Harvesting water resources to meet the demands for drinking, sanitation and irrigation in hilly areas of Uttarakhand, India (2009)

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About 70% of the population living in mountainous regions of Uttarakhand State mostly depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but various climatic, geographical and socio-economic constraints have led to a dismal low agricultural productivity in the region. Agriculture is largely (about 90 %) rainfed. Farmers generally face severe soil-moisture stress at the germination stage; long dry-spells during the subsequent growing period of winter (Rabi) and the pre-monsoon period due to the erratic distribution of rainfall amount and intensity. Though the average annual rainfall in Uttarakhand is about 1,000 mm, agricultural productivity is adversely affected by non-availability of sufficient water at critical stages of crop growth. Therefore, the only option is to collect and store water resources.  This is available in three forms namely, direct surface runoff, runoff through roof-tops of houses, and the discharge from natural water springs. Spring water in low quantity goes to waste, but its collection in storage tanks can be developed into a huge water resource to solve the problem of drinking water and irrigation in the region. Field studies conducted at locations in the Garhwal region at about 2,000 metres above mean sea level have revealed that construction of a brick-lined cemented tank to store spring-water for drinking purposes, in combination with a dug-out farm pond lined with a 0.25 mm thick Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPE) sheet to collect the overflow from the tank and surface runoff, is a technically feasible and economically viable option to develop water resources and to enhance the irrigation potential in the region. This integrated approach must be spread to the far-off places in mid and high hills, which is a challenge for the developmental agencies in the undulating, rugged and inaccessible terrain.
Year: 2009
Language: English
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 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17