Project: Empowerment of People through Geospatial Data with Emphasis on Rural Water Management in Mewat District (Haryana)
-A Case of Buraka Taoru Village Surface Water Pond
Dr Subhan Khan & Dr Mohd Rais
Sponsored by : NRDMS Division, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi – 110012
Implemented by : National Institute of Science, Technology & Development Studies (NISTADS), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)
In Association with :
- Society for Geo-informatics & Sustainable Development (SGSD), Sonipat Haryana
- Mewat Development Society
- Juswant-Justice, Social Welfare & Technologies – Delhi
‘Future wars would be over water: A P J Abdul Kalam’ – July 30, 2015
Water scarcity is one of top concerns in the world today. With climate change leading in erratic weather patterns and our natural resources overstressed due to the burgeoning pupation, its crucial more than ever to work towards sustainable eco-friendly practices in all fields. India has had a rich tradition of water conservation in its villages through water bodies. Traditional water bodies have been the main source catering to the local human, livestock population and agricultural activities since centuries. These water bodies show the engineering skill and the need of community participation and social awareness generation to protect and maintain them.
In the Mewat district of Haryana, there is a village called Buraka Taoru. It receives lot of surface rain water from the nearby Aravalli hills during the rainy season. But its situation remains the same as of Cherrapunji in Assam which even after receiving the highest rainfall in the country, faces water shortage problem, during the dry months, as massive quantity of rainfall is in a very short period and rain water is not stored due to lack of proper management traditional water harvesting systems. Unfortunately, in the present era of rapid urbanization and modernization, the traditional knowledge & wisdom on water storage, conservation and use is vanishing. Consequently, a situation of water distress is arising which needs to be given a paramount priority attention. However, what sound simple in theory proves complicated and challenging in practice, particularly in the rural areas. The management of village water harvesting structures in place is one such problem. In this context following three issues need utmost attention:
(i) To increase dissemination of scientific information & knowledge about water storage,
(ii) To develop and conserve water storage capacity in rural areas, and
(iii) To strengthen institutions for improving water management.
The major objectives of the proposed project were:
(i) to identify water bodies, defunct or in use, using Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) Technique in the district Mewat of Haryana,
(ii) to collect primary data on socio-technical and hydro-meteorological parameters and store the same in GIS mode,
(iii ) to map village water bodies of a selected village of this district and its influence area on 1:4000 scale/ cadastral village map with UID numbers, to be evolved, to every water body,
(iv) to identify ownership and existing PRIs relationship of each and every water body,
(v) to organize ‘End-User Orientation Training Programmes’ to sensitize the public representatives, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), NGOs, and other village associations and civil society organizations, including village volunteers, state government functionaries, besides active involvement of local community, and seeking feedback from them and,
(vi) to suggest sustainable development plan for the selected water bodies for operational use with the involvement of Gram Panchayats under flagship programmes like MG NREGA.
The project site was water stressed and its sources, viz. surface water structures were drying and under-ground water was under over exploitation.
LESSONS LEARNT & CORE MESSAGE
Traditionally, different water harvesting structures such as village pond, Johad, Pokhar, talab, tank, etc. occur in the villages of India. These are used by villagers living under varied climatic, topographic and geological conditions. Many of these water harvesting structures have the capacity to meet the growing water demand of an ever increasing population of human beings and animals, provided they are maintained properly and promoted appropriately.
It may be mentioned here that not every system can be replicated after appropriate modifications to various conditions. However, such traditional techniques offer a core message that only a combination of disciplines/dimensions like culture, tradition, climate, land and water use, etc. can help manage water sustainability and that the Government-Panchayat-NGO Partnership (GPNP) model, satisfying most of these conditions may play a significant role in such efforts.
The GPNP was envisaged and developed by NRDMS team at CSIR- NISTADS, New Delhi, for updation of village level NRDMS database on village water bodies in an easy, economic and sustainable way. It was the need of the hour to manage traditional water storage structures like village ponds, develop groundwater recharge potential and capacity building of local community in assessing, planning, and managing such water bodies/structures in the most efficient and rational manner in the villages. Such micro level databases would build capabilities as well as synergies to implement the developmental programmes at the village level by central and state governments or Gram Panchayats or other civil societies.
Past Experience about GPNP model, based on experience gained through a study, particularly achieved during NRDMS micro level village development planning using geo-spatial technologies project carried out in 2007, in another Mewat village, namely Chharora, following two observations were strongly made:
(a) Without community participation, no village development programme, including water harvesting structure/system, can be successful,
(b) There is a need to combine the local community experience of rain water harvesting, including recharge aquifers and available modern technological options for collection and water conservation and judicious use & to help solve the rural water problem.
Further, various challenges and opportunities are also identified in context of village water bodies and their role as big source of ground water recharge, particularly in conditions where ground water is continuously depleted due to over- exploitation using various sources and non -harvesting of rainfall to any extent.