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Private water suppliers exploit groundwater sources

S. Ramesh
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Borewells in several parts of town go dry, intensifying drinking water problem

Illegal:A private tanker is being filled water from a borewell near Erode. The indiscriminate pumping of ground water by private suppliers intensifies water scarcity in Erode town. —PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN
Illegal:A private tanker is being filled water from a borewell near Erode. The indiscriminate pumping of ground water by private suppliers intensifies water scarcity in Erode town. —PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Overexploitation of groundwater by the private suppliers has left borewells in several parts of the town dry, intensifying the drinking water problem and leading to environmental hazards.

Since there is a huge demand for water, a few persons had drilled a number of boreholes in the town, particularly in the newly added areas of the Corporation, for the purpose of selling the water to private suppliers.

“Some of the boreholes in our area were drilled more than 1,000 ft deep and generators were installed to pump water from these boreholes round-the-clock. We see several tankers making more than 200 hundred trips to the town everyday carrying thousands of litres of water from our area,” R. Eshwaramoorthi, a resident in Ragupathinaickan Palayam, said.

The overexploitation of groundwater has left almost all the boreholes in the area dry, forcing the residents to depend on the private suppliers for water requirement, he added.

Though there were established norms to prevent the overexploitation of groundwater, officials in the civic body and water resource organisation of the public works department were yet to make any efforts to address the issue.

“Overexploitation will result in land subsidence, salt intrusion, aquifer depletion, water quality degradation and other environmental hazards . It is a serious problem. Water has become a big business,” admits an official in the public works department, who did not wish to be quoted.

The problem of overexploitation of water exists in almost all the parts in the district.

“Water is the most sought after commodity following the monsoon failure. A private supplier charges his customer at least Rs. 2, 000 to Rs. 2,500 per fill. The supplier pays a minimum of Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,000 to the seller of the water. If a land owner allows10 trips a day from his borehole, he earns at least Rs. 15,000. It is a huge money. So many persons have purchased generators and installed motors with the horsepower (HP) ranging from 20 to 30 to draw the water and sell it. Some of the land owners have even drilled more than two boreholes in their land and drawing water from them,” pointed out District Secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association T. Subbu.

“Groundwater is a scarce and shared natural resource. But a few individuals have built a profitable business by overexploiting groundwater,” he charged.

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