Surface water harvesting and recharging of aquifers

4. Recommendations and Action Plan

1. A clear-cut policy regarding surface water harvesting, primarily through the application of improved traditional rain water harvesting techniques must be formulated by the government in close association with user segments and NGOs.

2. Exploitation of surface and ground water should be in girth proportions, ensuring balanced water conditions.

3. Special attention is required to be paid to soil conservation measures in the catchments of the existing and future reservoirs to check siltation problems and thereby ensuring the designed lives of the reservoirs.

4. There is a need to standardize the planning and design norms of rain water harvesting for various end-users based upon the most prevailing conditions.

5. The involvement of people is essential for the success of the program as it calls for maintenance of the system consistent with hygienic conditions, (specially for drinking water), and changes in social habits etc.

6. Proper rates and volumes of run-off must be induced by surface treatments. Mechanical treatments must be given in all the cases due weight age for mobilizing local man-power. Wherever budget permits, the catchments areas may be either covered by Flexible/plastics materials or be chemically treated.

7. Environment-friendly chemical treatments having 4-5 years of life needs to be developed.

8. The evaporation losses may be minimized by simultaneous application of:
i) Increase in reservoir depth, to reduce the surface area.
ii) Dense and tall trees around the water reservoir to keep the temperature low and to act as wind breakers.
iii) Mono-molecular film on the water surface.

9. Geo-membranes/super plastics be used in preparation of tanks/reservoirs to minimize the seepage losses.

10. Domestic roof-top rain water harvesting be encouraged for drinking water.

11. Flexible piping systems with a provision for “first flush diversion” be promoted.

12. Storage tanks/ cisterns made of local material for storing water for purposes other than drinking be encouraged.

13. Run-off farming methods be encouraged through various schemes

14. Specific programs be initiated to locate suitable topographical, hydrological and geological sites to be developed as water reservoirs bye converting them into aquifers.

15. Existing aquifers be optimally utilized by storing water during the rainy season and by withdrawals during lean periods.

5. Expected benefits

The implementation of above recommendations will ensure availability of drinking water at every home, throughout the year. It would also increase the agricultural out-put in arid and semi-arid zones. Social and economic life would improve. However, it is very difficult to make a quantifiable assessment of the benefits. Benefits can only be quantified for a specific project for implementation with a specific budget for allocation.