Vijayawada: The falling groundwater level in the city has become a huge problem. The city, which has expanded in recent times after the announcement of the capital, has recorded an alarming depletion in groundwater resources, much to the dismay of the citizens.
Despite the presence of the River Krishna and three major irrigation canals that pass through the city, many areas have noted a drastic drop in groundwater levels. Groundwater resources in the city used to be accessible at a depth of 25 feet; but now even borewells that go up to 150 feet are not able to draw water.
Statistics from the Chief Minister’s core dashboard are also indicative of the dire conditions. The groundwater level at Enikepadu was at 17.249 meters in May 2016, and it has now fallen to 18.795 meters.
At Kanuru it was at 16 meters in May 2016, and has now reached 18.94 meters.
Depletion is particularly prominent in areas on the outskirts of the city, such as Ramavarappadu, Prasadampadu, Kanuru, Penamaluru and Vanukuru. Old borewells in these areas have dried up and locals have to dig new ones going up to greater depths.
“We usually a face problem with our 40-feet bore well during the summer; but this year it dried up in January, and we had to dig a new bore well that is 120 feet deep,” said Jasti Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Enikepadu.
Irrigation experts say that the lack of water downstream of the Prakasam barrage is the major reason for the depletion of groundwater in the city.
Deputy director of the groundwater department Vara Prasad Rao said that the Krishna delta experienced less rainfall, and that people managed with the available water resources. He said that the lack of water downstream and in the delta canal network system was the reason for the depletion of groundwater.
Urbanisation has also been blamed for the depletion of water resources.
“Vertical growth of cities, and development over agriculture land on the outskirts of cities will also affects the groundwater levels,” said Vara Prasada Rao.
Campaign launched to make Krishna plastic-free
Amaravati Boat Club (ABC) has launched Plas-tic-Free River Krishna campaign in association with the department of tourism. The ABC, which has entered into an MoU with the state government to develop a tourism project in Vijayawada, officially launched its boats at Punnami Ghat on Wednes-day. Principal secretary of tourism N. Srikanth inaugurated the boats.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Srikanth said that the government was keen on encouraging tourism in the state. He said the tourism department wants to encourage as many operators as possible in River Krishna to run the tourist boats.
“We are having 37 boats belonging to various companies, including the tourism department and the ABC will start operations when the fleet strength will become 47,” he said.
He also said the tourism department was in talks with the irrigation officials to obtain permission to operate tourist boats up to Pavitra Sangamam from Prakasam barrage. Mr Srikanth pressed for plastic-free River Krishna and appealed everyone to take part to ensure the premises is clean.
The ABC has come up with an idea to give fishing nets to the people who come for boating. Those who fish the plastic from the river will be given special prizes, said managing director of ABC, Tarun Kakani. He said the ABC would further expand its operations in the days to come.