‘Using it for industrial purposes should be avoided’

The Federation of Tamil Nadu Agriculturalists Associations and the Tamil Nadu Toddy Movement have made an appeal to the government to initiate steps that would protect groundwater.

“Groundwater should be treated as government property, similar to the control measures over groundwater in a few developed countries,” the federation’s Secretary C. Nallasamy said.

“Groundwater should be used for drinking purposes only. Using it for irrigation and industrial purposes should be avoided. About two decades ago we could get water at a depth of 20 feet from the ground level. But now there is no water in the borewells that are drilled far beyond 1,000 feet in depth. This is clear indication of a fall in the groundwater level,” he observed.

He told journalists here on Wednesday that drilling more borewells and drilling them deeper is not the solution for the drinking water scarcity faced by the people.

“Our State is in a rain-shadow region where the annual rainfall has steadily dropped over the last three years. On the other hand, polluting industries are established close to rivers and other water bodies, and have shrunk potable water availability,” he lamented.

“These scenarios have pushed us to a situation where we have to buy drinking water. Packaged drinking water is a business in the State. It is high time the Tamil Nadu Government takes appropriate steps on a war footing for protecting the available groundwater and protecting rivers and other water bodies,” he added.

Mr. Nallasamy also made an appeal to the government to give compensation to farmers growing coconut trees.

“The government promoted coconut cultivation with slogans claiming that the perennial crop will help farmers reap big returns. But they did not educate farmers that the tree lacked drought resistance.

“Lakhs of coconut trees got completely dried due to unavailability of water during the last three years. The Government should make up for the losses incurred by farmers who cultivated coconut tress, by giving the farmers adequate compensation without further delay,” he said.