Conservation of water is becoming an important global issue as water demand increases but due to population growth and climate change water supply is likely to diminish. The paper dealt with the issue of water management in Sovanagar High School, a govt. sponsored high school in a village of Malda district of West Bengal. The “Jal Dharo Jal Bharo” initiative of this institute tries to provide a replicable framework as a solution for water management in the educational organizations as well as public sectors.
Water Harvesting System at Sovanagar High School
Almost all rivers, lakes, ponds and wells receive water from rains. Before urbanization, all these water bodies were abundant. Over the years, most of these water bodies dried up due to lack of our knowledge (encouragement due to rapid constructions of building non penetrating flooring). This turned into a nightmare for us as we either face rain water flooding or dry days.
Our mission should be conservation of water. Since we cannot produce energy we can save it by preventing wastage. In the same way we cannot produce water but save it and protect our future.
Rain water harvesting system:
Rain water harvesting is the process of collection of rain water from surfaces on which rain falls, filtering it and storing it for multiple uses. Rain water harvesting puts the supply of water back to normal levels. It is the collection and storage of water from the surfaces that rain has fallen upon. It is an innovative technique to harvest rainwater from roofs and other surfaces to storage tanks and can be later use. Rain harvested water can be used for garden and crop irrigation, fishery, and flashing toilets.
Our intent is to wake up on ‘how to harvest and avoid extremities’ and co-exist with this beautiful nature by implementing following steps;
Part 1: Storage tank in the rooftop:
In our school we have a huge tank for rain water storage. Here we store rain water after filtering. It is then used in our kitchen garden, botanical garden and for fishery purpose.
Part 2: Recharge Pits:
Recharge pit in every building as it helps in recharging the bore well with clean rain water.
- Digging is done at the sand layer. This helps in percolating water at a faster rate.
- All rooftop outlets are connected to the Recharge pit through a filter.
- Surface run water within campus diverted towards recharge pit.
- PVC pipes, a water barrel and some students are all it takes to set a low cost rain water harvesting system. We installed this system in our school in last June, 2019. A PVC pipe from the terrace which leads into a barrel. The barrel is drilled with holes and is placed in a 4 feet deep cavity. The cavity is filled with loose rocks and pebbles allowing collected water to seep through. The cavity also a doubles us as a temporary tank during heavy rains.
Best practices in the Agriculture to save water
Food and agriculture are the largest consumers of water today. Going forward, availability of water for agriculture is going to be one of the major concerns across rural India. Reports suggest India used more ground water than China. By 2030, most of the ground water in the country will be under critical condition.
Indian agriculture needs to be sustainably inclined by implementing and deploying region specific intervention in presenting the precious water resources. We have some practices in our school;
1. Vermicompost and compost:
Vermicompost is earthworm excrement, called casting, which can improve biological, chemical and physical properties of soil. Adopted biological intervention such as vermicomposting and organic fertilizers which increase the soil organic carbon. This intervention is found to improve the soil structure and can increase the water holding capacity.
2. Green House:
We have made a green house by single used plastic bottles for producing seedlings and vegetables. Deployment of protected climate- smart seedling production technique which reduces water usage.
3. Micro irrigation and drip irrigation:
Deployment of drip irrigation to deliver water directly to the plant’s root.
4. Grey water harvesting:
Used water from kitchens, mass hand washing units used here for plants in our kitchen garden, botanical garden. As a part of rain water harvesting system we have started rooftop harvesting and a fishery unit. Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflowers, pumpkins, bottle guard are now being produced on the rooftop of the school. These are cooked and served to the students for mid day meal.
5. Awareness programmes:
Observations of Water Day, Environment Day, Earth Day, Nirmal Vidyalaya Week, Swaschha Bharat Avijan for spreading awareness on water conservation and best practices of water management. Seminars on water conservation have been undertaken by school authority time to time. Role play, street play, surveys, rally for save water organized throughout the year by student’s parliament, members of Eco Club, Vigyan Manacha with the help of guide teachers.
The water harvesting technique has lots of benefits and it is popular. The technology is well known by the students and local population but training is necessary for future purpose. A wider hydrological research is necessary to see how resilient the ground system is in our locality.
Dr. Hariswami Das