Interlinking of water harvesting structures through link water channels - A viable alternative at micro-level by Ambuja Cement Foundation

This report offers an account of interlinking of water harvesting structures through link water channels as a viable option of water management at micro-level.

InterlinkingThe coastal areas of Gujarat especially the villages lying within 20-25 km from the seashore are suffering from the problem of salinity ingress. Most of the rivulets that drain this region like Goma and Somat are seasonal at best and their water does not last beyond monsoons. The other aquifers like ponds, which get water from these rivers, also dry up as early as October.

This problem of water shortage has worsened over the last few years because of the cultivation of water intensive crops like sugarcane, banana, betel-nut leaves, wheat and coconut. It has resulted in lowering of the water table and ingress of saline water. This has had far reaching implications for both household and agricultural uses of water as the availability of fresh water has steadily declined.

This has also meant that there is an increased dependence on outside agencies like the state and other civil society organisations for basic needs like drinking water etc. Since 1980s conflicts have arisen over the access to limited fresh water resources available in this region. It is in this backdrop that the Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF), which is active in Kodinar (in Junagadh, Gujarat) initiated an innovative project on interlinking of local rivers/rivulets and water harvesting structures like percolation tanks, and other water bodies. ACF wanted to ensure that these rivers recharge the groundwater and therefore the network also includes other existing water-harvesting structures and water bodies like tidal regulators, ponds etc. Depending upon the local topography the interlinking has been done between various rivulets like Goma, Somat and Singoda and the water bodies lying in between.

After identification of watershed dynamics and excess capacity in the existing rivers during the monsoon, potential sinks (like other rivulets, ponds, percolation tanks etc.) are identified and then the shortest possible route to the sink is selected.

Some of the notable projects of ACF in the area are –

  • Interlinking of ponds in the villages of Mitiaz, Devli, Kadodara, Damli and Pipli;
  • Pnch Pipalva-Jantrakhadi Radial Canal;
  • Goma-Panadar Link Water Channel; and
  • Interlinking of Barda-Bandhara and Singoda River at Muldwarka-Math.

The benefits accruing from the project include crop diversification, better farm practices and improved productivity. Interlinking has meant that the water bodies contain water for a much longer period than in the past. Percolation of water has increased bringing about greater groundwater recharge. As a result, the problem of salinity ingress has also been controlled to some extent. Water quality has improved considerably as a result of continuous recharging and increased fresh water content.

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