Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Aug 11, 2004
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Money & Banking - General Insurance
Borewells won't drill a hole in AP ryots' pockets anymore
Hyderabad , Aug. 10
IF a borewell has to be drilled in Andhra Pradesh, it is now mandatory to get the site cleared by a hydro-geologist of the Ground Water Department or an approved private geologist.
The borewell site should be insured before drilling is taken up. In case of failure, the drilling firms should claim compensation from insurance companies.
These rules framed by the Government come close on the heels of the reports of suicides by farmers due to failure of borewells. They are expected to curb the indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater resources in the State.
The State Government incorporated these rules by amending provisions of the Water, Land and Tree Act (WALTA), 2002.
The State Groundwater Department, which conducted a detailed study on the utilisation of groundwater and the depths of water levels during May 2004, has categorised 512 mandals in the State as `stressed' and 209 as `safe'.
The stress mandals are in the districts of Chittoor, Kadapa, Anantapur, Prakasam, Nizamabad and Mahabubnagar. The district administration has been informed about the need to recharge and the steps to be taken, according to a press release from the Groundwater Department.
The availability of fast drilling rigs and electrification of villages has dramatically increased the usage of groundwater in the past three decades in the State.
The number of wells has increased from 8 lakh in 1975 to 22 lakh in 2004. The area irrigated by groundwater rose from 10 lakh hectares to 20 lakh hectares. The density of wells has increased from 2 wells per sq. km to 20 wells per sq. km, leading to a decrease in sustainability of the wells.
Unlike surface water for irrigation, which is in the public sector, groundwater irrigation is almost entirely in the private sector. Hence, there is no control over groundwater exploitation, the Groundwater Department said.
On resource availability, the department said at the end of 2002, the net availability was 32,000 million cubic metre (MCM), net utilisation was 15,500 MCM and the balance 16,500 MCM, the release said.
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