Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Perils of urbanisation: Hyderabad is faced with the threat of degradation of groundwater beyond recoverable level in future, warn Indian researchers from German University - RWTH Aachen University

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 7: Hyderabad is faced with the threat of degradation of
groundwater beyond recoverable level in future, warn Indian
researchers from a German University.

A team of four researchers from the department of engineering geology
and hydrogeology, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, has taken up
studies on the scarcity of water resources mega cities in India would
face in the coming years. Hyderabad is one of the cities selected for
research thanks to its rapid urbanization and consequent heavy burden
on water resources.

“Considering the limited potential of hard rock aquifers, reduced
recharge and that the resource is being tapped from deeper depths,
there is possibility of degradation of groundwater beyond recoverable
level in future due to rapid urbanization in Hyderabad,” warns
researcher Hemant Wakode.

“Although groundwater is not easily contaminated, once this occurs it
is difficult to remediate, and in the developing country like India,
such remediation may prove practically impossible,” he points out in
the university’s blog, “Water and Megacities”.

Hemant has analysed a number of satellite imageries of twin cities and
neighbouring areas to find out the changes in surface as well as
ground water resources during this urbanization process to forecast
the future trend of these changes and effects on environment by using
numerical model.

The emerging scarcity of water has also raised a host of issues
related to sustainability of present kind of economic development,
sufficient water supply, equity and social justice, water financing,
pricing, governance and management, he said. The per capita
consumption of water in twin cities is 96.2 litres per day as against
200 litres recommended by the World Health Organisation.

About 11 per cent of the households in Hyderabad are already dependent
on tanker water supply. Out of this, 46 per cent are dependent on
private tankers. The results of satellite and GIS data show that
considerable decrease in the area of water during the last 20 years
due to non-implementation of the environmental laws and haphazard
planning and growth of the city.

Groundwater is under threat of degradation both by contamination and
by inappropriate use. It is observed that in general the depth to
water levels ranged between 5 and 20 metres but on an average it is
around 12 m. The general depth to water level during pre-monsoon
period varies from 5 m to 20 m bgl (below ground level), whereas
during post monsoon periods, it varies from 2 m to 15 m bgl.

He points out that the water table is depleted over the years at many
places like Bowenpally, Aghapura, Erragadda, Basheerbagh, Langar Houz,
Jubilee Hills, Begumpet, Koti, West Marredpally, Gudimalkapur,
Musheerabad, Sanathnagar, Picket and Madhapur. However, there is a
substantial rise of ground water levels in most of the localities of
Hyderabad due to the high precipitation received after 2008.

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