Hyderabad: The groundwater department of Telangana state has identified 65 overexploited villages where groundwater has been extracted by more than 100 per cent of the recharge capacity.
The department is now developing about 181 recharge shafts in five districts in the state. Proposals have been sent to the government for constructing 700 recharge shafts across the state in the second phase. Recharge shafts send the water directly into the ground making absorption easier.
The groundwater department has identified all the 65 overexploited villages in the districts of Nagarkurnool, Jangaon, Siddipet, Karimnagar and Sangareddy and construction of recharge shafts has started. Of the 181 shafts proposed, 42 have been completed.
All the recharge shafts are being constructed at the existing check-dams in those areas where infiltration is difficult because of the black cotton soil, clay, and shallow basement areas.
The groundwater department considers usage of 70 per cent or below of water from the full recharge as a safe zone, 70 to 90 per cent usage of groundwater makes the zone semi critical, 90 to 100 per cent usage is considered as critical stage and more than 100 per cent usage is considered overexploited.
According to recent reports for the month of December, 2018, 9.3 per cent of the state's area has groundwater reserves available at 20 metres depth from the bed ground level.
In only 13.7 per cent of areas is the groundwater found at less than five metres depth. Attention is thus concentrated on the 9.3 per cent area for the recharge shafts.
V. Prakash, chairman of the Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation, told Deccan Chronicle, “There was no activity to increase the groundwater level earlier. Importance was given to the groundwater department after Telangana was formed. Till 2016 there were about 1,600 overexploited villages in the state. As the pilot project in Nalgonda has been successful, we have included 65 villages in the first phase. The government has sanctioned budget allocation of `70 crore to continue the programme and we have sent proposals of `10.5 crore for the second phase to build 700 recharge shafts and now they are at the approval stage.”