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Groundwater level in Gawahati may slip to critical stage

Mar 6, 2024, 06.44 AM IST

Guwahati: The level of groundwater in Guwahati has remained in “semi-critical” stage since 2022 as depletion continues under the pressure of increasing urbanisation and population in the biggest city in northeast.

An official of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) cautioned that the current trend of extraction of groundwater can lead to a “critical” stage, indicating a water crisis in the city if no corrective measures are taken.

Groundwater level in the most populous city in the region touched the critical stage for the first time in 2022 and since then there has been no improvement, revealed assessments done by the CGWB in around 60 estimation stations across the city, a board official said on Tuesday.

Significantly, groundwater in the city, which is located on the banks of Brahmaputra river, is extracted only for domestic use. The groundwater resource is assessed within the tentative boundary of the city every year in March.

The hill areas of the city with more than 20% slope, do not come under the estimation process.

“The groundwater resource is estimated based on the infiltration of rainwater out of total rainfall received in the estimated area, and how much of that infiltrated water is extracted for use and infiltration of rainwater differs in different locations based on the soil texture and other geographical factors,” the official said.

He said the depletion started gradually in the city over the years and rapid urbanisation and population growth in recent times have mutually contributed to the depletion.

“With progressing time, urbanisation and concretisation have increased manifold in the city, due to which the infiltration of rainwater through the ground has decreased to a large extent. Also, extraction of groundwater has gone up rapidly in the city with the increase in population,” he said.

There is some positive development as the JICA-assisted water supply projects in the city are progressing which is likely reduce people’s dependency on groundwater to a great extent.

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