Varsity replenishes watershed ponds on campus to improve water table

More than a hundred dried up borewells in the residential localities around the campus of the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore have started yielding water, thanks to the the watershed efforts by the university in its 1,300-acre campus.

The university has six major watershed ponds besides six minor ones. The biggest of them, located in the university’s Horticulture Department garden, was recently revived by de-silting the main pond and clearing the obstacles in the connecting network of storm-water drains. The other watershed structures too were revived before the rainy season.

All the revived watershed tanks are now full due to the good rains and its positive impact is being felt both inside and outside the campus, observes UAS-B Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda.

“We have 56 borewells on the university campus. Of them, 16 to 20 dried up borewells have started coming back to life,” notes M.A. Shankar, UAS-B Director of Research. “In addition to this, people from the surrounding localities have been telling us that their dried up borewells too have started yielding water,” he says. While the exact number of borewells that have been revived in the residential localities is yet to be assessed, their number is definitely more than 100, according to him.

“We have been getting information of dried up borewells yielding water from the surrounding localities, including Canara Bank Layout, parts of Vidyaranyapura, Judicial Layout, parts of Yelahanka New Town, Attur Layout and Thindlu,” he says.

Citing an example, Assistant Director of Research D. Nuthan notes, “A borewell near the university’s Horticulture Department used to yield water for about 45 minutes a day. Now, we are able to pump water for nearly eight hours.”

Explaining the benefits of watershed, Prof. Shankar says it would help increase groundwater level besides checking the erosion of soil. The basic idea is to ensure that the rainwater does not go waste. “The university campus receives an average of 750 to 850 mm of annual rainfall. But there are peak seasons and peak days during which most part of this rainfall is received. For example, we have received 114 mm of rainfall in just two days recently. If you do not hold that water and ensure that it percolates into the ground, it will not help increase groundwater table,” he points out.

Lesson for Bangalore

If the university’s efforts could help improve the water table in the surrounding areas, is it not possible to adopt a similar technology to help recharge groundwater in other parts of Bangalore where the groundwater is fast receding? Prof. Shankar says

Bangalore has the ideal geological and geographical conditions for watershed development.

“In fact, historically Bangalore had innumerable number of well-planned watershed ponds with supporting catchment areas,” he recalls.

Prof. Shankar says that the university is willing to help civic authorities if they show interest in recharging groundwater through watershed.

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