Groundwater plummets in Cauvery’s heartland

Borewells in most parts of Mandya district, the heartland of the State’s Cauvery basin, are either drying up or yielding less as the groundwater level has been alarmingly depleting owing to intense pumping and successive droughts.

The latest data based on a study by the Directorate of Groundwater, which works under the Department of Mines and Geology, states that groundwater level has precariously plummeted in six out of seven taluks in Mandya district in the last three years.

To study the rise and fall in groundwater table, ‘Observation Wells’ have been drilled at 72 places across the district. The fluctuation in the water level is being monitored twice a month through the wells.

According to the study, the situation has worsened in Nagamangala taluk with the groundwater table dipping by 8.8 metres since July 2016, officials at the directorate told The Hindu. In Maddur taluk, water level has surprisingly increased by 1.73 metres since July 2016, while it has depleted from 1.01 metres to 3.94 metres in the other five taluks during the same period.

The absence of rainwater harvesting, intense pumping of groundwater, scanty rainfall, failure to fill lakes, deepening of borewells, and insensible use of water have attributed to the depletion of groundwater level in the district, the officials said. The flow in Shimsha that had dried up for several years, and filling up of lakes and farmers’ preferences to cultivate non-water intensive crops are some of the reasons that improved the groundwater level in Maddur taluk in the last three years, they explained.

The total area under cultivation in the district is 2.49 lakh hectares. Scanty rainfall and consecutive droughts since 2012 have prompted several thousands of farmers to drill/deepen borewells, besides drying up the waterbodies. Hence, the groundwater level has been dropping, said the Irrigation Department officials.

Several hundreds of borewells in Nagamangala and K.R. Pet taluk have already gone dry or gone as deep as 900-1,200 feet because of the depletion of groundwater level, Shambhunahalli Suresh, district president of KRRS, said. The Mines and Geology Department has underlined the urgent need for preserving rainwater and preventing exploitation of groundwater.


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