Civic body in India set to study groundwater using GIS

Civic body in India set to study groundwater using GIS

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Mumbai, India, 27 April 2006: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to map the 10,000 listed and an estimated equal number of unlisted wells in the city to monitor Mumbai’s ground water.

The data will be collated over eight months using the GIS. This will be the first time that such data will be collected in the city using the software—and the data will be maintained and updated regularly. With this, civic officials hope they will be able to monitor the water quality and forewarn citizens of any possible health hazards due to water contamination.

As a result the wells will show as innocuous red dots on the city map and information on various parameters like size, depth (the level at which water is available), yield and quality (salinity, toxicity and contamination) will be accessible to all citizens.

Water conservationists and scientists say the exercise was long overdue, especially for a city where land-fills are a regular practice and large parts like areas around the Eastern Express Highway and Link Road, Charkop, Versova, Gorai, Bhakti Park and Bandra-Kurla complex have been reclaimed in the last 50 years alone. ‘‘Areas that are reclaimed are especially susceptible to ground water contamination, so maintaining such data is extremely important,’’ said T I Eldo, professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, who has conducted research in water conservation.

‘‘Something like this was not done until now because Mumbai doesn’t have persistent water problems around the year like, say, Chennai. It’s now being done keeping in mind the next 20 years,’’ said Satish Bhide, Joint Municipal Commissioner. ‘‘Having ready information will tell us in advance if ground water is depleting in any area. More importantly, we’ll know of any water contamination in advance.’’