Desilting of water bodies and other measures by the district administration against the backdrop of water and fodder scarcity in Pune district have translated into 2.25 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water saved,figures reveal. This would augur well for these areas in the coming months.
Water conservation efforts,mostly in drought-hit tehsils of Purandhar,Daund,Baramati,Indapur,Daund and some parts of Haveli included desilting of tanks and other water bodies. The works to widen small water streams and straightening their course at some places were also undertaken.
Figures from the office of the district collectorate show that more than 63 lakh cubic metre of silt was excavated from over 400 water bodies. Around 89.3 km of small streams (nullahs) was widened and at places straightened. Straightening of rivulets and small streams decrease their path of flow and hence lessen loss through percolation and evaporation.
Deposition of silt in water bodies is a major reason for acceleration of evaporation. It is estimated that one cubic metre of silt removed increases water retention capacity by around 1,000 cubic metre.
Most of the works were undertaken through peoples participation either through the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) or voluntary work put in by villagers.
Seema Holkar,tehshildar of Purandhar,said 114 water bodies were taken up for desilting in Purandhar. In many villages,people cancelled the annual fair and took up water conservation and retention work. We are hopeful that post monsoon,we would be able to have ample water for the next five years, she said.
Waterman Rajendra Singh known for river restoration work,stated that water bodies needs to be rejuvenated regularly. We need to understand that the balance of nature is most important and we have to keep up the maintenance work, he said. Singh said such work is of great importance as without it,the next generation would suffer.