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Monday, Aug 29, 2005

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Kolkata faces severe groundwater depletion

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Aug. 28

OVERDRAWAL has led to a drop in the groundwater level from five to 16 metres in central Kolkata. The drop is even more drastic in Haldia where the water table has dropped by eight to 10 metres since 1976.

According to the Centre for Groundwater Studies, over-dependence on groundwater for sustainable water supply and the reduction in the number of water bodies has led to an alarming drop in the groundwater level across the State. Moreover, since the groundwater has been tapped without any concern for quality, the majority of the population is using water with excess levels of arsenic, fluoride and salinity.

Addressing a seminar on rainwater harvesting and green buildings here on Saturday, Mr S. P. Sinha Roy of the Centre for Groundwater Studies, said that out of 341 blocks in the State, groundwater reserves had reached a critical or semi-critical condition in 75 blocks.

In 41 blocks, there is excess fluoride and in 59 blocks, which include the southern parts of Kolkata, there is excess salinity. This apart, a number of blocks have been partially affected by groundwater quality issues.

West Bengal is one of the four most arsenic-affected parts of the world. The other most affected regions are Bangladesh, Mongolia and China.

Mr S. C. Rustagi, Vice-President (Environment, Health and Safety) of ITC Ltd, said that his company has made water conservation, recycling of used water and groundwater recharge a part its corporate policy.

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