Urban water supply from water impounding and aquifer recharging - Need cases and experiences

Original Query: Rahul Banerjee, Aarohi Trust, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Posted: 24th June 2005

I would like to talk about the water supply for Indore city in Madhya Pradesh. At present, the water is mostly being pumped over the Vindhya hill ranges from the Narmada river. There are two massive pumps and sixty kms of pipes. Since this is not enough there is a clamour for yet another pump and some more pipes. However the normal precipitation in and around Indore, i.e. in the catchments, is many times more than the requirements but is at present mostly running off.

In my view, a more cost effective and environmentally sound solution would be to impound this precipitation in surface reservoirs through water retaining structures and in underground aquifers through recharge. The technology is available and is relatively simple, but there are no takers. Now the Asian Development Bank is initiating a project for pumping up some more water with the inevitable privatisation of the water supply scheme. Whether it is water supply or wastewater management, the planners think in terms of big centralised schemes costing the earth and also being environmentally unsustainable. Our office in Indore recharges all its wastewater into the ground after treatment and it cost us just twenty thousand rupees to install this. People will buy cars for lakhs of rupees but will not install water cleansing and recharging systems.

My question to this Community is, who knows of any examples of cities in a similar situation that have made a successful case for water impounding/aquifer recharging systems? Can you also give an idea about water shortage and augmentation through extra water impounding or aquifer recharging in such cases. Or if anyone tried without success, what lessons can be learned from your experience? Any contacts, readings or case studies would be greatly appreciated.

Please see attachment below for the responses.