Water buckets of the Western Ghats

Exploitation of groundwater in Panchgani, Maharashtra, led to acute water shortage but the people of Akhegani decided to do something about it. Watch how they built spring boxes to revive springs.
Basalt rocks characterize the Deccan Plateau
Basalt rocks characterize the Deccan Plateau

The Western Ghats, known for its biodiversity, is one of India's most sought after ecological hotspots. One of its stark features is the basalt rocks, often referred to as water buckets indicating the water retention capacity of the rock, found there. Of the many popular hill stations in the Western Ghats, Panchgani is commonly visited by tourists due to its proximity to Pune, Mumbai and Mahabaleshwar. The mountains here are crowned with basalt rocks.  

Dr. Jared Buono, hydrologist of Gram Pari (a local NGO working in the area) says, "The basalt layer of rocks absorb 50% of water that falls on them. However, Panchgani flooded with tourists most of the time is now witnessing tough water times. So borewells are a common sight. These borewells exploit the groundwater and therefore there is water shortage in the nearby villages of Panchgani. While the water table goes down, there is no recharging of water that we are consciously undertaking. In addition to this, villagers burn the vegetation that grows on these rocks- so that also doesn't help". 

Dr. Buono's team contacted villages that had springs in their backyard. One of the five villages in which the spring has been revived is Akhegani, which had 30-40 villagers who built the spring box voluntarily. Below is the video of how they did it.