Coimbatore: Even as ground water is being depleted, a recent report from the central ground water board concluded that the ground water in most parts of the district is not fit for consumption. Not only was the hardness level higher, it was polluted by fertilizers and other drainage canals.
Government reports suggested that bicarbonate and nitrate were dominant ions in the ground water in Coimbatore. The report said that industrial and waste disposal were the major reasons for these ions. The result showed that in pre-monsoon season, 19% of groundwater samples taken from over 66 wells in the district fell under the unsuitable category while post-monsoon 7% of groundwater samples fell under unsuitable for drinking category. In some parts, even the fluoride content was higher than permissible limits. In areas like PN Palayam, Sultanpet, Annur, Karamadai, Podanur and Sarvanampatti, the nitrate and fluoride content was higher than prescribed.
Concerted effort involving various government agencies and NGOs to create necessaryawareness among the rural masses and an action plan with participation of state and central agencies along with industrial establishments was recommended by the report given by the Central Ground Water Authority. But city-based water conservationists said that they were hardly followed.
T Parthasarthy, vice-chairman of Idigarai town panchayat said that due to real estate development in the area, there was hardly any place for new check-dams in their block. “All the drainage and waste from residences was being released into the lakes affecting the ground water quality,” he said. Govindaraj D of P N Palayam said that because of this, even though the government offered free electricity, farmers were not willing to farm. “All crops were failing and people had shifted from cultivating vegetables and other crops to coconut farms,” he added.
Government officials said they were monitoring the water quality frequently. “Sometimes, due to open drains and industry effluents, the water became unsafe. But after every rainfall, the water quality improves,” said an official. If the rainfall in these areas is normal, the water quality will improve along with the water level, said an official.