Peter Hacker
ÖFPZ Arsenal
Peter Hacker

The joint hydrogeology research programme, conducted by the ÖFPZ Arsenal in the framework of the the three-year "Europe and India: Past, Present and Future" project, dealt with the impact of human activities in highly populated areas on the quality of drinking water resources. The activities started in May 2000 with the exchange of information and data between the experts in Hyderabad and Vienna and finished in Hyderabad in July 2001 with the presentation of results at the course entitled "The Pilot Project in Patancheru: A Case Study".

In the Patancheru and Bolaram industrial development areas, there are more than 400 large and small manufacturers dealing mainly in pharmaceuticals, paints and pigments, metal treatment and steel rolling, cotton and synthetic yarn and engineering goods. By discharging treated and untreated effluents to surface water and unlined ponds or tanks, they contribute as point and scattered sources to river and groundwater pollution. The effluents contain appreciable amounts of inorganic and organic chemicals and their by-products. Part of the municipal and industrial wastewater is treated in the two common effluent treatment plants (CETP) at Bolaram and Patancheru. Because of the hazardous composition of wastewater and plant overload, treatment performance and efficiency is not sufficient to meet general treatment requirements. Especially high levels of arsenic, cadmium, boron, chromium, fluoride, manganese, lead, nickel and selenium have been traced in the Nakkavagu and other surface water bodies and in some few bor e wells in the Patancheru area. Furthermore, agriculture generally is to be considered an important diffuse source.

As there are no major surface-water resources in the area, the contaminated groundwater is exploited for agriculture and industrial purposes. Heavy pumping for irrigation causes induced seepage to the alluvium from stream aquifer interaction and ultimately leads to the extension of groundwater pollution laterally in the alluvium and subsequently in the weathered granite zone. This zone contains a minor contaminated significant aquifer which is endangered by the interaction process. In addition, the organic, inorganic and bacteriological contamination of tanks causes major problems for common water supply.

In this context, we would like to emphasise that the proposals considered in the framework of the "EU-India Economic Cross-Cultural Programme" have to be adapted to the local situation and specific requirements. The protection of groundwater from all contamination, such as the effluents of the CETPs or direct discharges, leachates from contaminated soil, scattered pollution and accidental spills, aims at reducing and/or preventing any anthropogenically-induced upward pollution trend. Surface water quality is mainly influenced by wastewater emissions of CETPs, industry and municipalities, as well as by scattered pollution sources which are characterised by various specific contaminants. As a result, water management measures cannot be considered as isolated solutions but as components of an integrated water management and protection concept. Setting up a graduated water management concept and the definition of priority measures would offer the prospect of implementing sustainable water protection measures to achieve long-term improvement of water quality and quantity.