Anthropogenic activities leads to deterioration of groundwater quality: A study of Mayyanad and Edamulakkal panchayats of Kollam district in Kerala

Kerala is a rain blessed state in the country, but due to its slanting topography there is significant decline in the ground water levels leading to severe water scarcity. This paper sheds light on groundwater quality issues in two panchayats of Kerala

Kerala is a rain blessed state in the country. It has highest  number of wells, when compared with other states. However due to its slanting topography there is significant decline in the ground water levels leading to severe water scarcity during summer months in most districts of the state. Further over extraction and dependence of groundwater for domestic use from the dug wells especially in rural pockets has resulted in several groundwater problems. In this backdrop the paper in  The Ecosan- An International Quarterly Journal of Environmental Science, sheds light on groundwater quality issues in two panchayats of Kerala.

The author states that the factors responsible for groundwater contamination can emerge from lack of sanitation, unsafe pit latrines, domestic waste dumps, and proximity of wells to latrines, waste dumps and cattle sheds. Rising of water table during rainy season can further aggravate the chances of well water contamination. Though the state authorities have initiated certain action programmes in tackling water contamination and water shortage, but they have been only partially successful. The objective of this paper is to investigate the ground water (well water) quality and availability in selected panchayats of the state and suggest remedies at household level.

A survey was carried out in two panchayats viz. Mayyanad (coastal land) and Edamulackkal (midland) in Kollam district of Kerala. The purpose of this survey was

  •  to find out f the dependence of the households on well water,
  • the sources of contamination of well water
  • the well protection measures adopted by them
  • analyse the characteristics of drinkingwater and compare it with Bureau of Indian Standards

The results of the study are:

  • Wells surveyed did not have water tight casing or lining but were mostly protected by platforms and net covering.
  • People in Mayyanad panchayat use septic latrines and in Edamulakkal panchayat people use pit latrines.
  • well water is contaminated with coliforms and faecal coliforms in the range of 200 – 1200 MPN/100 ml and 40 to 150 MPN/100 mL.
  • pH of well water is always acidic and is below the desirable limit of Bureau of Indian Standards.
  • for solving the water scarcity it is advised to construct simple pits near wells for rainwater recharge.
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