Monday, 17 April 2006

Ecological crisis in India: Change in rain pattern in Ranga Reddy district

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 17: A severe ecological crisis is looming large over the neighbouring Ranga Reddy district with a change in rain pattern and steep fall in groundwater table in several places.
This summer is going to be worst-ever dry season in the past one decade what with 70 per cent of the borewells and surface water bodies drying up early. As Rangareddy district surrounds Hyderabad, the adverse environmental impact is likely to be felt equally on the State Capital.
Water levels in and around Hyderabad city have gone down almost by five metres over a period of two years. The fall was quite steep during 2004-2005 due to excessive drawal of underground water and the failure of the rainwater harvesting structures.
Earlier, borewells used to go dry only during summer. Now most of the dug wells remain dry throughout the year. According to a research study by Indo-French Ground Water Project, even electric motors, in many areas in Ranga Reddy district where the study was carried out, pump water for 45 seconds and run without water for the next 60 seconds.
The study noted that there had been a shift in the climatic conditions in the area. "Both time and space variability of rainfall has changed and it is becoming unfavourable. Ponds and tanks have become evaporative bodies. Fluoride levels in groundwater are much higher than the WHO safe limit for drinking for the whole year", the report stated.
The research study reveals that since the underground system and the problem associated with it is complex, heterogeneous and variable, corrective measures do not work and if they do, they are not foolproof.
Most of the rainwater harvesting structures constructed by the previous Telugu Desam government have failed to deliver the goods and even the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India has found fault with the State government for its bad planning and execution.
All over the State the fall in the ground water levels ranged from five to 10 metres with Kadapa, Chittoor, Anantapur, Mahbubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Prakasam districts being the worst affected.

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