In a reflection of the worst-ever drought situation in Andhra Pradesh in the last three decades, the groundwater in the state has plummeted to dangerously low level with only about 100 tmcft of potable water available below the ground across 13 districts.
Already the surface water in reservoirs and major tanks has almost dried up due to continuous dry spell and failure of monsoon last year. The potable groundwater available has come down by 500 per cent in the state. The available groundwater will last only for a couple months and if the ensuing monsoon is delayed, the situation will turn critical.
This is the first time that AP is faced with such a low reserve of groundwater. Major rivers Godavari, Krishna and Penna, and small rivers like Nagavali, Vamsadhara, Janjavati, Tammileru, Budameru, Gundlakamma, Kundu and Swarnamuki have always guaranteed the best groundwater table in the country. However, with successive failure of monsoon and reduced inflows have resulted in fast depletion of groundwater in the state.
Against 661 tmc ft of groundwater in the state, only about 100 tmc ft is now available. The state has 736 groundwater basins and around 100 basins are now listed under ‘overexploited’ or ‘critical’ categories. The groundwater department notified 946 villages as ‘overexploited’ and it has banned digging of new wells and sand mining.