Groundwater depletion needs urgent attention

The evening showers on Sunday brought much- needed respite from the heat. But the groundwater level is cause for concern.

The newly-added areas, which include Gomathipuram, Melamadai, Vandiyur and Thiruppalai, are facing acute water shortage due to groundwater depletion.

"The depth of the bore-wells sunk has increased from 25 feet to 450 feet in the last 30 years," said Professor A.C. Kamaraj, founder of the National Waterways Development Technology (NAWAD TECH).

"At the rate at which the groundwater reserves are depleting, we might have to dig at least 5000 feet deep to find water after 10 years," he said.

For the 20,000-odd residents of Gomathipuram, water supply is a daily struggle. Borewells dug up to 500 feet are running dry. So are the taps fitted in most houses.

Scant rainfall is an obvious factor. But so is mismanagement.

The city corporation supplies water through tankers to the dry areas. But the supply is erratic and residents are clueless about tanker arrivals.

"As a result, we are forced to spend anywhere between Rs.2,000 and Rs.4,000 per month for water delivered by private parties," a resident of Anna Nagar said.

"We need a better system in place where the timings and location for supply should be regularised so that residents know when and where the lorries visit," he added.

City Engineer A. Madhuram blames population increase in the newly added areas as well as scarce rainfall for the water shortage.

"There is filling and transportation time involved in the case of water tankers and, therefore, there are unprecedented delays when they reach the designated areas. We are working on a system to regularise timings," he told The Hindu .

Many residents in the areas around the Vandiyur tank have pinned their hopes on initiatives to restore the tank. .

The Gomathipuram Thendral Nagar Residents Sangam proposes to pressure the authorities to de-silt the Vandiyur tank.

"If the tank is ready for the coming monsoon, the water collected will help in recharging the groundwater table and will give us some respite," said T Baghavathy, member of the Gomathipuram residents association.

"We also believe that water from Karuppaiyurani can be brought to the tank through a channel near the Vikram Hospital," he added.

"The depth of the bore-wells sunk has increased from 25 feet to 450 feet in the last 30 years"

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