Maharashtra’s groundwater levels going down fast, contamination rising

The vigorous exploitation of groundwater has severely impacted its levels and quality in Maharashtra, with nearly 20 districts showing presence of heavy metals in excess of the maximum acceptable concentration.
The intake of such metals can cause serious damage to health.
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) carries out groundwater monitoring four times a year on a regional scale through a network of observation wells in the country.
Comparison and analysis of pre-monsoon water levels in 2017, collected by the CGWB, with the average water level seen in the decade between 2007 and 2016, indicates a decline in about 57 per cent of observation wells in the state.
A total of 1,487 such wells were selected in Maharashtra for observation.
Of these, 667 – 43 per cent – showed a rise in water levels, but 887 – 57 per cent – showed a decline.
The levels of heavy metals, including lead, cadmium and chromium, were found to be exceeding the maximum acceptable concentration.
Its water bodies are spread over 3.83 lakh hectares.
There has also been severe over-extraction of groundwater in the state.
The number of such wells recorded in the first census was 5 lakh, suggesting a four-fold increase in a period of less than 30 years.

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