SPPU Study Reveals Significant Rise in Groundwater Levels in Pune District’s Water-Stressed Villages – Pune Media
Pune, 11th September 2023: A comprehensive study undertaken by the Geology Department at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has uncovered a notable increase in groundwater levels, ranging from approximately 15 to 30 centimeters, in water-stressed villages across 13 talukas in the Pune district. This encouraging rise in groundwater levels has been attributed to the construction of trench-cum-recharge shaft structures, strategically implemented to address pressing drinking water shortages in these regions.
The research report, titled ‘Impact Assessment of Trench-cum-Recharge Shaft Structures constructed in water-stressed villages across 13 talukas of Pune,’ has been submitted to the Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP). The primary objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of these structures in replenishing groundwater resources.
Professor Bhavana Umrikar, an Associate Professor of Geology at SPPU, emphasized the critical importance of rainwater harvesting and efficient water resource management, particularly in rural areas of Maharashtra heavily reliant on groundwater for drinking water.
Trench-cum-recharge shafts, strategically placed in 103 villages across the Pune district, have emerged as an efficient and cost-effective means of recharging unconfined aquifers overlain by poorly permeable strata. These structures comprise a recharge shaft within a recharge pit surrounded by filter media. The shaft itself boasts a diameter of 0.5 meters and reaches depths ranging from 25 to 30 meters. Their strategic placement targets areas with shallow aquifers or an upper soil layer composed of alluvial or less permeable materials.
The study’s initial findings indicate a significant rise in groundwater levels during the first year of assessment. However, researchers recommend further evaluation over one or two additional hydrological cycles to confirm the long-term impact. It is essential to emphasize the routine maintenance of these trench-cum-recharge shaft structures to ensure their continued effectiveness in bolstering aquifer recharge and providing consistent drinking water supplies to these villages.
Professor Umrikar underscored the importance of ongoing monitoring efforts, encompassing rainfall analysis, trends in groundwater levels, and the frequency and duration of tanker water supplies in water-stressed communities. These measures aim to quantify the role of recharge shafts in alleviating water scarcity.
The Pune ZP, having received the research report, recognizes the value of impact assessment studies for recharge structures. It acknowledges the necessity of generating before-and-after scenarios to comprehend alterations in water availability. Such studies are instrumental in achieving the objective of ensuring year-round access to safe drinking water and reducing reliance on water tankers.
In addition to groundwater level assessments, the study encompasses the comparison of current groundwater levels with data from previous hydrological years, along with trend analysis. Hydrographs obtained from representative locations have been scrutinized to analyze recent trends and heightened groundwater levels, particularly during severe summer months.
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