Maharashtra government on 18 April 2016 decided to restrict digging of borewells beyond 200 feet. The action was taken to check the steep decline in ground water level in the state, which at present is facing recurring droughts and severe water crisis in Marathwada and Vidarbha region.
The violators of the rule would face fine or/and imprisonment, as the action will be considered as a punishable offence.
Besides, the state government also conducted special workshops of concerned officials’ to discuss the ways for implementation of Maharashtra Groundwater Development and Management Act to control the excess water pumping through borewell.
Groundwater resource mismanagement in Latur
The restriction on digging of borewells beyond 200 feet by the Maharashtra government should be seen in the light of mismanagement and indiscriminate use of this precious resource in the Latur district.
The mismanagement of water resource flows can be attributed to the water intensive cash crop like Sugarcane, Banana, Grapes and Oranges, which are mostly groundwater dependent.
This is resorted to despite the fact that irrigation borwell is disadvantageous on account of low dependability of yield, low discharge and recuperation rate.
As a result, the number of irrigation borewells in Latur stood at 34778 in 2007, only second after Nashik at 37545. The unofficial number stands at 90000, out of which 100 bores are as deep as 1000 feet or more, of which half have stopped working in past 10 years.
However, the existing rules say that there can be only five borewells per square kilometers, which means in an ideal situation there should be maximum 3575 bores in the 715 square kilometers of the 10 talukas.
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When: 18 April 2016