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North Goa hotels drawing excessive groundwater: CAG

The report by the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) for March 2012-13 has pointed out that the provision of more infrastructure like hotels and restaurants to cater to the large number of tourist arrivals is fraught with the danger of drawing excessive ground water by these establishments.

It was observed that the hotels in the coastal belt in North Goa are consuming less water supplied by the PWD despite an increase in the number of tourists. The CAG has raised suspicion that they may be relying on other sources, such as open wells and tube wells.

Its scrutiny of the PWD records revealed that water consumption by the hotels situated in some of the villages of North Goa beaches showed a decreasing trend despite the increase in the number of tourists.

This finding was further strengthened by the examination of the ground water table/data generated by the water resources department (WRD) in 11 coastal villages wherein it was found that the ground water level in Calangute village had gone down to 8.97m below ground level in May 2009 from the level of 8.30m recorded in May 2008.

In Anjuna, it dropped to 7.44m in May 2012 from 6.69m recorded in May 2010.

Whereas, the change in ground water level for other nine villages was within the range of -0.21m to +0.17m.

The chief engineer, WRD, has attributed this depletion of the ground water table in Calangute and Anjuna to tourism infrastructure development and indicating that ground water in coastal areas has been stressed.

Due to strain on ground water, some areas had been declared as scheduled areas under Section 4 of the Ground Water Regulation Act, 2002, in November 2007, and in April 2012, the entire state had been declared as scheduled area.

This declaration of scheduled area should ideally result in restriction on digging new wells and transporting water from the existing wells.

There’s no way to know actual status. The WRD does not have any statistics of the number of wells dug and number of violations.

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