Ruthless Extraction in Guwahati; Acute groundwater scarcity imminent
GUWAHATI: Many places across the State, especially Guwahati, will be facing an acute scarcity of water in the near future since there has been no replenishment to the rampant extraction of groundwater.
According to a government survey report, Assam has lost two per cent of groundwater stock (up to a maximum aquifer depth of 300 metres) that could have been used. The report also warned of the impending drought in Assam linked to overexploitation of usable groundwater stock by pumping for irrigation.
And the blame for this squarely goes to the GMDA (Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority), GMC (Guwahati
Municipal Corporation, PHE (Public Health Engineering), Guwahati Jal Board and a section of builders.
Though there is the 'Assam Groundwater Control and Regulation Act-2012' yet the GMDA, GMC, PHE and the Jal Board look the other way when various provisions of this Act are violated blatantly.
Besides the 15 lakh (approximately) of residents in Guwahati, this metropolitan city gives shelter to around five lakh flying population. Taking advantage of the utter failure on the part of government agencies, a section of unscrupulous businessmen at the individual level engaged themselves in rampant extraction of groundwater through ruthless boring for commercial supply of water. Thousands of litres of water are extracted without authorization and sold to the consumers in every nook and corner of the city. They charge Rs 300-400 per 1,000 litres of water. This is happening under the very nose of those at the helm of affairs.
A number of households in the city also bored wells in sheer violation of the relevant Act; and that too, beyond the permissible depth of boring. In 2018, permission from Guwahati Jal Board was made mandatory for borewell or deep water boring in Guwahati. But who cares?
This is not all. According to the Act, apartments and high-rise buildings in the city are supposed to have adequate rainwater harvesting facilities. However, in blatant violation of the Act, apartment owners go for deep-well boring to meet the necessity of water of the flat owners. Mystery surrounds as to how they get it done. This corroborates the allegation that none of the authorities concerned monitors the violation of the relevant Act.
According to government reports, (i) rampant pumping of groundwater, (ii) boring beyond the permissible limit of depth, (iii) rampant human habitation atop hills not allowing the ground to absorb rainwater and (iv) absence of the rainwater harvesting concept etc., are responsible for the increasing threat of groundwater scarcity.
As if to make things worse, a number of water-supply projects have been under construction in the metropolitan city for years together. The existing water-supply projects in the city can cater to the needs of around 50,000 households.
The situation in the metropolitan city is a perfect recipe for an acute groundwater crisis in the days ahead if the rampantly exploited groundwater is not replenished in a proper and scientific way. Will the authorities at the helm of affairs rise to the occasion? Over the years they have been overlooking it.
Amit Shah's Kokrajhar Visit Security Arrangements in Place, 400 CCTVs Installed