Thiruvananthapuram: With soaring heat and growing water stress, the Kerala Ground Water Department has relaxed borewell construction norms. As per the latest notification, no prior permission is needed to dig a borewell up to a depth of 100 metre in areas with adequate groundwater availability-- also called safe blocks.
However, many argue that the relaxation of norms could lead to widespread water misuse in the state. As per the existing rules, officials should inspect and issue certificates based on groundwater level. The applicant should also receive permission from the concerned local self-government institution.
As per the availability of water in the area, permission is granted under safe block, critical, and semi-critical categories. With the recent relaxation, people could construct borewells in safe blocks - areas with adequate groundwater levels - without restrictions. It is worth noting that 120 of 152 blocks in the state fall under the safe block category.
Currently, the Ground Water Department district offices have over 4,000 pending applications from safe block areas.