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Drilling borewells will be asking for disaster

Mumbai: With freshwater supply restricted owing to poor monsoon this year, the attention has now shifted to exploiting various groundwater reserves. However, going deep into the ground will not help as digging new borewells could have a disastrous impact in the long run.
Scientists connected with the Central Ground Water Authority have warned that digging more borewells, without assessing the quality and quantity of groundwater, could lead to further decline in the ground water table.
The city already has over 6,900 borewells, of which 2,000 were dug in the last six years, senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) hydraulic department said.
A state-run Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) expert said that over-exploitation of groundwater would result in salty water entering the land areas which may lead to infrastructure damages.
To add to that, the BMC will literally be digging in the dark.
Till date, no comprehensive survey has been carried out to ascertain the quality and quantity of the ground water found in the city, admitted additional municipal commissioner Anil Diggikar.

While the ideal level to find water beneath the ground is 100 feet, civic officials said that no water was found until 250 feet at some places where borewells were dug.
Moreover, civic officials did not discount the presence of excessive bacteriological and chemical pollutants in the ground water owing to the presence of the sewerage lines above the ground water table. Excessive contamination could lead to a spurt in water borne diseases including malaria, jaundice, typhoid and cholera.

While Diggikar said that the borewells will be dug only at places where fresh water is found, civic officials questioned the need for digging activity. Natural and artificial injection wells (recharge units) could be put up alongside existing wells to tap ground water, a senior official said.

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