Shashwat’s Sustainable Solutions for Water Management
(At Ambegaon taluka in Pune district)
Shashwat Trust was founded by Mr. Anand Kapoor and Ms. Kusum Karnik in the year 1996. Trust helps to resolve various problems faced by locals, tribals and underprivileged communities in Ambegaon taluka in Pune district, by undertaking many activities which mainly includes,
- Improving literacy by running residential non-aided schools from 1st to 6th standard.
- Tree plantation drive.
- Running plant nursery to provide saplings for tree plantation drive.
- Guiding farmers for “Draw down land farming”.
- Working to reduce health issues.
- Working to reduce water scarcity in the region.
- Pipeline scheme for farmers.
This information mainly focusses on various activities carried out by the trust in the recent past to solve water scarcity issue in the region. Shashwat trust is relentlessly working on water scarcity issue in the western tribal region of Ambegaon taluka since last 23 years. Shashwat’s founder member Mrs. Kusumtai and Mr. Anand mama while staying in tribal region closely studied their various customs and traditions. Those were the times when entire region suffered from acute water shortages in that region in spite of ample rainfall. Lack of scientific watershed management forced people to travel miles in search of potable drinking water. Government failed to solve problems related to water and roads. Anand Mama held multiple meetings with villagers to solve problem of water scarcity. Discussions in the meetings concluded that simple solution like water tank construction can reduce water scarcity to great extent. Solicitude for tribal people inspired founder’s journey to elevate the standard of living.
Water tanks were constructed to provide drinking water for villagers in Doni, Pimpargane, Navhed, Ahupe and Aghane villages. Till today these water tanks serve as primary source of water during summer. In addition, ponds were excavated to provide water for cattle which relieved local farmers to great extent. During recent times, water storage capacity of these ponds was reduced due to accumulation of sludge. Also village population has almost doubled/tripled during last twenty years. So the water tanks and ponds which were built twenty years ago now were not sufficient to fulfill need of today’s villages. So villagers approached ‘Shashwat Trust’ with the request.
- To build additional water tanks
- To remove mud to restore water storage capacity of ponds
- To provide tap water in villages with sufficient water supply
Shashwat Trust compiled all the requests from nearby villages and sent proposal for financial aid to Mercedes-Benz India, Chakan. Company generously sanctioned financial aid for Doni & Pimpargane villages for pond capacity restoration as well as tap water scheme of Navhed village. Trust decided to fund tap water scheme of Ahupe & Balveerwadi villages. After approval of funding, trust immediately started work in all villages.
Trust surveyed Ahupe village and installed four tanks with thousand liter each in four parts of villages. 3 HP solar unit was installed to lift water to these water tanks. Similarly people from Balveerwadi village daily used to travel around one kilometer for water. So villagers especially women requested to implement tap water scheme in their village. Shashwat trust fulfilled their demand by constructing 2000 ft. PVC water pipe line along with 1 HP solar pump to lift the water from source to village. Now people from both villages no longer have to worry about electricity bill and women too are delighted as they no longer need to travel long distance in extreme conditions to get drinking water. Women’s health was affected due to travelling in extreme conditions. Tap water scheme reduced risk to women’s health to a great extent. Shashwat trust members reviewed the completed projects and have agreed to transfer the projects to Gram Panchayat of respective villages.
Navhedis small village with population of around 450-500. Five thousand six hundred (5600) feet pipeline was constructed for tap water supply with the budget approved by Mercedes-Benz India, Chakan. Solar pump of 5 HP capacity was installed to lift the water from source to village. Water tank of 5000 liter capacity is installed in the village which will be used to store the water.
Pimpargane village has previously water tanks at three different locations namely Sadakechi wadi, Ghonemachi wadi and Waghobachi wadi. In rainy season, lot of sludge gets accumulated in this water tanks as they lack constructed side walls. Villagers submitted application to Shashwat Trust for construction of water tanks and removing sludge from tanks. Trust allocated funds from Mercedes-Benz India for the proposed works. Sludge from the tank is removed which increased depth of tank and accordingly, its water storage capacity has enhanced. Also as construction of tank is accomplished, it will prevent accumulation of sludge during rainy season, resulting into supply of potable water to entire village. Further, it will prevent travelling for drinking water in extreme conditions during summer.
Donivillage had previously excavated artificial pond measuring 47 X 40 square feet. As depth of pond was only 15 feet, water stored was only sufficient till the end of March. For the next two months till arrival of monsoon, villagers had to travel daily for water. Shashwat trust reviewed application received from Doni village and decided to increase depth of pond from 15 feet to 28.5 feet. Pond deepening activity ensured that stored water will be sufficient till end of May. Construction of side walls of pond will prevent sludge accumulation ensuring that tank will utilize to its full capacity. Shashwat Trust utilized funds sanctioned by Mercedes-Benz India for this work.
Kondharevillage had previously excavated artificial pond and it was sufficient for all its needs. Owing to increased population and increased water consumption, pond in not sufficient for present needs. So Kondhare village submitted application to Shashwat requesting assistance for pond deepening and construction work. Trust reviewed the application and sent proposal to Tata Motors. Tata Motors approved the proposal and sanctioned required budget to complete the development work. Pond construction in concrete and deepening of pond is completed and ready to use.
It is evident that the organization respects local culture and has clear understandings of the problem. This has enabled organization to empower people and spread positivity among communities. Over the years, people have shown continuous confidence on organization works. This confidence shown by people encourages organization to do further work with more zeal.
Natural Canal – Since ages, the water from the streams flowing through the mountains, is being restricted and diverted towards farms, which proves beneficial for farming purposes in Kushire budruk and Bhendarwadi areas. Due to the gravitational forces, the water from these canals flows non-reluctantly and naturally towards the farms, for which no explicit energy is consumed. Also, this water is available till the month of March or April for farming activities. But in the recent past due to the downfall and land slide, it was not in use. Hence the farmers, put forth a proposal to Shashwat for restoration of the canal.
The restoration of the canal is being done at Bhendarwadi and the work is in progress at Kushire Budruk which would be completed shortly. Now the farmers can raise 3 crop fields there; also they will be benefited with an increased income. On restoration. of this canal, around 140 acres of land will become ready for cultivation. Approximately 90 to 100 families will be benefited under this project. There shall be employment opportunities available in the village itself, hence reducing the migration count.
Water Lift Scheme – Due to the construction of dam, the lands of number of people submerged under the dam water. Thus, these people have to carry out farming activities, on the land remaining on mountain edges. But there is a high constraint of water availability in such areas. Hardly a rice crop can be raised in such places, which is also not a full fledged one. The farmers have come up with a proposal to Shashwat Trust for undertaking lift activity in this remaining land, that may result into raising 2 to 3 crops per year. Accordingly Shashwat carried out a survey in Amde, Panchale Budruka and Mhalunge village, from which it can be deduced that, by carrying out the lift activity in these three villages, around 140 to 150 acres of land can be cultivated.
On carrying out Lift activity, people can raise around 3 to 4 crops per year, as there is huge water storage available in the dam. The work is in progress and the project would be operational very shortly. Accordingly, there shall be around 100 to 120 families being benefited and employment opportunities will be available in the village itself, hence reducing the migration count.