Groundwater level dropping in City

Iqtidar Gilani – January 27, 2015 –

LAHORE(nation) – Extraction of more water for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes than the recharge from different sources like rainfall and irrigation channels is causing rapid drop in aquifer level in Lahore, reveals a study carried out by WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with Cleaner Production Institute (CPI).

Except for partial reliance of the agricultural sector on surface water resources like canals, all other sectors including domestic, industrial and institutional are totally banking on groundwater to meet their demands, causing pumping of 7.

17 MCH water per day.
In return to this excessive pumping of water, average recharge to groundwater is 6.
50 MCH per day.
As such difference between discharge and recharge of groundwater stands at 0.
67 MCH per day.
This difference between average discharge and recharge of groundwater is equivalent to 0.
55 meter per year drop in aquifer level in Lahore, the study titled ‘Situation analysis of the water resources of Lahore, establishing a case for water stewardship’ says.

In the ‘business as usual’ scenario, this value will increase further as the water demand will escalate owing to a rise in population.
In urban parts of the city, where water pumping is excessive and recharge is insignificant, the water table drop is higher.
In rural areas, where recharge from the irrigation system and agricultural fields are substantial, decline in the water table is not that alarming.
Due to excessive pumping of water by WASA through a network of tubewells to meet the demand of ever increasing population, aquifer level is dropping at an alarming rate in Allama Iqbal Town, Rivaz Garden, Gulberg, Samanabad, Cantonment and other such thickly populated areas.
Groundwater recharge in these localities is almost zero as cemented footpaths and concrete structures have replaced greenbelts and ‘doongi’ (deep) grounds with the passage of time.

The largest share, 53 per cent, of this extracted water is consumed by the domestic sector.
The industrial sector consumes 13 per cent; agriculture uses 24 per cent; and institutional sector 10 per cent.

Despite reduction in river flows due to upstream water use by India, Ravi is still the most significant and major factor in sustaining the Lahore aquifer.
The wastewater discharged into the River Ravi contains liquid and solid waste from domestic, industrial and commercial premises.
River Ravi contributes 82 per cent of the groundwater recharge.
The rainfall and canal system contribute only 12 per cent whereas return flow from irrigation fields is about 6 per cent.

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