Hyderabad to be zero water table city by 2020, Groundwater use beats recharge by 140-600%

Hyderabadis are sucking dry Mother Earth faster than the Rain Gods are able to quench her thirst.

So much so, they are using up water at a rate that is 600% to 140% of the annual recharge rate of the water table in the city, the Hindu newspaper reported quoting government scientists.

“The groundwater table in Hyderabad and Telangana is going down rapidly as the extraction rate is high. On an average, Hyderabad is drawing 340% of the annual recharge volume,” the newspaper quoted Pandith Madhnure, Director of the Telangana Groundwater Department.

Even as successive monsoons, including the current one, have proved to be in deficit, overexploitation of ground water resources in various localities in the city has at the same time resulted in drastic depletion in the water table.

The Niti Ayog’s Composite Water Management Index has listed Hyderabad among the cities that will reach the zero-groundwater level by 2020 along with 20 other major cities, including Delhi and Bengaluru.  

For instance in Qutbullapur, the water table has reached 42.71 metres below the ground level (MBGL). In Medchal, it has dipped by 23.13 mbgl, and in Hasmatpet, water levels have dropped by a whopping 10.47 mbgl. In 2018, Hyderabad received 27% below normal annual rainfall calculated by the IMD, the report said.

The worst-affected areas due to sharp decline in the water level are the western and northern parts of the metropolis that include densely-populated areas like West Marredpally, Kukatpally, Jubilee Hills and Ameerpet.

Large parts of Telangana and Hyderabad are sited on Deccan Trap Basalts and Granite Basement Complex with limited permeability of water affecting the recharge rate. “The primary porosity of the ground in this region is quite less as 70-80% is hard rock. The inevitable urbanisation with asphalting and layers of concrete are altering the natural percolation process. Groundwater recharge is better when the contact time between raindrops and ground is more, else they runs off without any benefit,” says Mr. Madhnure, who cites plastic litter as one of the factors affecting the groundwater recharge.

The State average water level during May 2019 dropped to 14.56 mbgl from 12.73 mbgl in 2018 showing a decline of 1.83 mbgl. How is this dipping water level impacting the residents of the city can be seen from the uncertainty they face every summer. “We moved into this apartment eight years ago, and we recently dug a fifth bore-well in our complex. We spent ₹3.5 lakh, and luckily, we struck water at a lower level, but we dug to a depth of 335 metres,” says an apartment owner at Nalanda Colony near Upperpally.

The Composite Water Management Index by Niti Aayog on June 14 listed Hyderabad as one of the cities that would reach zero groundwater level by 2020 along with 20 other major cities, including Delhi and Bengaluru. The Niti Aayog also mentioned that this would affect about 100 million people across the country.

Read the original report here