Water Conservation measures are the first-line option for the control and management of subsurface drainage water. Conservation measures involve reducing the amount of drainage water and they include: source reduction through sound irrigation water management; shallow water table management; groundwater management; and land retirement. These measures affect other options such as the reuse and disposal of drainage water.
In general, conservation measures consist of measures that aim to reduce the quantity of drainage effluent and measures that aim to reduce the mass emission of constituents into receiving water. Water quality impacts to water users (agriculture, fisheries, etc.) are reflected in terms of concentration but the control of drainage from irrigated lands is in terms of water volume and mass discharge of constituents.
Climate change is defined as "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods".
India is not badly off when compared to many other parts of the world with respect to water availability. The average amount of rainfall received over the plains of India is 117 cm as against the global average of only 70 cm. This annual precipitation amounts to as much as 370 million hectare metres of water which is adequate for our requirement. It is for us to manage these resources wisely and well.
Earlier, Rainwater was the main source of water supply and it was collected in tanks. Water then was the responsibility of the community. Now, with piped water supply, this traditional way of conservation of water has been forgotten. After the pipelined water came, these traditional water sources fell into disuse and got closed with idol immersion and land grabbing businesses.
Water Harvesting is a simple and low cost technique that involves the capture and storage of rainwater from roofs and ground catchments for domestic, agricultural, industrial and environmental purposes.
Water that does not infiltrate the ground is called surfce water. Surface water appears either as direct runoff flowing over impermeable or saturated surfaces which then collects in large reservoirs and streams or as water flowing to the ground from surface openings.
Water harvesting is the collection, storage and recycling of rain water (surface/subsurface) for irrigation and other uses. India is characterized with wide variations in physiographic, climatic, soil, environmental and socio-economic conditions. Therefore, water harvesting technology is highly location specific. The various water harvesting practices in vogue may be broadly grouped as follows:
The in situ water harvesting practices include bunding and terracing, vegetative barriers, contour bunding, contour ditching, leveling, contour farming, cover crops and mulching, conservation tillage and deep ploughing etc.
The surface runoff water harvesting can be achieved through dugout ponds, Tankas, Khadins, Ahars/Havelis, diversion bunds, roof top rainwater cisterns etc.
a. Start at the top of the watershed, i.e. on the hills
b. Slow down the movement of water
c. Protection of the slopes for erosion and stability
d. Suitably sized channels on the hill side
e. Do not block any steep channel
f. Have storage volumes after de-silting
g. Have check dams in areas where slopes are < 5 deg
h. Build series of percolating stone check dams across streams
i. Decrease the urban run off by Roof top Rainwater Harvesting structures
j. Implement sediment control for urban run off entering channel
k. Increase infiltration and soakage by various means
Areas where the total rainfall occurs only during 3 or 4 months of monsoon, Rainwater collected throughout the monsoon has to be stored throughout the year, which means that huge volumes of storage containers would be required. So, it is always feasible in these areas to use rainwater to recharge groundwater aquifers rather than for storage.
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