The report by Carewater INREM Foundation deals with groundwater and well water quality in the alluvial aquifers of Central Gujarat. Gujarat has a hydrogeology representative of almost all aquifer types and depositional & formation eras. Contamination of aquifers along with scarcity of groundwater resources due to increase in water demand and reduction in recharge of groundwater from changing landuse, is a problem in Central Gujarat.
High salinity, fluoride, nitrate and pollution from industrial effluents have caused contamination of aquifers including in Mahi Right Bank command (MRBC) aquifer, the Southern tip of the alluvial North Gujarat aquifer. The drinking water requirement of Anand and Kheda districts, which overlay the aquifer is dependent mainly on groundwater. The rural areas are mostly dependant on the Village Panchayat managed water supply systems and a combination of private and government handpumps apart from regional piped water supply in some areas.
The general lack of awareness of water quality allows the spread of water-borne diseases, especially during the monsoon season. Apart from short term problems like biological contamination of well-water after heavy floods, there are longer term problems that emerge from the use of agricultural chemicals.
The current levels of nitrate samples post monsoon and four months later are below the safety limit in the deeper aquifer, which is used for drinking water. However, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and salinity are above potable limits with trend increasing towards the coast and can be attributed to inherent salinity and coastal sea-water intrusion.
The study states that the contamination problems related to groundwater affect the poorer sections more. Several handpumps used by rural communities have failed, therefore forcing them to access poor quality water from open wells.
The awareness for and practice of water treatment procedures are highly variable, ranging from domestic Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems used by affluent urban communities and Non Resident Indian (NRI) donated community based systems in rural communities to simple cloth based filtration prevalent widely in rural areas. Increased monitoring of the aquifer, spreading awareness among people and using proper water treatment procedures are vital in this area.
Download the report here: