Inadequate rain this year and increased dependence have taken a toll on the groundwater table in the city. The average groundwater level has dipped by one metre in Chennai in June compared to the same period last year, according to a study by Rain Centre, a voluntary organisation.
As water resources, including the city’s major reservoirs, have remained scarce for the past two years, the city is being supplied with 650 million litres on alternate days. This has led to people extracting more groundwater to bridge the gap in Metrowater supply.
The average water level in the city has dipped to nearly 6.4 metres below ground level this June compared to the same month last year. In Anna Nagar and Virugambakkam, the water level has dipped to nearly 7 metres below ground level. The water table remains between 5 metres and 6 metres below ground level in Mylapore, Chamiers Road and Koyambedu.
The Rain Centre monitors the water level in nearly 90 wells across the city. According to the centre’s volunteers, the water table varies in each location according to the extraction level and the condition of the soil. The fall in the water table has been marginal in wells in the Chetpet, T. Nagar and Adyar areas.
“This is not at all alarming and groundwater resources have been helping residents tide over the water crisis this year,” said Sekhar Raghavan, the Rain Centre’s director. “Residents must realise that there is greater need to harvest even the summer rains. Most people fail to harness driveway runoff, which finally drains into stormwater drains,” he said.
The Rain Centre is advocating building more open wells to enable residents to tap shallow aquifers and also putting up recharge wells in public places. It is also pushing for better maintenance of rainwater harvesting structures.