By Er. Anant Bhaskar Garg, Director,
HaritaDhara Research Development and Education Foundation, Dehradun, India
Water is ‘Elixir of Life’ for us and our mother Earth. Sustainable Development means development having sufficient natural resources for our future generations. Thus, United Nations (UN) with 193 Countries of the world launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global goals form the Agenda 2030 in which Goal 6 is on Clean Water and Sanitation and other Goals 13, 14, and 15 are interlinked for water. As per report from World Resources Institute, there will be serious water scarcity problem in 2030.
Fifty four percent of the population is living in high and extremely high water stress in India. Therefore, we need methods, awareness about water conservation, judicious usage, quality, and harvesting. We are doing capacity building among school, college students, and community members through workshops, using games for learning and better understanding.
Water harvesting is the way to conserve water in the hilly areas. The information revealed that region has three areas as per water availability:
1. Areas having perennial water sources
2. Area having seasonal water sources
3. Rain-fed areas totally dependent on rains
Three case studies describing water conservation methods in different hilly regions of the India:
1. Bamboo drip irrigation in North-Eastern Himalaya One of the seven northeastern states Meghalaya in India use an ingenious system of tapping of stream and spring water by using bamboo pipes to irrigate plantations. It is so perfected that about 18-20 liters of water entering the bamboo pipe system per minute gets transported over several 100 meters and finally gets reduced to 20-80 drops per minute at the site of the plant. The tribal farmers of Khasi and Jaintia hills use the 200-year-old system. Bamboo pipes are used to divert perennial springs on the hilltops to the lower reaches by gravity. The channel sections made of bamboo divert and convey water to the plot site where it is distributed without leakage into branches. Water is dropped near the roots of the plant through manipulating the intake pipe positions to conserve water.
2. Spiti’s Kul irrigation - water from glacier to village of Trans Himalaya This area of Himachal Pradesh is a cold desert, but surprisingly agriculture is its mainstay. Villages in the Spiti subdivision are located between 3,000 m and 4,000 m, which mean they are snowbound six months a year. The crucial portion of a kul is its head at the glacier, which is to be tapped. The head must be kept free of debris, and so the kul is lined with stones to prevent clogging and seepage. In the village, the kul leads to a circular tank from which the flow of water can be regulated. Water from the kul is collected through the night and released into the exit channel in the morning. The kul system succeeds because Spiti residents mutually cooperate and share (for details please visit www.hrdef.org and see this video https://youtu.be/tL8J7ziefOo?t=95).
3. Uttarakhand’s Naulas, Guhls – water for domestic, irrigation in Central Himalaya This region is now facing problems in the storage of sufficient water, especially during summers, for drinking and irrigation purposes. Majority of the people are dependent on the local sources of water (dharas- springs). Therefore, revival of indigenous technology for rainwater harvesting, aquifer recharge, judicious use of water, and quality of water is needed in this region. Traditional methods such as naulas, guhls need to be rejuvenated for water conservation and solving scarcity problem of India.
Workshops and Games
HaritaDhara Research Development and Education Foundation (HRDEF) organized workshops on Water conservation, Rainwater Harvesting and Environment for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 13, 14, 15 time-to-times. Students of GyanDhara Opportunities for All with Learning (GOAL) program learned about water conservation, rainwater harvesting through a detailed session by Dr. Manisha Agarwal.
They performed practical sessions on rainwater harvesting, understood water conversation methods, and importance of water. Students from GOAL program learned about SDGs, water management, and played the game “Water Roll” designed by Sustainability Centre, Arizona State University (ASU), USA.
GyanDhara students participated in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) –DHI Eco Challenge 2017 international online serious game competition on water resources management for the river basin and sustainable development. Students from 20 countries are participating and this game is helpful to learn about water management, conservation, its usages, and SDG Goal 6.
India has traditionally been a country of talabs, kuans, johads, baoris and dhara, many of which are on the brink of extinction. Reviving ancient Indian water management traditional knowledge in hilly region will be beneficial for local people and can reduce water scarcity. Taking recourse to traditional water harvesting systems with protection of contamination of natural water sources are measures for safe and sustainable water for future.
Er. Anant Bhaskar Garg, Director, HRDEF, Engineer, Educator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) with 22 years of experience in various capacities in academia and industries based at Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Published two books, 48 papers in Intl. Journals, Seminars, 2 chapters in Springer’s book, Invited Speaker at 98th Indian Science Congress, presented at TECH 2017, UNESCO MGIEP, member of Professional Societies IEI, ACM, CSI, ISCA, IETE, ISTE. Senior Member award (2011) of Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), USA, and Honorary Coordinator (North India) of Indo- European Systems Usability Partnership (IESUP) 2003-04 to create awareness about HCI in India. Organized various seminars, faculty and student development programs and learned best practices on education, environment through visiting Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, USA. Involved in community services for computer, environment awareness, skills development and passionate about research, teaching and developing new ways of learning as having cognition and consciousness background. Connect with HRDEF on Twitter at @HRDEFIndia.