CGWB · Groundwater · Western Ghats

Many colors of groundwater in a tiny Western Ghats village

“Konkan” is the narrow strip of land encompassing coastlines, estuaries, lateritic plateaus, foothills of Western Ghats and dense forests, which runs from Maharashtra to Goa. It is bound by the Arabian Sea to its west and the mighty Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) to its east. The isolated region has a distinct and rich culture of folklore, performing arts, music, literature, culinary art, with subtle changes from north to south. The region receives heavy rainfall of about 2500-3500 mm in summer monsoons, with the lofty Sahyadri ranges blocking the moisture-laden clouds. 

The rivers in the region are as spectacular: gushing and gurgling over steep hilly paths and meeting the Arabian Sea in just about 100-150 kilometers from their origin in the Western Ghats. The steep and hilly terrain makes it difficult to build large dams, (though we keep trying unsuccessfully as can be seen here: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/large-dams-in-konkan-western-ghats-costs-benefits-and-impacts/) and water resource managers never fail to point out that of the total yield of rivers in Maharashtra, 45% is from of the West-flowing rives of Konkan!

Having said that, the tempestuous nature of rives, rocky terrain and steep slopes mean that rives dry up as fast as they swell. The lifeline here is not surface water, but groundwater…Groundwater that emerges from springs as the predominant porous laterite rock meets a layer of clay..or dug wells…or unique water harvesting structures crafted by local communities. 

Here is a glimpse of some such structures…to appreciate not only the utility and appropriateness, but beauty of small, local structures and traditional wisdom. Also important to note is the diversity and independence of water management in Konkan: as in India..where communities own, maintain and manage their own water. There is a special kind of power and magic in this independence. Continue reading “Many colors of groundwater in a tiny Western Ghats village”

CGWB · Urban Water Sector

Groundwater of Pune: An Over-exploited and ungoverned lifeline

While more than allocated and more than enough water supply from Khadakwasla Project Complex steals the water supply show in Pune, water below the ground remains pretty much out of sight and out of mind for Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and everyone else. Roughly estimated use close to one thousand million cubic feet (TMC) remains not just ungoverned but completely unacknowledged. Though groundwater use forms an important component of non-potable water use in the city total quantity of the groundwater extracted remains unassessed. Drilling of borewells has been going on unregulated and groundwater level has been falling at the rate of quarter of a meter per annum. Neither PMC nor any other State agencies like Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA functioning as State Groundwater Authority) or Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA) is governing the resource and have taken any concrete steps for its conservation. Continue reading “Groundwater of Pune: An Over-exploited and ungoverned lifeline”

Dams · Maharashtra

Concerns about unplanned River Widening, Deepening and Straightening Works being undertaken under Jal Yukta Shivar and other projects

 

(This Note is followed by a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Marathi, which is endorsed by several organisations)

In the past two years, Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan has been implemented in many districts of the State. A Government Resolution was issued on the 5th December 2014 to implement Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan (JYS from hereon) to make “Maharashtra Drought Free by 2019”. The GR lists out a 13-point program to be implemented, which lays stress on watershed works, deepening and widening of canals, cement nalla bunds, reinstating old water structures, tree plantation, well recharge, etc. The Chief Minister has supported the small scale water harvesting through JYS strongly, as one of the main solutions to water security for farm and villages. Continue reading “Concerns about unplanned River Widening, Deepening and Straightening Works being undertaken under Jal Yukta Shivar and other projects”