Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Making running water Walk is the right approach for Rain water harvesting


Check dam constructed by SEVAI

Making running water Walk is the right way of approach in rain water and soil conservation.Water conservation is an important area to be given thrust by the entire community in Tamilnadu. Severe drought, No water in River Cauvery, less rains create the situation worse and the people are suffering for want of drinking water and also for water for food production. It is the priority to save water and Rain Water Harvesting plays vital role in solving the problem of getting water. Rain Water Harvesting is possible in saving water in open wells, development of small water harvesting structures as low – cost farm ponds, check dams, percolation tanks. The impact of such activities is a reduction in runoff rain water in open fields, increase in water level, and increase in area under cultivation and curbing of top soil erosion, Renovation and de-silting of tanks / ponds, augmentation of water sources. SEVAI a local NGO has promoted such initiative in Kulitalai dry area namely Dasilnaickanoor and this has resulted in filling irrigation gap, increase in water storage capacity, dry land cultivation being brought under wet land cultivation, conversion from single crop area to double crop area, increase in water in nearby wells and in tank itself (2-3 times) Social forestry and orchard plantations. While afforestration has lead to increase in green cover and improvement in the ecosystem, the planting of orchards has brought more wastelands under plantation with an increase in intercrop area. Land development and reclamation includes in-situ soil and moisture conservation measures. Principally activities undertaken include reclamation of degraded and undulated wastelands to level land through land leveling thereby brought under cultivation with earthen bunding on sides. This has controlled soil erosion, lead to increase in moisture retention capacity, increased wasteland brought under cultivation, conversion of dry land to wet land, increase in production and subsequent increase in land value indicating increase in income. Minor / Major / diversion check dams and stone bunding structures. These minor civil structures mode of locally available materials helps in arresting top soil erosion as they are laid in slopes with over 10 percent gradient. As a result of such measures, there is increase in moisture retention in catchments areas, increase in production, conversion of wasteland into cultivable land and additional vegetative cover. It is important to take up watershed approach in water and soil conservation measures. Watershed is defined as a geohydrological unit draining to a common point by a system of drains. All lands on earth are part of one watershed or other. Watershed is thus the land and water area, which contributes runoff to a common point. Water is essential for all life and is used in many different ways - for food production, drinking and domestic uses. It is also part of the larger ecosystem on which bio diversity depends. Precipitation converted to soil and groundwater and thus accessible to vegetation and people, is the dominant pre-condition for biomass production and social development in dry lands. The amount of available water is equivalent to the water moving through the landscape. It also fluctuates between the wet and dry periods. Irrigation potential which exists in Tamilnadu is much more than the presently irrigated area for food security. A variety of essential soil moisture and water conservation technologies adopted to reduce the cost of irrigation, extend it throughout and promote sustainable small-scale irrigation on a watershed basis in the PVF supported watersheds will be documented. Watershed technologies are essential especially in drought-prone areas. Even though drought is a purely natural calamity caused by the failure of (monsoon) rain, it can be minimized by careful planning and operation. During good rainy years, excess rainwater should be stored in the soil and also underground using suitable soil moisture conservation measures and water harvesting structures on a watershed basis. This stored water can subsequently be used for irrigation. -Govin

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