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Concern at overexploitation of groundwater in Cuddalore

11 February 2009

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

Seminar on groundwater management held

CUDDALORE: Because of the over exploitation of groundwater, Cuddalore is facing the imminent threat of water shortage. The recharge of groundwater and the suction ratio is 1:10 and it indicates the gravity of the situation, according to the joint findings of the Indian Institute of Public Administration and the Federation of All Residents' Welfare Association.

Resolution passed

In a seminar on groundwater management organised here, a resolution was passed urging the authorities to take all out measures to safeguard groundwater level and the aquifer.

It alleged that the units in SIPCOT Industrial Estate were unauthorisedly drawing 10 million litres of groundwater a day.

The government would rather advise the units to get their water requirements from the sea.

The government should also enter into an agreement with the prospective units to the effect that no groundwater would be tapped.

It noted that for prospecting one tonne of lignite the Neyveli Lignite Corporation was pumping out 10 tonnes of water.

Recycling water

It suggested putting the water to profitable purposes and recycling the used water. It voiced concern over the seepage of untreated effluents into the groundwater that resulted in various ailments among the residents, such as skin diseases, kidney failure and lung infection. Studies had revealed that the hydrogen sulphide content in groundwater was in excess of the permissible limit. Therefore, the seminar called for urgent measures to improve the groundwater table and to avert any possible contamination.

As a first step it must insist upon adoption of drip irrigation in the 15 km radius from Cuddalore, construction of checkdams across the Gedilam and the Pennaiyar to curtail the runoff into the sea, and to build minor reservoirs and pump in fresh water through big pipes into the ground so as to replenish the underground water level.

Sea water incursion

It further said that because of the sea water incursion into cultivable land the soil quality had suffered. Just by applying gypsum on the soil surface would not solve the problem.

Therefore, it called for evolving scientific methods to remove salinity in the soil.

Those who participated included R.Ranganathan, president, M.Marudhavanan, general secretary of the Federation, N.Rangaramanujam, district president of the Institute and K.Elangovan, BSNL official.

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