 8.97 m in 2005 and came down to 7.53 m in 2006. The level was up to 8.26 m in 2007 and stood at 8.51 m last year, Mr. Harry said. The average was at 8.15 m, and considering the last year’s level, it could be said that the level had slumped by 0.35 m.

The situation does not look healthy on Somwarpet taluk, where groundwater level is low compared to that in the other two taluks. During 2004, the level was 6.39 m. It was 6.89 m in 2005, 6.51 m in 2006 and 6.94 m in 2007. It was down to 5.22 m in 2008. The average would be 6.39 m, and depletion was calculated at 1.17 m, which was quite alarming, Mr. Harry said. Groundwater levels considerably went up in the three taluks in 2005 and 2007, compared to the previous years, owing to good rainfall.

Increase in agriculture activities and sinking of more number of borewells and open wells could be some of the reasons for extraction and usage of groundwater, Mr. Harry said.

Soumya, a geologist, said that run off — both surface and sub-surface — was rampant in the district, which was another reason for depletion of the groundwater level. Measures to conserve water such as construction of check-dams, vented dams and rainwater harvesting could help improve the situation, she said. As far as rainfall in concerned, Madikeri taluk received the highest average of 4,398 mm rainfall in a year, followed by Virajpet taluk with 2,390 mm and Somwarpet taluk with 1,593 mm rainfall.

In spite of heavy rainfall in Madikeri taluk, Madikeri city and a few other places face shortage of drinking water during summer. Steps to conserve may not seem an immediate necessity at this stage, but they can become mandatory in the years to come.

The Kodagu wing of the Mines and Geology Department just monitors the groundwater level in the district under various functions assigned to it, besides, involving in selection of sites to sink borewells.