The alarm signals could not have been clearer or more explicit. Water harvesting tops the list of priority issues identified by the Community Relations (CR) team of Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), the wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company. The Company plans to give more focus on these in the year that has just begun and intervene systematically which starts from assessment of the area in terms of Geo hydrological status, construction of the water harvesting structure and its prudent usage
Again, water harvesting features in the list of three ‘most critical’ areas of concern that, the CGPL authorities have decided, require immediate intervention of the CR team, and its exclusive attention.
CGPL has devised the strategic intent to work upon (A) Livelihood linked ecosystem (B) Basic Needs and (C) Social Capital and infrastructure; these are based on the approach of long term sustainability Therefore, all CR activities are designed to prepare and fortify the neighbouring region to develop sustainably. In the case of CGPL the region encompasses Mundra and Mandvi talukas in the Kutch district of Gujarat. And the Company’s unwavering focus on rainwater harvesting reflects how critical the status of water is in this region.
Covered with salt marshes (or ranns as they are popularly known), the land here remains submerged during the monsoons, then turns into vast tracts of arid plains for rest of the year. The traditional rann dwellers knew that to prevent fresh rainwater—a rare commodity–flow off unused, it was critical to get the water absolutely right. That they needed a very finely balanced system of water supply and distribution to run a healthy economy. And that rainfall had to be captured where it fell…locally. CGPL uses this lesson from the past as the basic tenet of Project Varsha, an initiative to tackle the water woes of the people living in Mundra and Mandvi Taluka of Kutch. The area lies within the site of CGPL’s flagship scheme, the 4000 MW Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project.
This cluster of villages is perennially threatened by acute water crisis. People living here use ground water wells as the main source of drinking water. Most of these wells are shallow and are turning saline due to excessive extraction of ground water, little rain fall etc. As if this was not enough, an abundance of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) has been identified in the water in the region. Little surprise, therefore, it leads to cases of water borne diseases.
Water, therefore, poses a formidable challenge for all bodies of authority— an elected government in charge of its electorate or a corporate entity responsible for the communities living in and around its project site. CGPL has taken up the water management (harvesting and conservation) as its key initiative and has designed Project Varsha as a tool to implement this ambitious task. Its strategy is to harvest the fresh, clean rainwater and store it for household purposes, including drinking; and/or to use it directly to recharge the receding ground water table.
CGPL has set up 40 roof rainwater harvesting structures in Modhva village. Besides this, it has renovated and built several checkdams, ponds and water bodies, in a bid to recharge ground water levels. For instance, in Nana Bhadia village, a check dam has been constructed. This process helps to improve the quality and flow of water in the borewells and open wells in adjacent villages, thereby benefitting hundreds of rural households.
While it is too early to guage its impact on Kutch’s severely damaged water resources, the villagers are certainly will cerytinly will get the benfit through fresh, clean water, which, more significantly,
Now with CGPL pledging to focus exclusively on this, the water deal can only get sweeter for them. Amen.
Source: CGPL Annual Plan CR, 2014-2015