BREAKING NEWS

AP now has a software to monitor groundwater levels

Ensuring water saving and usage efficiency has been one of the top priorities for the Government of Andhra Pradesh which has been monitoring and taking steps to increase ground-water levels in the state. Now, to ensure efficiency, the state has developed a software to assess groundwater data. This will help the government in planning steps to recharge areas where the levels are plummeting.
 
The software called, A.P. Groundwater Resource Assessment, Categorisation and Evaluation (APGRACE), has been developed by the Andhra Pradesh Centre for Financial Systems and Services (APCFS), was used for groundwater-related data collection for 2016-17 (done in 2017-18). Using this data, strategies can be worked out on judicious use of water and its conservation. 
 
For instance: Data on non-rechargeable areas and rechargeable areas in the command and non-command areas is readily available and hence, the government can plan its efforts to increase steps to recharge.“Recharge projects coming under the NREGA scheme, like check dams, farm ponds, percolation tanks and contour trenches, may also be planned accordingly, resulting in better utilisation of resources, say government officials. 
 
How it all started 
 
Estimation of groundwater resources used to be a difficult process with collection of voluminous data from 13 to 14 departments on rainfall, irrigation systems, crops, crop patterns, agricultural wells, recharge structures and utilisation through various means. 
 
All this used to be done manually and was a time-consuming process. The data is then sent to the Union Ministry of Water Resources, with the exercise being carried out every three years after the approval by the State-level Committee. It is used in regulation, development of groundwater and in framing policies and schemes on it.
 
After the collection of data, it is entered manually on 50 Excel sheets with embedded links, which is a cumbersome process. Another problem was that there was no streamlined process of demarcation. In several states, a block would be taken as a unit while in Andhra Pradesh, an entire village would be considered as a unit. 
 
This challenge of manual work in entering data and the time consumed was discussed by groundwater monitoring officials with AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, after which the CM thought it is important for the state to have a yearly repository of data. That was when the idea of the software was discussed with Visakhapatnam Collector Pravin Kumar who ensured that the software is developed. 

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