Battling water crisis through recharging of borewells

Hydrogeologist and rainwater harvesting consultant N J Devaraja Reddy explains borewell recharge method to research scientist Kiran Kumar Shetty at Pavoor, on the outskirts of Mangaluru.

After three borewells on a two-and-a-half acres farmland at Pavoor went defunct, Kiran Shetty, owner of the land and a research scientist in Boston, USA, decided to go for recharging borewells through rainwater harvesting (RWH) technique under the guidance of N J Devaraja Reddy, a hydrogeologist and RWH consultant.

Shetty told DH, “Though I work in Boston, my roots are in Dakshina Kannada. We are engaged in farming for the past 11 years by cultivating exotic fruits and vegetables.”

“The first borewell water lasted only for four years. As the water level had declined, we had sunk another borewell. After reading about RWH, I decided to rejuvenate the defunct borewells and wanted to show the farmers in the surroundings that digging borewell is not a solution to the declining groundwater table”, he explained.

Reddy said about 50 lakh litres of rainwater from the farmland will be used for recharging the defunct borewells. “The only solution to the current problem is the revival of defunct borewells by using the rainwater harvesting technique. Under this proven method, many defunct borewells in different parts of the state and also in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts have been successfully revived,” he added.

He said the government departments should give up the present practice of removing casing pipes from the defunct borewells and follow the pattern of further deepening the borewells and use the rainwater to increase the groundwater levels in the area.

Reddy said that a defunct borewell can be recharged by digging a pit and installing scientifically designed filtration pipes and allowing the collected rainwater to pass through the pipes to allow the borewell to recharge.

Stating that he has successfully recharged 120 borewells in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, he said the district administration should give priority for recharging the borewells. If every drop of the rainwater is conserved for recharging the groundwater, the present problem of drinking water shortage would not arise, he explained.

Explaining the decline in groundwater table in the district which gets 4000 mm rainfall annually, he said, “A farmer from Belthangady called me up a few days ago seeking solution as all the 18 borewells on his land had become dry. Rainwater can also be stored in geo-membrane tanks which can be easily used for irrigating the farmland during peak summer,” he said.

In addition, Reddy said that there is a need to revive lakhs of water springs that have become inactive in Dakshina Kannada district by using eco-friendly measures. If all the springs, lakes and water bodies in the district are revived, then Dakshina Kannada will not depend on borewells for water, he stressed.

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