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Rise in groundwater level in Chennai, says study

K. Lakshmi

— Photo: N. Sridharan

The good rainfall in the last few years has helped in filling the temple tanks that are main sources of groundwater recharge. A view of the Marundeeswarar temple tank in Thiruvanmiyur.

CHENNAI: The average groundwater level in the city has witnessed an increase by two metres in the past six years. The quality of groundwater has also seen an appreciable improvement, according to a recent study of Chennai Metrowater.

The average water table in Chennai was 5.42 m during 2005. Successive years of sustained normal rainfall and maintenance of rainwater harvesting system have contributed to the steady rise in the level, according to water experts.

The average annual rainfall recorded every year since 2005 was above 1,300 mm.

A total of 759 observatory wells across the city were monitored for the study. The water quality has also improved significantly in the last few years.

The level of total dissolved solids that ranged between 400 parts per million (ppm) and 1,800 ppm across the city in 2005 saw a marked decline last year with the TDS level ranging between 200 ppm and 900 ppm. The permissible limit of TDS is 500 ppm.

According to the study, there was a marginal rise in the water level in December 2010 compared to the previous year.

Groundwater level was at 2.33 m in 2010, 0.25 m more than the level in the previous year.

Sources at the water agency said there was now scope only for a marginal increase in the water table as it had almost reached its saturation owing to consistent rainfall. The dependence on groundwater had also come down as Metrowater has stepped up its daily supply.

The water level in sandy areas such as Tiruvottiyur, Mylapore and Thiruvanmiyur rose by 0.85 m last year. The level in clay areas, including Perambur, Vadapalani and West Mambalam, increased to 2.24 m in December compared to 2.65 m during the same period the previous year.

However, hard rock areas such as Guindy and Velachery recorded a slight decrease in the water table by 0.47 m last December.

Local weather phenomenon was cited as reason for the dip in the level.

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