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Water Supply

City’s ground water very poor in quality, says survey

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The Times of India      23.03.2017 

City’s ground water very poor in quality, says survey

| Updated: Mar 23, 2017, 01.00 AM IST

Madurai: The quality of the ground water, which is used for many purposes except drinking, in the city and its outskirts is fast degrading. While the total dissolved solids (TDS) was found to be high in deeper borewells, it was worse in shallower ones too, probably due to external contamination, reveals a survey on TDS in ground water, conducted by Rainstock, an organization working on rainwater harvesting, on the occasion of World Water Day.

Founder of Rainstock, K Sakthivel, said they had done the survey in various parts of the city for the past three weeks, and found that the TDS had increased many fold in some places when compared to the statistics obtained during a similar survey in 2015. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), any TDS concentration below 1000 mg/litre is acceptable to be used by consumers. The Bureau of India Standards (BIS) has fixed the upper limit for drinking water at 500 ppm (parts per million). TDS comprises organic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water.

The members of the organisation had also engaged students in the survey and pamphlets and questionnaires were handed over to the residents, to find the depth of their residential bores and many of them had said that they had gone for deepening of their old wells, while many houses had said that they had multiple borewells in their homes to meet their needs.

Some places like Iravathanallur, Thiruparankundram, Kochadai, Pamban Nagar, among others had a ground water level, where water was available at 250 feet. Whereas in places like Gomathypuram, Aathikulam and Jahindpuram, which were in the vicinity of huge water bodies such as the Vandiyur tank, water was available beyond a depth of 450 feet. The TDS in Gomathypuram on an average was 1704 ppm.

Many residents of the city are prone to seeking residences in places where there is a good ground water table at around 250 to 300 feet, since it would ensure that they would not have to face a water crisis during drought periods. "But, the irony is, that in places where there is copious ground water, the TDS was seen to be hovering along the danger limit during our survey," Sakthivel said.

For example, in Iravathanallur where the average ground water level was 295 feet, the TDS stood at an alarming 1237 ppm. Though the survey had not gone into the individual elements in this water, Sakthivel says that many minerals could be harmful if they exceed the limit and that the high TDS is a result of contamination from external sources including open sewage.

Another example was Pamban Nagar, which is situated near the corporation dumping yard in Vellakkal, where the ground water was available at a depth of 170 feet, but the TDS was 2,960 way above the permissible level of 1000 ppm. Residents had told the survey team that there water had been good before the dumping yard was established. Though water is available at a very accessible depth these people get their drinking water from a place eight km away.

TDS levels in areas in - 2015 - 2017

K K Nagar - 405ppm - 1208 ppm

Thiruparankundram - 717ppm - 936 ppm
Last Updated on Friday, 24 March 2017 14:42

Rainwater harvesting info centre to be set up in Madurai

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The Times of India      22.03.2017

Rainwater harvesting info centre to be set up in Madurai

| | Mar 22, 2017, 03.22 PM IST
Rainwater harvesting

 Rainwater harvesting

MADURAI: The Madurai Corporation will establish a rainwater harvesting information centre in coordination with Rainstock, an organisation that is into rainwater harvesting.

This was announced at a World Water Day event organised by the Madurai Corporation, Young Indians of CII and many other organisations here on Wednesday.

Corporation commissioner Sandeep Nanduri said Madurai was facing the worst crisis in the last 142 hours due to failure of monsoons and that conservation of water and rainwater harvesting were crucial at this juncture.

He said it was time all buildings renovated their rainwater harvesting structures that had been built as part of the Tamil Nadu government's order ten years ago.

He said the corporation would intensify activities to create awareness on conserving and saving water. The rainwater information centre would help the public gain the technical details.
Last Updated on Friday, 24 March 2017 14:39

‘Need a more sensitive approach to water planning’

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The Hindu        13.02.2017  

‘Need a more sensitive approach to water planning’

Hardly a third of Chennai’s waterbodies survive, says expert

The strategy we adopt to cope with the urban water predicament has to be different, and sensitive to the diversity of the country, said water policy expert Mihir Shah.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Urban water predicament in India: A way forward’, Dr. Shah said the nature of aquifer that underlie the towns and cities of India was different. “We need to adopt diverse strategies. Planning in India is centralised and is not sufficiently sensitive to the diversity of the land. Unless you respect the land, water planning will continue to harm the growth," he said.

Pointing to eleven key aspects required for urban water planning, Dr. Shah said people’s active participation was needed for a successful urban water planning.

“We need to protect local waterbodies. In a detailed survey of wetlands in the 1980s, Chennai had 600 waterbodies. Hardly a third of it survive now," he said.

He urged non-governmental organisations and the civic society to focus on restoration of local river systems to prevent fresh conflicts on water between the rural hinterland and urban areas.

Dr. Shah also said the there was a need for the government to create more number of urban local bodies to promote equity in distribution, participatory and decentralised waste water treatment. .

Policy expert Mihir Shah says people’s participation is pivotal for successful urban water planning


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