Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana

Laying Foundation For Addressing Climate Change Through Sustainable Water Conservation

Lead Organization

Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana

Pune, State of Maharashtra, India

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Project Summary

The high rise Western Ghats have rendered some areas to the East as low rainfall areas due to rain-shadow effect. The regional rainfall vagaries, presumably due to global phenomenon like El Nino, further adversely impacts the rainfall. The inevitable exploitation of groundwater has further exacerbated the situation. The shallow aquifers have gone bone-dry which severely restricts subsurface water movement and also causes significant water losses. Shallow strata must first get saturated to allow downward (recharge) or lateral (delayed run-off) movement of rainwater. When the gap between two rainfall events is large the trapped water gets evaporated and the saturation process has to begin all over again.Scientific water conservation will be carried in vulnerable areas to save rain waters and reduce immediate run-off for facilitating soil moisture enhancement, groundwater recharge and delayed run-off. Capacities of the vulnerable communities will be built to access and manage water equitably, sustainably, and productively.

Problem Statement

In the areas that are drought prone the farms and farmers in the upper catchment are the worst impacted. The valley areas are relatively better endowed since they receive waters from upper areas through natural flows.Total absence of the science and technology of surface hydrology and sub surface hydrogeology in planning water conservation, recharge and management of water resources is the primary reason for the persistence of the problem.The science of identifying natural recharge areas and aquifer mapping exists, and technology for artificial recharge exist for over two decades are not being used.Development of the technology for mapping topography for micro or nano scale conservation interventions is very recent and yet to be deployed.Similarly, use of S&T for identifying gaps between water availability and requirements, and evolving supply and demand side solutions to bridge these gaps has also not found a place in approach to drought mitigation and water management.Using the relevant science and technology for planning for water conservation, recharge and management strategies for sustainable and equitable use of water resources is the key to addressing water scarcity and setting the stage for improving livelihoods in vulnerable areas, building resilience to climatic vagaries and limiting the energy footprint in agriculture.Conservation and recharge will set the stage for and should be followed by capacity building of vulnerable communities to convert water availability in sustainable agriculture with high productivities and collective socio-economic action for countering non-friendly market conditions and reducing energy and other resources use.

Solution Overview

The solution involves state-of-art science and technology for planning and mechanisation of implementation of conservation interventions, has four broad aspects – a) minimising natural water losses as also those due to erroneous conservation practices, and maximise recharge and soil moisture, b) optimise technical designs of conservation interventions and minimise costs so that significantly more areas can be covered as compared to the conventional practices, c) significantly reduce implementation duration as compared to conventional practices, and d) capacity building of communities to manage available water equitably, sustainably and productively so as to generate demand for support to follow-up collective socio-economic action.Base line will be established through scientific measurements of groundwater, soil moisture, agricultural productivities, etc., and developing cropping and other vegetation pattern amps. Impacts will be assessed through similar measurements and assessments after the interventions.The proposed solution is designed for small rural groups that share a common water resource. It will be implemented for groups that are found enterprising, willing to participate and undertake collective socio-economic action, over the entire drought prone region. The proposed solution will have intensive impact on selected groups and a broader impact on adjoining areas due to the demonstrative and motivating effect, which will be visible through extensive demand for replication and up-scaling.Direct beneficiaries are farmers in small 25 to 50 ha catchment/aquifer basins. Expected impacts are - increased groundwater availability, enhancement of soil moisture, increase in agricultural areas and productivities, increase in vegetation and biomass, and enhanced water availability in the lower valleys.

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Project Funders

  • TATA Trusts 2018
  • Enam Securities 2017 - 2019
  • Reliance Foundation 2018

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