High extent of rabi aside, water table remains healthy in March in Telangana

Crop cultivation on higher extent has impacted availability in six districts, it has decreased compared to last year

Cultivation of crops on higher extent this yasangi (rabi) season compared to the last rabi season has impacted the groundwater table, which otherwise is in improved position this March in the State compared to the same period last year, in six districts.

The depletion of groundwater table during the previous one month, between February and March, has been highest this year during the last six years.

According to officials, the depletion this year has been almost one metre (0.99 metres). The depletion during February-March in 2020 was 0.81 metres, 0.87 metres in 2019, 0.93 metres in 2018, 0.78 metres in 2017 and 0.49 metres in 2016.

The rabi crops are cultivated on over 16 lakh acres higher extent across the State as the total sown area was a record 68.15 lakh acres against 52.22 lakh acres last year. The extent does not include cultivation of vegetables and plantation crops.

In six districts where the groundwater table has gone down they are sown on higher extent by over 1.14 lakh acres.

According to the groundwater statistics released for March this year, the average groundwater table in the State is 8.35 metres below ground level against its average availability at 10.51 metres in March last year. Although the average groundwater level is up by 2.16 metres, it availability has gone deeper in the range of 0.09 metres to 1.16 metres in six districts.

The districts in which the groundwater table has ducked the Statewide trend include Jayashankar-Bhupalapally (-0.09 metres), Nizamabad (-0.31), Nirmal (-0.57), Mancherial (-0.71), Adilabad (-0.85) and Jagityal (-1.16).

Except in Bhupalapally, the actual rainfall in 2020-21 water year (June 1 to May 31) in the remaining five districst has been less than the normal, although it was normal technically as deviation up to 19% is considered normal.

However, the groundwater availability has improved phenomenally in seven districts in the range from 4.47 metres to 8.11 metres. The districts where the availability of the resource has become comparably easy include Narayanpet (4.47 m), Mahabubnagar (4.72), Vikarabad (4.94), Jogulamba-Gadwal (5.99), Medak (6.73), Rangareddy (7.93) and Sangareddy (8.11).

The average groundwater availability has also improved considerably in Medchal-Malkajgiri (3.67 m), Yadadri-Bhongir (3.58), Siddipet (3.54), Nagarkurnool (3.45) and Nalgonda (3.39).

In Hyderabad it has improved by 2.27 metres with the average availability at 7.12 metres below ground level this March compared to the same period last year.

Officials of Groundwater Department stated that extraction of groundwater, mainly for agriculture, had increased the deep water level area where the availability of groundwater beyond 20 metres below ground level has increased by 330 sq km in a month’s time – from February to March this year. However, the decadal deep water level, in terms of area, has decreased to 1,651 sq km in March from 7,302 sq km, the average deep water level area during 2011-2020.

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