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Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse
through Farm Ponds
Experiences, Issues and Strategies

Proceedings of National
Workshop-cum-Brain Storming

21-22 April 2009

CRIDA, Hyderabad


K.V. Rao, B.Venkateswarlu, K.L. Sahrawath,

S.P. Wani, P.K. Mishra, S.Dixit, K. Srinivasa Reddy,
Manoranjan Kumar and U.S. Saikia

CRIDA Central Research Institute

for Dryland Agriculture
Hyderabad, AP, India

International Crops Research Institute

for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture
Santosh Nagar, Saidabad

The editors:
K.V. Rao, B.Venkateswarlu, P.K. Mishra, S.Dixit, K. Srinivasa Reddy, Manoranjan Kumar and
U.S. Saikia are from CRIDA, Hyderabad. K.L. Sahrawath and S.P. Wani are from ICRISAT,

K.V. Rao, B.Venkateswarlu, K.L. Sahrawath, S.P. Wani, P.K. Mishra, S.Dixit, K. Srinivasa Reddy,
Manoranjan Kumar and U.S. Saikia, (Eds) 2010. Proceedings of National Workshop-
cum-Brain Storming on Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds: Experiences,
Issues and Strategies. Pages : 242

rainwater/ water harvesting/ farm pond/ ponds/ tank/ lining material/ harvestable surplus/
runoff/ supplemental irrigation/ livelihoods/ water storage structures/ on-farm reservoir/
optimum size/ networking/ reuse/ economic analysis/ rainfed region/ vetisols/ alfisols/
shivaliks/ malwa/ hill region/ north east region

Copyright © 2010. CRIDA. All rights reserved.

For all queries and comments:

CRIDA - Central Research Institute
for Dryland Agriculture

Dr B Venkateswarlu

Rainfed farming will remain the main stay for the livelihood support of millions of small
and marginal farmers across the country even after realizing the complete irrigation
potential. Rainwater management is the most critical component of rainfed farming.
The successful production of rainfed crops largely depends on how efficiently soil
moisture is conserved in situ or the surplus runoff is harvested, stored and recycled
for supplemental irrigation.

Research by ICAR and State Agricultural Universities has resulted in designing of ef-
ficient water harvesting structures for different rainfall regions and soil types, effective
storage of harvested water and methods of its efficient use. Outside the main stream
research system also, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have come up
with models of simple and low cost water harvesting structures, evolved water sharing
methods, community regulation of water use, which helped in up-scaling the models
to certain extent. Different state governments (Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat
etc) have initiated special programmes on farm ponds/small storage structures in order
to ensure the sustainability and to improve the livelihoods of people.

Despite these experiences, the adoption of farm ponds at the individual farm level has
been very low, particularly for drought proofing through life saving irrigation of kharif
crops. A number of technological and socio-economic constraints are cited for this poor
adoption and up-scaling. With climate change posing a major challenge for rainfed
agriculture and the constraints in further expansion of irrigated area in the country,
rainwater harvesting and efficient water use are inevitable options to sustain rainfed
agriculture in future. The rainfall extremes and high intensity rain events witnessed
in recent years are likely to cause large spatial and temporal variations in the amount
of surplus runoff available for harvesting. In some areas, there could be increased
runoff and more potential for harvesting, while in other areas it might decrease.
Considering these issues, a two-day National Workshop-cum-Brain storming session
on farm pond technology was organized at CRIDA during 21-22 April,20009 with
the objectives of (a) Sharing of experiences on water harvesting and reuse through
farm ponds and related issues, among scientific institutions, Govt. departments, NGOs,
civil society organizations and progressive farmers. (b) to Understand the biophysical,
technological and social constraints in adoption and up-scaling. and (c)Identify criti-
cal research gaps and policy initiatives for wider adoption of farm pond technology
in the country.

The workshop was primarily sponsored by National Agricultural Innovation Programme

(NAIP) of ICAR under Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Programme. The workshop was
attended by about 80 members representing scientific community (both ICAR and
state agricultural universities), central and state government departments and NGOs.
The present volume presents the practices being followed in different states and re-
cent technological advances made, the role being envisaged for farm ponds in rainfed

Sl.No. Pg. No.

Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling: Current Status and Issues 1

1. Rainwater Harvesting through Farm pond and Well Recharging 3
Structures to Support Rainfed Agriculture
2. Water Harvesting Structures in Naturally Water Scarce Regions: 14
Hydrological Opportunity and Economic Viability
3. Water Seepage Control through Novel Sheet Materials 24
4. Rainwater Harvesting: A Key to Survival in Hot Arid Zone of 29
5. Optimum Design of Watershed Based Tank System for Semiarid and 39
Sub-humid Tropics
6. Evaluation of Watershed Development Programs in India using the 45
Economic Surplus Method
7. Optimum Sizing of On-Farm Reservoir for Various Cropping Systems 60
in Rainfed Uplands of Eastern India
8. Water Harvesting Potential Assessment in Rainfed Regions of India 67

Experiences of Water Harvesting through Farm Ponds in 75

Vertisol Regions
9. Impact of Water Harvesting Structures on Water Availability - A Case 77
Study of Kokarda Watershed, Nagpur District of Maharashtra
10. Water Harvesting and Recycling Technology for Sustainable 82
Agriculture in Vertisols with high Rainfall
11. Use of Water Harvesting Tanks in Black Soils of Malwa Region– A 91
Case Study
12. Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Enhancement through 98
Rain Water Harvesting in Vertisols of Adilabad District: A Case Study
13. Dugout Farm Pond - A Potential Source of Water Harvesting in Deep 100
Black Soils in Deccan Plateau Region
14. On-farm Testing of Lining Materials in Small Experimental Tanks for 109
Supplemental Irrigation
15. Factors affecting the adoption of farm ponds in Drought prone areas 111
of Gujarat: Sharing Experiences of AKRSP (I)
16. Harvesting and effective utilization of rainwater in diked rice fields of 119
medium lands in eastern region – A case study
17. Rainwater harvesting through farm ponds & shallow dug wells and 127
reuse through paddle operated low lift pump in Bastar region of

Experience of Water Harvesting through Farm Ponds in Alfisols 135

and other Related Soil Regions
18. Farm ponds for a Viable and Profitable Dry Land Agriculture – 137
Experiences in Alfisols of Karnataka
19. Talaparige: A unique traditional Water bodies 145
20. Farm pond for Income and Livelihood security : A case study from 149
Anantapur district of AP
21. Farm Pond - A Means for Poverty Reduction-Experiences from Chittor 154
district of AP
22. Rainwater Harvesting and Supplemental Irrigation through Farm- 161
ponds and Evaluation of Lining Materials
23. Farm Pond Technology for Semi-Arid Alfisol Region of Telengana in 170
Andhra Pradesh
24. Rainwater Harvest and its reuse for Groundwater Recharge – A Case 175
25. Farm Pond initiative in Rainfed Areas in Rajasthan 182

Experience of Water Harvesting through Farm Ponds in High 187

Rainfall Hill and Mountain Regions
26. Water Harvesting in Hilly Areas of Uttarakhand: Opportunities and 189
27. Farm Ponds for Supplementary Irrigation toPlantation Crops in Goa 197
28. Rainwater Harvesting through Cost-effective Water Storage Structures 202
in Mid Hills of Himachal Pradesh: A Success Story
29. Water Harvesting for Supplemental Irrigation-Case study from in 207
Shivalik Hill Region
30. Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling for Sustainable Agricultural 213
Production in North Eastern Hill Region
31. Networking of Farm Ponds A Novel Method for Rainwater 222
Harvesting and Management in Dryland Farming
32. Proceedings of the National Workshop cum Brain Storming on 230
Rainwater harvesting and reuse through farm ponds: Experiences,
issues and strategies held during April 21-22, 2009 at CRIDA,
Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling:
Current Status and Issues

Rainwater Harvesting through Farm pond and Well
Recharging Structures to Support Rainfed Agriculture
Sandeep Khanwalkar
Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project (MPRLP), Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Abstract historically (now it is completely changed

Even in high rainfall areas also, agriculture is due to technology) compared to the Haveli
not sustainable in the absence of water storage area (Mahakoshal or Jabalpur region) where
structures. Realising the fact that livelihoods crops were grown using water collected in
in tribal areas can be improved with water big talabs, which exist in the area. This prac-
resources augmentation, Madhya Pradesh tice is similar to the practice adopted in
Rural Livelihoods Programme (MPRLP) Rajasthan where it is termed Khadin.
initiated a program in watershed mode with But still there is a need to implement wa-
emphasis on farm level water resource aug- ter conservation practices in view of erratic
mentation through farm ponds, recharging rainfall in vast tracts of India. The pattern
of dug wells, stop dams etc. The paper pres- of water has changed drastically due to
ents a detailed account of the efforts made the availability of improved water lifting
in Mandla district and lessons learnt while technologies. Consequently, crop produc-
implementation of the program. tion has intensified in larger areas.

There is requirement is to conserve rainwa-

Introduction ter adopting various conservation practices
Since time immemorial, water conservation like farm pond, recharge structure for open
and harvesting have been practiced in India well, field bunding, diversion drain to col-
and other parts of world. The production lect more water in farm ponds and open
process depends on the timely water con- wells. This will lead to increased availabil-
servation in Talab, pokhar, johad, khet talab, ity of water for agricultural purposes, lead-
and bandha. Rajasthan is famous for its tradi- ing to higher production. It is proven that
tional water conservation and harvesting farm ponds not only store water but also
practices. Madhya Pradesh, the Pat Bandh- contribute to conserving soil moisture and
na is an age-old practice adopted by tribal sub-surface water. It is important to increase
families. Chandela tanks are good example awareness at the field level on the usefulness
of water conservation and harvesting, con- of farm pond and well-recharging structures
structed by the Chandelas rulers. even though they are constructed at the
cost of productive land.
In Madhya Pradesh, agriculture is mainly
rainfed and the cropping pattern developed
was also based on total quantum of rains About the Project
received and type of soil. For example, in The philosophy behind the Madhya
Malwa, which was known for good soil qual- Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project (MPRLP)
ity and depth had different cropping pattern is to lead a fight against the rural poverty


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

along with the rural poor through bottom- The project is working on water conserva-
up approach. The rural poor could be the tion in all the project villages. National Rural
real agents of economic change if given op- Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS)
portunities to realise their inner strengths provided an opportunity to work on these
and build confidence among them to rise issues. The project being an implement-
above the poverty. The decision for the dis- ing agency for the NREGS is involved in
posal of untied funds by the gram sabha constructing farm ponds, open wells with
stems from this philosophy. recharging structures, field bunding, and
undertaking plantation by adopting water-
With the area-specific strategies and flex- shed approach. Since 2006, the project is
ible approaches to rural livelihoods options, working as the implementing agency for
the MPRLP helps the poor to explore and the NREGS in project districts. Concept of
harness local opportunities of livelihoods, Technical Support Team was introduced to
sharpen skills to avail such opportunities take watershed programme to the project
and march on with self-motivated entrepre- districts. Apart from this, the project is
neurship. The fulcrum of all development also implementing various sub-schemes
activities and capacity building is the gram developed under NREGS by the Depart-
sabha or the village assembly. ment of Panchayat & Rural Development,
MPRLP is operating in 4000 villages of 9 Government of Madhya Pradesh. These
tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh (Figure sub-schemes were mainly conceptualised
1) namely Anuppur, Dindori, Mandla, and to support and strengthen natural resource
Shahdol in the eastern parts, Aalirajpur, Bar- base activities at the village level.
wani, Dhar, and Jhabua in the south-western A total of 64 farm ponds and 1001 open wells
parts and Sheopur is in the northern part were constructed spending Rs. 442.81 lakhs
of Madhya Pradesh. under the Kapildhara sub-scheme of NREGS
in the project districts by December 2008.
Farm Ponds and Open well construction in
the Mandla district was taken up at a large
scale. For implementation of these activities,
the project also involved two of its partner
organisations as Technical Facilitation Team
at the cluster level. This concept showed
good results to undertake focused activities
at a large scale. In this paper, experiences
from the Mandla district are shared. The
project also conducted detailed outcome
Figure 1. MPRLP districts in Madhya Pradesh analysis of the activities with respect to
The project strengthens the programmes water availability to support rainfed agri-
like watershed management and joint for- cultural production.
est management and attempts to create
livelihoods through the creation of micro- Brief Profile of Mandla District
enterprises, drawing on the agricultural,
The district Mandla is situated in the catch-
forest and livestock resource base and skill
ments of river Narmada and its tributaries.
endowments of the people.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Mandla is richly endowed with dense forests. etc., with a rainfall of 1200-1600 mm make
The world famous Kanha National Park is the district rich in terms of natural resources,
the pride of Mandla and of the state. The which provide opportunity for better man-
majestic tigers add to the beauty of Kanha agement and use of these resources. District
forests. The geographic area is 8771 km2 is also rich in bio-diversity. These all are
spanned over and the length of the district potential sectors, which contribute to the
is about 133 km from north to south and overall growth including livelihoods of the
182 km east to west and the population is tribal families. There is a need to manage
8,94,236. There are 9 blocks, 4 Tehsils and these resources involving the community.
1247 villages. Mandla district is part of the
Deccan trap, which forms the most important Poverty, irregular cash flow, low production,
aquifers. The weathered, fractured, jointed lack of infrastructure, lack of market sup-
and vesicular units of basalts in Deccan traps port, no updated information on improved
form moderate to good aquifers. practices of crops production, livestock rear-
ing, fish production etc are the most com-
Table 1. Land use classification of mon constraints for the overall growth and
Mandla (in ’000 ha) development of the tribal region. Within
Forest 593 district also, the impact of these constraints
Fallow Land 62 varies in different areas (Table 3).
Cultivable Waste Land 20
Land not Available for Cultivation 53 Water Conservation and
Other Uncultivated Land Excluding 20
both Fallow Land and Cultivable
Rainfed Agriculture
Waste Land Livelihoods of the tribal families mainly de-
Net Sown Area 218 pend on agriculture & allied sector, Non-
Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) and labour.
Groundwater situation in Mandla district Entire market system and cultural practices
comes under safe zone. With good rainfall, are framed around agriculture, allied activi-
the Mandla district is known for its wild ties and forestry activities. One needs to
life, the forest cover and Kanha Tiger Safari. understand it from the tribal perspective
Paddy is the main crop in the kharif season. to address the issues logically.
Rainfall ranges between 1200 to 1600 mm
annually (Table 2). Mandla’s eastern region Sustainable agriculture can be possible
receives about 157.00 cm rainfall. Even with when management of the natural resources
good rainfall, water conservation is needed is done on a sustainable basis. Agriculture
across the district. requires good quality and improved seed,
healthy and productive soil and water. The
results in Table 4 help in assessment of the
Potential and Constraints relationship between availability of water,
Good forests cover on upper ridge, black soils and crop factors on crop production.
cotton soil in the plains, perennial streams

Table 2. Rainfall Data (mm)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
5.2 17.8 23.5 4.1 13.4 149.4 61.1 412.2 144.1 57.1 1.2 0


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Present requirement is to understand how We tried to work on these issues by adopt-

we can promote and facilitate water conser- ing watershed approach and construction
vation using various methods to ensure that of farm pond and open well supported by
the groundwater is not polluted and not the recharging structures. To increase the
over exploited, sub surface water availability life of these structures, the catchment treat-
increased, soil moisture retention capacity ment and field bunds were also built so
enhanced and over all water availability is that the silt deposition in farm ponds can
increased. be reduced and rainwater can be diverted
in to the open wells.

Table 3.
Particulars Constraint Opportunity
Production Low and low rate of adoption of Good soil, improved crop varieties
improved practices
Rainfall Short duration, high intensity Overall quantum is good, availability
of moisture for longer duration,
area available for water harvesting
Soil depth High rate of top soil erosion Traditional conservation practice and
good soil depth in plains
Soil type Good quality soil, traditional
conservation practices
Market support No or poor market support, market Linkages can be developed if
not poor sensitive organic farming is promoted
Information No proper information dissemination Various government programme
mechanism according to farmer which provides information in
demand, Low literacy rate. different mode/mediums.
Dependency only on traditional
Cash flow Irregular, high debt, limited cash SHG movement, NREGS,
crops, no banking services Government schemes
Infrastructure Remote location BRGF, PMGSY, NREGS

Table 4.
Water availability Soil Crop
Quantity per day Texture Type of root system
Rotation or turn period Structure Life-span
System and method of irrigation Depth up to the water-table Consumptive water needs in
relation to climate
Water quality class Infiltration and permeability Critical periods with respect to
Slope of land Yield response in relation to


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Watershed and Agricultural • Water requirement and management

Development (critical stages of irrigation)
Poor soil and water management is one The focus is to build water harvesting struc-
of the root causes of poor productivity tures on community land as well as private
of the tribal household farms. The tradi- farm lands. The creation of these structures
tional dependence on rainfed agriculture has helped to improve productivity of rain-
causes fluctuations in production levels and fed farming. The project is working on in-
imparts instability to the tribal economy. creasing the cropped area as well as through
Lessons within Madhya Pradesh and in diversification of cropping systems. For this,
other states have shown that the creation the watershed development activities are
of water harvesting structures, as a commu- helping the community to adopt improved
nity movement, is an effective approach to agricultural practices leading to increased
stabilise peoples’ incomes and reduce their incomes through higher productivity.
vulnerability. The increase in soil fertility
and water availability achieved through To insure agricultural production ‘water’ is
watershed management contributed to very crucial as a large area of agriculture in
increased productivity and production to Mandla district is rainfed. Scarcity of wa-
enable farmers to take two or more crops ter, especially sub surface water was not a
per year, with both food security and cash constraint earlier but in last few years this
income benefits.1 The present low-level of has become a problem. The reason is very
irrigation underscores the need to take up simple it is assumed that if there is good
more interventions to enhance crop pro- rainfall, the water scarcity should not be
duction and soil water conservation in the there. Therefore, the conservation of water
Mandla district. was never a priority.

Watershed development is very important To work on water conservation in this

approach for the tribals given the twin district, it is important to understand the
benefits that it leads to. In the short-term groundwater status in the district and po-
outputs, it leads to income transfers through tential areas for water harvesting and using
wage employment given its labour intensive it for production purposes. This analysis will
nature and in the medium term outputs, it is help in identification of water conservation
leading to creation of assets that contribute activities and promotion of new crops which
to the sustainability of livelihoods. require more water.

The process of creating sustainable liveli- District groundwater user map (Figure
hood starts with livelihood analysis. The 2) proved clear picture of availability of
focus should be on the following: water and groundwater status of Mandla
district. If activities are planned according to
• A good quality land this map entire groundwater scenario will
• Good quality seed improve within district. It clearly explains
that dark green zone are appropriate for
• Knowledge on crop management prac- open well and bore well, light green area
tices of a crop and are suitable for open well and orange colour
area is suitable for conservation activities
1 MPRLP Phase II project document


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the households. At the village level, special

planning exercise to work on watershed
programme and soil water conservation
activities was carried out. This was an op-
portunity utilised to seize and strengthen
resource base to sustain livelihoods of tribal
families. Through NREGS, infrastructure
was created to conserve rainwater, which
Figure 2. Groundwater user Map,
can be used for productive purposes which
Mandla District, Madhya Pradesh.
Source: Ministry of water resources, Central Groundwater Broad includes drinking water for cattle, life sav-
ing irrigation for agriculture and irrigation
The Process to improved livelihoods. With these objec-
tives, work started in nine tribal districts of
Developing Village Profile Madhya Pradesh.
Detailed household survey was conducted
to asses the need and available resource In Madhya Pradesh, Department of
to develop a village profile at ward level Panchayat and Rural Development devel-
involving Ward Panch. Problem analysis oped sector-wise sub-schemes under the
and prioritisation revealed that water was NREGS. To implement the sub-schemes
primary and most crucial requirement of under NREGS special activity, planning
the tribal community as most of the rain- was done after developing village profile
fall received during two months and for and submitted to three tier PRI systems for
rest of the season is received less rains, all approval as per the act. After approval of
goes into drains and water is not used for the plans by PRI, the funds were released to
productive purpose. After that, all the is- the MPRLP. In Mandla district, we prepared
sues were compiled and prioritized at the special plan to implement these activities
village and Gram Panchayat level too. This in two clusters. Focus was mainly to cre-
helps in developing yearly plan under vari- ate water harvesting structure and take up
ous schemes. water conservation activities. Kapil Dhara
sub-scheme of NREGS mainly focuses on
In majority of the villages, soil erosion, water creating structures to conserve and harvest
conservation, and agricultural development rainwater for productive purpose with focus
were identified as priorities by majority of on agriculture.


Table 5. Cross section analysis

Hilly area is covered Upland Upland Mid up Land Medium land Low land
with good forest in
some part and some


parts it is degrading
Black cotton and loamy Loamy and Muram with Loamy, muram with, Loamy and clay in some Clay, black cotton soil in Clay and black cotton
some gravels in some and clay parts majority of area soil in majority of area
Mix of good, shallow Shallow Shallow to moderate Moderate Good soil depth Good soil depth
and average
Good up to October Good up to October Good up to November Good up to Mid Feb Good throughout year Good throughout year
Moderate Not very good Not very good Moderate Good to high High
Forest crops, grasses, Grasses, shrubs, fallow Double crop system: Double crop system: Mono crop Mono crop rice
some degrades patches land, niger, minor mostly rice- based rice- based farming Rice, on bund bund pigeon pea
millets, upland paddy system: rice/maize, system mostly pigeon pea
single crop fallow lentil, gram, pea: mostly Rice, lentil/wheat
land system is being traditional varieties
Soil erosion in Soil erosion Soil erosion Low production Low production Low production
degraded area, Poor quality soil High rate of moisture loss Small plot size Small plot size Small plot size
Shallow soil depth with Shallow soil depth Limited availability of Use of traditional Use of traditional Use of traditional
poor soil quality High rate of moisture loss nutrients in soil practices for production practices for production practices for production
Poor management of Low productivity Waterlogging Waterlogging
nutrients received from Poor drainage
Rich biomass from Receives good quantity Bio mass Bio mass Bio mass Bio mass
Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

forest of nutrient and bio mass Labour Labour Labour Labour

Availability of nutrients from upper ridges Traditional conservation Traditional conservation Traditional conservation Traditional conservation
from forest if managed If proper conservation practices practices practices practices
properly practices are adopted Fodder for livestock Fodder for livestock Fodder for livestock Fodder for livestock
Support in maintaining than production can be Moisture availability Good quality soil and
eco system enhanced Fodder for land
livestock Round the year
availability of moisture
and water

Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Kapildhara Scheme for conservation activities like construction of

Construction of Water farm pond were allowed.
Conservation Structures Steps in the implementation of Kapildhara
It is a scheme to conserve and harvest sub- sub-scheme:
surface flow of water mainly rainwater by
1. Selection of the beneficiary
creating structures like dug wells with recharg-
ing structure, farm pond, stop dam, and small 2. Selection, recommendation and
pond etc. It is seen that due to the presence approval of work
of basalt layer, the groundwater recharge
3. Preparation of the estimates and
capacity of the region is very low. Wells pro-
vide an opportunity to extract sub-surface
flow of the region without exploiting its 4. Construction of structures
groundwater reserve.

Criteria for beneficiary selection: 1. Sched-

For each activity, the villagers prepare pro-
uled tribe and scheduled caste families, 2.
posal and get it approved by the Gram Sab-
BPL families (not mandatory for SC & ST
ha. After that, the funds were transferred
families), 3. Beneficiary of land improve-
to them through by cheque or in cash, de-
ment activities and 4. Indira Awas Yojana
pending on amount to ensure transparency
families. Apart from these families, farmers
at village level.
have criteria to fulfil like they should not
have any source for irrigating their crops,
should have at least 1 ha land and one Design and Cost Estimates
member from family should be educated Open well
up to 5th standard. For some tribes like Diameter Depth in Lining in
Type of land strata
Baiga, Sahariy and Bharia, this criterion is in Meter Meter Meter
not applicable. These activities can be taken Basalt 5.00 12.00 3.00
in groups also. Areas where construction Rocks other than Basalt 4.00 12.00 3.00
of open well is not possible due to deep Brick linking in Alluvium 2.5 20.00 20.00
groundwater and dark zone there only RCC Lining in Alluvium 2.00 10.00 10.00
(Ring Well)
Well recharge pit for open well: 3X3X3 meter;
cost estimate Rs. 3500/ RP
For One Hectare Cross section

Sand Pip



Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Farm Pond
Sr.No. Details Length Width Depth Quantity
1 Excavation work 15X15+6X6 3.00 meter 391.5 M3
2 Hard soil (50%) 391.5X1/2 196.75 M3
3 Hard Murram (50%) 391.5X1/2 196.75 M3
4. Inlet - outlet

of Farm Land Results

Water conservation by farm pond and open
well with recharging structures helped in
creating additional source for sub-soil water
for production purpose. The total additional
irrigation potential created 903.57 m3. By
constructing a total of 64 farm ponds (Table
6) is roughly 25056 M3. This will help in
conserving more water within the village
boundary and increase duration of sub soil
moisture which will definitely contribute to
production of crops.

All these ponds are meeting its purpose

and there is increased demand for construc-
tion of farm ponds by the tribal farmers.
Most of the ponds are not lined with any

Farm Pond size was determined based on

the total area and water availability. Differ-
ent sizes of farm ponds are as given:
1. For 0.5 ha farm area, the pond size is
15X15X3 M
2. For 1 ha Farm area , the pond size is
18X21X3 M
3. For 1 ha Farm area, the pond size is
21X23X3 M


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

material. Grasses were sown in the inner created awareness within these villages to
side of the pond and on top bund pigeon conserve water adopting soil and water
pea crop is planted. This way overall pigeon- management practices to enhance agricul-
pea production in the area increased, which tural production.
provides farmers additional income.
• The most important learning is how to
In most of the open wells, farmers were convince community in the high rainfall
provided water lifting devices like low lift areas to adopt conservation measures.
pump, diesel pump with pipe line. As part Second thing we need to immediately
of the strategy we are linking all farmers work on is to enhancing awareness on
in our project villages that have any water the conservation of surface water during
resource to provide them support to have good or bad rainfall years.
water lifting devices. This is now changing
• Need-based and available resource-
the cropping patterns in these villages.
based planning to improve livelihoods
All farmers, who got support through these enhanced community participation and
interventions, are now taking two crops sustainability.
with assured irrigation. This is not only sus- • Short-duration crops like papaya,
taining their livelihoods but contributing to vegetables, flowers, onion, garlic, etc.
overall production of the state. The initiative are grown as intercrops for additional
taken under NREGS produced varied de- income.
gree of outcomes mainly increased areas for
water conservation and harvesting which • All the activities related to conservation
can be used for agriculture production. should be done on a cluster basis for
preparing logical plans as per require-
ment of the area.
Lessons Learnt
It was a good experience in implementing • All resource development should be
these activities in a cluster. Entire approach linked with production activities which

Table 6. Details of various soil and water conservation activities

taken under NREGS
Sub Particular/ No. of No. of Quan- Area Expenditure
scheme sub scheme villages families tity in Rs.
Kapil- No. of Farm ponds 59 64 64 32 ha irrigation at least 2070129
dhara once
No. of Wells 23 23 23 Ha
Bhumi Area coverage under 256 91.48 ha 790109
Shilp bunding
CPW constructed 7988 running meters. 966566
Gulley plugging 660 no.s and 672746.5
Nandan Aonla, Guava, Lemon, 209 HH 12270 78 Ha. 24,000,00
Falodyan Custurd apple, Jack Fruit


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

individual and cluster level. Our approach

Outcome to upscale is as follow:
• Increased irrigation area in the dis-
trict. • Prepare shelf of project for construction
• Farmers who have got farm pond or well of farm ponds, open well, well recharg-
are taking at least two assured crops in ing structures. Make presentation in the
a year. gram sabha for approval. After that get
• Farmers risk bearing ability increased.
approval from three tier PRI system. En-
Shift in vegetable cultivation is one sure fund release as per demand and
strong indicator time plan from zila panchayat.
• It helps in the introduction of new • Capacity building of stakeholders on pro-
crops i.e. mulberry based sericulture, ductive aspect related to this activity.
vegetable farming, etc.
• It also generates more wage employ-
• Orientation of field functionaries
ment in the district • Ensuring funds at village level
• Sharing of learning at various forums
are directly related to livelihoods of the for wider circulation.
• Documentation of success stories.
• After construction and repair of these re-
sources, additional support to use them
for productive purpose is must. References
• Productive link analysis is must. After 1.
this analysis, we must discuss this with soils4.html
beneficiaries to make them understand 2. h t t p : / / w w w . n r e g a - m p . n i c . i n /
the importance of input made on it. NREGA MP web site
3. Frank Peacock, Ritu Bharadwaj and
Strategies for Upscaling Sandeep Khanwalkar: Land and Water
Resource, MPRLP study document
The activities promoted by MPRLP are al-
ready accepted by the government. Funds 4. Project document Madhya Pradesh
are available to take us these activities at the Rural Livelihood Project Phase II


Water Harvesting Structures in Naturally Water Scarce
Regions: Hydrological Opportunity and Economic Viability
M. Dinesh Kumar
Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad

Abstract system, or the technology to access it is

This paper assesses the effectiveness of economically unviable. This includes the
runoff harvesting in naturally water-scarce surface water, water stored in the aquifers,
regions of India from the point of view of and that held in the soil profile. Water scar-
improving both local hydrological regimes, city can be physical (where the demand for
and basin water balance; discusses the vari- water for various human uses far exceeds
ous considerations involved in analyzing the total water available or the technology)
economics of runoff harvesting, and their or economic i.e. also be felt when the re-
imperatives for determining the optimum sources are available in plenty in the natural
level of water harvesting in water-scarce system in a particular region, but adequate
basins; and identify the sets of conditions financial resources to access available water
under which rainwater harvesting structures due to unfavorable economic situation it
(RWHS) generate the intended benefits. are not available with the populations liv-
ing in there. The former is called physical
scarcity, and the latter economic scarcity. In
Methodology this article we are concerned with regions
The methodology involved analysis of: facing physical scarcity of water.
macro level hydrological and geo-hydro-
Physical scarcity of water occurs in the re-
logical data of the country, including data
gions which experiences low to medium
on annual rainfalls, rainfall variability, no.
rainfalls and high evaporation rates, which
of rainy days, soil infiltration, potential
are otherwise called naturally water-scarce
evaporation (PE); data on rainfall, runoff
regions. Most parts of Western, North-west-
and reference evapo-transpiration (ET0) for
ern Central and Peninsular India fall under
selected basins viz., Narmada, Cauvery, Pen-
this category. They have low to medium
nar, Krishna and Sabarmati; and data on
rainfalls and high potential evaporation
effects of water harvesting on stream flows
(PE) rates. The mean annual rainfall ranges
and groundwater levels for Ghelo river ba-
from less than 300 mm to 1000 mm, where
sin in Saurashtra, Gujarat.
as the PE ranges from less than 1500 mm
in some pockets in the north east to more
Naturally Water-scarce Regions than 3500 mm in some pockets in Gujarat
and Physical Scarcity of Water and Maharashtra.
From an anthropogenic perspective, water- In the subsequent section, we would explain
scarce regions are those where the demand the process which determine the supplies
for water for various human uses far exceeds and demand for water, which in turn in-
the total water available from the natural duces water scarcity in those regions. As


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

regards natural water supplies, the runoff supplying runoff water. But, unfortunately,
available from rainfall precipitation and the amount of virgin catchment left out in
groundwater recharge from a unit land water-scarce regions of India is very small.
area in such regions is generally low. This It varies from 58.6% in case of Pennar basin
is because runoff is the amount in excess to 28% in case of Sabarmati basin.
of the soil moisture storage and infiltra-
tion. Since evaporation rates are high, soil The increasing cropping intensity of crop
moisture generated from precipitation gets production in the rich upper catchments of
depleted during the rainy season fall itself, river basins and watersheds has two ma-
increasing infiltration of water which fulfills jor negative impacts on available renewable
the soil moisture deficit. This leaves much water resources. Firstly, First: it captures a
less chance for water to runoff. share of the runoff generated from the area,
and therefore reduces the available surface
As regards the demand for water, crop water supplies. Secondly, Second: increase in
evapo-transpiration mainly determines cultivated land increases the water require-
the requirement of water for agriculture, ment for irrigation. This way, large regions
as agriculture is the largest source of water in India are facing shortage of water to meet
demand for human uses in all major river the existing demands.
basins in India.

Analysis shows that for five river basins Downstream Impacts of

falling in the above mentioned regions, an- Upstream Water Harvesting
nual reference evapo-transpiration is many The states, viz., Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya
times more than effective renewable water Pradesh and Maharashtra took up inten-
resources. But, what is available for crop sive water harvesting during the past 20
production includes the soil moisture stor- years. The first decentralized modern water
age as well. But since the soil moisture stor- harvesting intervention in India was dug
age is a small fraction of the rainfall even well recharging, and was started in Saurash-
in very high rainfall regimes, the potential tra region after the three-year consecutive
evapo-transpiration (PET) for the entire year droughts during 1995-987. This involved di-
would be much higher than the sum of verting field runoff and runoff in the local
soil moisture storage--which is a fraction streams and nallas into open wells, which
of rainfall--, and effective renewable water are characteristic of hard rock regions. Grass
resources. root level NGOs, spiritual and religious in-
In that case, the imbalance between effec- stitutions, private agencies and social activ-
tive water availability and water demand ists participated in this programme, which
for agricultural uses is very high for all the later on came to be known as Saurashtra
five basins. In addition to the agricultural dug-well recharge movement.
water, there are demands for water from The argument was that the seven lakh open
other sectors such as domestic and industrial wells in the region could be recharged us-
uses. But, for the time being, we can ignore ing monsoon runoff, which was all flowing
this. This gap between demand and renew- waste into the sea. The people, who were
able supplies can be reduced if we have behind this movement, did not consider the
very less arable land, and very large amount fact that approximately 110 medium and
of land serving as natural catchments for


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

a few large reservoirs, which were located voir had significantly reduced after inten-
downstream, and were not getting sufficient sive water harvesting work was undertaken
flows even in normal rainfall years to supply in the upper catchment. The total number
for irrigation and drinking. The dependable of structures in the upper catchment area
runoff of the entire Saurashtra peninsula, of 59.57 sq. km is around 100. A close look
generated from 91 small river basins, is 3613 at the catchment rainfall and runoff in
MCM. Whereas all the major and medium Ghelo-Somnath shows that after 1995, the
reservoirs in the region have sufficient stor- year which saw intensive water harvesting
age capacity to capture up to 5458 MCM work, the reservoir overflowed only in 2005
water annually. This clearly shows that dug when the rainfall recorded was 789 mm.
well recharging if carried out in the upper Regressions of rainfall and runoff, carried
catchments of these basins, would only help out for two time periods i.e., 1969-1995 and
reduce the inflows into these reservoirs. 1995-2005, clearly show that the relationship
between rainfall and runoff had changed
But, the general belief is that because these after water harvesting (WH) interventions.
structures are too small that they are be- The amount of rainfall required for filling
nign (Batchelor et al., 2002) though present the reservoir had now increased from 320
in large numbers in most cases. The pri- mm to 800 mm. Though the curves intersect
mary reason for such an outlook is that the at higher rainfall magnitudes, this is not a
agencies which are concerned with small problem as such as high rainfall does not
water harvesting (in the upper catchment) occur in the basin.
and those which are concerned with major
head- works are different and they do not Many large and important river basins in
act in a coordinated fashion at the basin India, which are also facing water scarcity,
level of the basin. Building of small water are now “closed” or do not have uncommit-
harvesting systems such as tanks, check ted flows that are utilizable through con-
dams is often the responsibility of minor ventional engineering interventions. Some
irrigation circles of irrigation department of them are Pennar, Cauvery and Vaigai in
or district arms of the rural development the South (based on GOI 1999: pp 472-477),
departments of the states concerned. This and Sabarmati, Banas in the west, which are
ad hoc approach to planning often leads to “closed”. In addition to these, all the west-
over-appropriation of the basin water, with flowing rivers in Saurashtra and Kachchh
negative consequences for large reservoir in Gujarat are also “closed”. While Krishna
schemes downstream (Kumar et al., 2000). basin is on the verge of closure, one basin
As regards the quality of implementation which is still “open” is Godavari in the east
of the programme, it came under severe (based on GOI 1999: pp 466-469).
attack from Public Accounts Committee,
which found poor quality of construction, In nutshell, water harvesting interventions
and mis-appropriation of funds. While the in the “closed basins” located in the natu-
work was expected to be carried out by rally water-scarce regions would have ad-
Panchayats, the entire construction work was verse impacts on stream-flow availability
awarded to a few big contractors. for downstream uses. One could always
argue that in wet years, the runoff would
Data collected from Ghelo river basin shows be much higher than the normal rainfall.
that the inflows into Ghelo-Somnath reser- While harvesting this water would mean


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

huge investments for the structures, the in drought years, when the actual water
aquifers in hard rock areas lack the stor- demand for irrigation increases, the amount
age capacity to absorb the runoff diverted of runoff that can be captured becomes al-
into the system. On the other hand, in most negligible. Hence, the systems become
low rainfall years, the downstream impact unreliable. Though what can occurs at the
of intensive water harvesting systems in sub-basin level may not be representative
the upper catchments would be severe as of that in small upper catchments, the dif-
evident from the analysis of runoff data of ference cannot be drastic.
Ghelo river basin in Saurashtra.
When there is a high inter-annual variability
in the runoff a catchment generates, a major
Rainfall-Runoff Variability planning question which arises is “for what
and their Implications for capacity the water harvesting system should
Reliability of Water Supplies be designed”. When scarcity is acute, high-
est consideration is given to capturing all
and Economic Viability the water that is available. If all the runoff
Regions with semi arid and arid climate ex- which occurs in a high rainfall year is to be
perience extreme hydrological events (Hurd captured, then the cost of building the stor-
et al., 1999). Regions with high variability in age system would be many hundred times
rainfall in India coincide with those with low more than what is required to capture the
magnitudes of rainfall and high PE, which one which occurs during the lowest rain-
also have high dryness ratio (Kumar et al., fall. But, the system would receive water
2006). In such areas, a slight variation in to fill only a small fraction of its storage
precipitation or PE can substantially mag- capacity in the rest of the years. This could
nify the water stress on biological systems make it cost-ineffective. The issue of vari-
as compared to humid regions (Hurd et al., ability is applicable to the design of large
1999). Rainfall variability induces higher de- head works as well. But, in large systems,
gree of variability in runoff. We take the the water in excess of the storage capacity
example of the catchments of Banas basin could be diverted for irrigation and other
in North Gujarat of western India to illus- uses to areas which face water shortages
trate this. during the same season, thereby increasing
the effective storage.
In Palanpur area of Banaskantha district
in north Gujarat, which has semi arid to In order to illustrate this point, we use the
arid climatic conditions, the rainfall records data generated from Ghelo river basin in
show a variation from a lowest of 56 mm Saurashtra. The basin has a total catchment
in 1987 to 1584 mm in 1907. The runoff es- area of 59. 20 sq. km. It had a medium ir-
timated on the basis of regression equation rigation reservoir with a storage capacity of
developed for a sub-basin, named, Hathmati 5.68 MCM and has been functional since
of Sabarmati basin in north Gujarat, which 1966. On the basis of inflow data of the
is physiographically quite similar to Palan- reservoir for the period 1969-95, showed
pur area of Banaskantha, shows that the that the total runoff generated in the basin
runoff can vary from a lowest of 0.6 mm to varied from zero in the year correspond-
541 mm. Thus the lowest runoff is close to ing to a rainfall of 39 mm to a maximum
1/1000th of the highest runoff. This means, of 17.78 MCM in the year corresponding


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

to a rainfall of 1270 mm. Today, the total fall, soil infiltration rates, catchment slopes,
capacity of water harvesting systems built land cover and PET which determine the
in the upstream of Ghelo reservoir is 0.15 potential inflows; and evaporation rates that
MCM. During the period from 1969 to 2005, determine the potential outflows. Further
the reservoir showed overflow for 13 years for small water harvesting project, imple-
with a total quantum of 60.936 MCM. If one mented by local agencies and NGOs with
million cubic metres of runoff had to be small budgets, the cost of hydrological in-
captured in addition to the 5.89 MCM that vestigations and planning is hard to justify.
would be captured by the medium irrigation Often, provision for such items is not made
reservoir, it would cost around 0.09 X/m3 of in small water harvesting projects.
water, while capturing 3 MCM would cost
0.11 X/m3 of water. If the maximum runoff That said, the amount of runoff which a
observed in the basin, i.e., 17.785 MCM has water harvesting structure could capture,
to be captured, the total volume of water depends on not only the total quantum of
captured would be only 60.91 MCM, in runoff, but also how it occurs. A total annual
which case the unit cost of water harvest- runoff of 20 cm occurring over a catchment
ing would be around 0.21 X/m3 of water. of one sq. km. can generate a surface flow
Here, “X” is the cost of storage structures of 0.20 MCM. But the amount that could be
for creating an effective storage space of one captured depends on the rainfall pattern.
MCM. Here, again, we are not considering The low rainfall, semi arid and arid regions
the incremental financial cost of .the special of India, which experience extreme hydro-
structures for capturing high magnitudes of logical events, have annual rains occurring
runoff, which cause flash flood. in a fewer number of days as compared to
sub-humid and humid regions with high
rainfalls regions (Kumar et al., 2006). As a re-
Economics of Water Harvesting sult, in these regions, high intensity rainfalls
In the planning of large water resource of short duration are quite common. These
systems, cost and economics are impor- runoffs generate flash flood. If the entire
tant considerations in evaluating different runoff occurs in a major rainfall event, the
options. But unfortunately, the same does runoff collection efficiency would reduce
not seem to be applicable in the case of with reducing capacity of the structures
small systems. built. If large structures are built to cap-
ture high intensity runoff thereby increasing
Part of the reason for the lack of empha- the runoff collection efficiency, that would
sis on “cost” is the lack of scientific under- mean inflating cost per unit volume of water
standing of the hydrological aspects of small captured. In fact, authors such as Oweis,
scale interventions, such as the amount of Hachum and Kijne (1999) have argued that
stream flows that are available at the point runoff harvesting should be encouraged in
of impoundment, its pattern, the amount arid area only if the harvested water is di-
that could be impounded or recharged and rectly diverted to the crops for use.
the influence area of the recharge system.
Even though simulation models are avail- Given the data on inflows and runoff collec-
able for analyzing catchment hydrology, tion efficiencies, predicting the impacts on
there are great difficulties in generating the local hydrological regime is also extremely
vital data at the micro level on daily rain- complex, requiring accurate data on geo-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

logical and geo-hydrological profiles, and Rs.13.49/m3 for various crops in Hoshang-
variables. In lieu of the above described dif- abad; Rs. 1.9/m3 to Rs. 10.93/m3 for various
ficulties in assessing the effective storage, crops in Jabalpur; Rs. 2.59/m3 to Rs. 12.58/m3
unit costs are worked out on the basis of for crops in Narsingpur; Rs. 1.33/m3 to Rs.
the design storage capacity of the struc- 17/m3 for crops in Dhar; and Rs. 3.01/m3 to
tures and thumb rules about the number Rs. 17.91/m3 for crops in Raisen (Kumar and
of fillings. In order to get projects through, Singh, 2006). The lower values of gross re-
proponents show them as low cost technol- turn per cubic metre of water were found for
ogy, under-estimating the costs and inflating cereals, and high values were for low water
the recharge benefits. consuming pulses, and cotton. This means
that the net returns would be negative if
The government of India report (GOI, 2007) recharge water is used for irrigating such
bases its arguments for rainwater harvesting crops. Contrary to this, the report argues
on the pilot experiments conducted by CGWB that the costs are comparable with that of
in different parts of India using five different surface irrigation schemes (GOI, 2007: pp
types of structures (see GOI, 2007: pp 13-15 13). Such an inference has essentially come
for details). While the estimated costs per cu- from over-estimation of productive life of
bic metre of water were one-time costs (see the structures.
Column 6 of Table 3), the report assumes that
the structures would have a uniform life of Now, scale considerations are extremely im-
25 years. Two things in these figures are very portant in evaluating the cost and economics
striking. First: the costs widely vary from loca- of water harvesting/groundwater recharge
tion to location and from system to system, structures because of the hydrological in-
and the range is wide, which the report duly tegration of catchments at the level of wa-
acknowledges. Second: even for a life of 25 tershed and river basins. The economics of
years, the upper values would be extremely water harvesting systems cannot be per-
high, touching Rs.7.7/m3 of water for percola- formed for individual systems in isolation,
tion tank and Rs. 18.2/m3 for sub-surface dyke. when the amount of surplus water available
But, such a long life for recharge system is in a basin is limited, as interventions in the
highly unrealistic. Considering an active life upper catchments reduce the potential hy-
of 10 years for a percolation tank, 5 years for drological benefits from the lower systems
check dam and sub-surface dyke, and 3 years (Kumar et al., 2006; Ray and Bijarnia, 2006).
for recharge shaft, we have worked out the In the case of Arwari basin it was found
unit cost of recharging using these systems. that while the irrigated area in the upper
catchment villages increased (where struc-
The results show that the costs are prohibi- tures were built), that in the lower catch-
tively high for sub-surface dyke and check ment village significantly reduced (Ray and
dam, and very high for percolation tanks. Bijarnia, 2006). What is therefore important
Added to the cost of recharging, would be is the incremental hydrological benefit due
the cost of pumping out the water from to the new structure.
wells. The size of returns from crop produc-
tion should justify such high investments. In any basin, the marginal benefit from a
A recent study in nine agro-climatic loca- new water harvesting structure would be
tions in Narmada river basin showed that smaller at higher degrees of basin develop-
the gross return ranged from Rs. 2.94/m3 to ment, while the marginal cost higher. The


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

reason being: 1] higher the degree of basin from agriculture production. As per official
development, lower would be the chances estimates, the total storage capacity created
for getting socially and economically viable in the river basins of South and Central
sites for building water impounding struc- India, viz., Cauvery, Pennar, Krishna, Nar-
tures, increasing the economic and financial mada, east flowing rivers between Pennar
cost of harvesting every unit of water; and and Cauvery, and east flowing rivers south
2] with higher degree of development, the of Cauvery is 57.11 BCM, against utilizable
social and environmental costs of harvest- water resources of 100.32 BCM (GOI, 1999:
ing every unit of water increases (Frederick, pp 37, Table 3.5 and 3.6). Now, the actual
1993), reducing the net economic value of volume of water being effectively diverted
benefits. Therefore, the cost and economic by the reservoirs/diversion systems in these
evaluation should move from watershed to basins would be much higher due to diver-
basin level. The level at which basin de- sion during the monsoon, and additional
velopment can be carried out depends on water stored in the dead storage. This apart,
whether we consider the flows in a wet the traditional minor irrigation schemes
year or dry year or a normal year. Nev- such as tanks are also likely to receive in-
ertheless, there is a stage of development flows during monsoon. It is estimated that
beyond which the negative social, economic South India Peninsula had nearly 135000
and environmental benefits starts accruing, tanks, which cater to various human needs
reducing the overall benefits. of water, including irrigation. Thus, the ex-
isting storage and diversion capacities in
But, it is important to keep in mind that the region would be close to the utilizable
the negative social and environmental ef- flows. Hence, the livelihoods of farmers,
fects of over-appropriation of basin’s water who do not have access to groundwater,
resources may be borne by a community will be at stake at least in normal rainfall
living in one part of the basin, while the years and drought year.
benefits are accrued to a community living
in another part. Ideally, water development To improve the economics of RWH, it is criti-
projects in a basin should meet the needs cal to divert the new water to high-valued
and interests of all stakeholders. There- uses. Yield losses due to moisture stress are
fore, optimum level of water development extremely high in arid and semi-arid re-
should not aim at maximizing the net basin gions and that providing a few protective
level benefits, but rather optimizing the net irrigations could enhance yield and water
hydrological and socio-economic benefits productivity of rainfed crops remarkably,
for different stakeholders and communities especially during drought years (Rockström
across the basin. et al., 2003). The available extra water har-
vested from monsoon rains should therefore
The potential impacts of the water har- be diverted to supplementary irrigation in
vesting projects of the government have drought years.
to be seen from this perspective. Even if
recharging of millions of wells and tanks
and ponds in the region becomes successful Key Learning
in creating an additional recharge in the As detailed analysis provided in Kumar et
order of magnitude, it is unlikely to cre- al., (2006) and Kumar et al. (2008) show,
ate equivalent additional economic benefits in high rainfall, and medium evaporation


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

regions which experience high reliability in extra water harvested from monsoon rains
rainfall such as parts of Orissa, Jharkhand, should therefore be diverted to supplemen-
Chattisgarh, the north eastern hill region, tary irrigation in drought years.
and the western Ghat, the overall potential
and reliability of water supplies from RWHS
would be high. The naturally water-scarce Practical Suggestions for
regions in India, which are characterized Efficient Water Harvesting
by low and low to medium rainfalls and
Enhancing Knowledge of Catchment Hy-
high evaporation, are facing physical scar-
drology: in water harvesting, what is least
city of water. The renewable water resources
availability falls far short of the total water understood is the catchment hydrology.
demand from agriculture alone. Most small rivers in India are not gauged
for stream flows and siltation. Example is
The poor water supplies from the catch- Narmada river basin. It has a total of 56
ments, and the high inter-annual variability, gauging sites of which 25 collect data on
and the high evaporation rates increase the siltation load. Data on siltation rates are
cost of individual water harvesting systems often available for large reservoirs from
in the naturally water-scarce regions. siltation studies done by Central Board of
The scale considerations are extremely im- Irrigation and Power (CBIP). But applying
portant in evaluating the cost and economics this to small catchments can lead to ei-
of water harvesting structures because of ther under-estimation of siltation rates as
the hydrological integration of catchments siltation rates are generally high for hilly
at the level of watershed and river basins. upper catchments. On the other hand,
This is particularly important for basins in applying rainfall-runoff relationships of
the naturally water-scarce regions of South large basins for small upper catchments
Indian peninsula, Western India, North- would result in under-estimation of run-
western India and parts of Central India, off, as small upper catchments would
that are either closed or on the verge of normally have steeper slopes. The scale
closure. problems in water harvesting are well-
documented (Sivapalan and Kalma, 1995;
In closed basins, the net economic value of
Wood et al., 1990).
the benefits from water harvesting would
be either too low or negative, due to the Though runoff data can be generated for
very low or zero net incremental hydrologi- streams which otherwise are not gauged,
cal gain at the basin level, and the high through runoff modeling, scientific data
incremental cost. on hydrological parameters such as soil
infiltration rates, land use characteristics,
To improve the economics of RWH, it is criti-
catchment slopes are essential to arrive at
cal to divert the new water to high-valued
reliable results (Jakeman et al., 1994). Manag-
uses. Yield losses due to moisture stress are
ing hydrological data for small catchments
extremely high in arid and semi-arid re-
is a major challenge in India.
gions and that providing a few protective
irrigations could enhance yield and water Research to Focus on Green as well as Blue
productivity of rainfed crops remarkably, es- Water: The central focus of any rainwa-
pecially during drought years. The available ter harvesting project in India is about


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

capturing the excess water which flows cal inputs to basin-wide water resource
out of the domain of interest, storing and planning for optimal water harvesting to
subsequently diverting it for beneficial ensure sound economic viability.
uses. But, green water is an important
component of the hydrological system Wet Water Saving: In river basin which ex-
and the harvested water in tanks and perience high aridity during the summer
ponds. The focus has never been on im- months, the water stored in tanks, pond
proving the efficiency of utilization of this and other small reservoirs can lead to
green water. For any basin, it is crucial to heavy losses through evaporation. If this
know how much of the total precipitation is prevented, it can lead to wet water sav-
falling on the basin is available as green ing, through increase in output per unit of
water and how much of it gets used up evaporated water. Directly diverting the
in crop production; how much of it is harvested water from the RWH system
lost in non-beneficial evaporation from to the crop land is critical to maximiz-
the soil. ing the net hydrological gain, especially
in areas with poor groundwater storage
In high rainfall regions like Kerala, the utiliz- or areas experiencing high inter-annual
able surface water resources are much less variability in runoff (Oweis, Huchum and
in comparison to the runoff generated. Here, Kijne, 2002). Allocation of blue water har-
effective strategies to capture runoff in situ nessed to rainfed crops to avoid moisture
for crop production through proper land use stress during critical stages of crop growth
planning--including increasing area under would increase the yield of crops remark-
paddy-, would help improve green as well ably (Seckler, 1996), thereby increasing
as blue water use, and alter the hydrology the productivity of green as well as blue
water. In the case of Sub-saharan Africa,
Basin Water Accounting and Water Balance: Rockström et al. (2002) showed that yield
For any water scarce river basin in India, could be doubled in certain cases through
water accounting is the first and the most hydro-climatic alterations.
important step to begin with before plan-
ning any water harvesting and recharge References
project. It is important to know whether
the basin has any surplus flows, which Batchelor C, Ashok Singh, Rama Mohan
Rao MS and Johan Butterworth. (2002)
goes into the natural sink, or significant
Mitigating the Potential Unintended Im-
amount of water that is lost in evaporation
pacts of Water Harvesting, paper pre-
from natural depressions. This can be fol-
sented at the IWRA International Re-
lowed by water balance studies to exam- gional Symposium ‘Water for Human
ine what percentage of the water could be Survival’, 26-29 November, 2002, Hotel
captured without causing negative effects Taj Palace, New Delhi.
on the downstream uses. Needless to say,
both water accounting and water balance Evans JP and Jakeman AJ (undated) De-
studies should be carried out for typical velopment of a Simple, Catchment-Scale,
Rainfall - Evaporation - Runoff Model,
rainfall years so as to capture hydrological
Centre for Resource and Environmental
variability. Such studies can provide criti-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Studies, The Australian National Uni- in India: Some critical issues for basin
versity, Canberra ACT 0200: http:// planning and research, Land Use and Water Resources Research, 6 (2006):
research/ems_paper.pdf. 1-17.
Frederick KD. (1993) Balancing Water De- Kumar M, Dinesh M, Ankit Patel, Ravin-
mand with Supplies: The Role of Man- dranath R and Singh OP. (2008) Chasing
agement in a World of Increasing Scar- a Mirage: Water Harvesting and Artifi-
city, Technical Paper 189, Washington cial Recharge in Naturally Water Scarce
D. C: World Bank. Regions, Economic and Political Weekly,
43 (35): 61-71.
Government of India (1999) Integrated
Water Resource Development: A Plan Oweis T, Hachum A and Kijne J. (1999)
for Development, Report of the National Water Harvesting and Supplementary
Commission for Integrated Water Re- Irrigation for Improved Water Use Ef-
sources Development Vol. I, Ministry of ficiency in Dry Areas. SWIM Paper, Co-
Water Resources, Government of India, lombo, Sri Lanka.
New Delhi.
Rockström J, Jennie Barron and Patrick
Government of India (2007) Report of the Fox. (2002) Rainwater management for
Expert Group on “Groundwater Man- improving productivity among small
agement and Ownership,” Planning holder farmers in drought prone envi-
Commission, Yojana Bhawan, New ronments, Physics and Chemistry of the
Delhi. Earth, 27 (2002): 949-959.
Hurd B, Neil Leary, Russell Jones and Joel Seckler, David J. (1996) The New Era of Wa-
Smith (1999) Relative Regional Vulner- ter Resources Management: From Dry to
ability of Water Resources to Climate Wet Water Savings, Research Report #
Change, Journal of the American Wa- 1, International Irrigation Management
ter Resources Association, 35 (6): 1399- Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Sivapalan M and Kalma JD. (1995) Scale
Jakeman AJ, David A, Post and Beck MB. problems in hydrology: Contributions of
(1994) From data and theory to envi- the Robertson Workshop, Hydrological
ronmental models, Environmetrics, 5, Processes, 9 (3-4): 1995.
Wood EF, Sivapalan M and Beven K. (1990)
Kumar M, Dinesh M, Shantanu Ghosh, Similarity and scale in catchment storm
Ankit Patel, Singh OP and Ravin- response. Rev. Geophysics, 28, 1-18.
dranath R. (2006) Rainwater harvesting


Water Seepage Control through
Novel Sheet Materials
BL Deopura and BR Chahar
Department of Textile Technology and Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi

Abstract type of soil. In USA, seepage rates of soil

The paper describes the novel material de- groups measured in Idaho using ponding
veloped at Indian Institute of Technology, tests are given in Table 1.
Delhi for lining of farm ponds and water
Table 1. Seepage rate with different
storage structures. The material was used as
soil types
lining material in farm ponds, conveyance
channels in agricultural fields. Field evalu- Soil Types Seepage
ation was carried out at different national Clayey 7 cm/day
level institutes. Silty 23 cm/day
Loamy 29 cm/day
Introduction Sandy 48 cm/day
A major source of water is rains. Fortunately,
The water lost through seepage from ponds
in this part of the world, we have heavy
is priceless, as we may not be able to find
rains, but this occurs for short durations
any alternate source of getting the same.
and typically in a span of two to three
The typical approach for seepage control is
months. For the rest of the period, there
lining the pond. Generally, cement/concrete
is very little rain. Ideally these rains should
lining used for this purpose is subject to
be used to recharge the aquifers. Due to
crack with time, leading to significant water
limited surface water availability, we try to
seepage. This relates to sub grade settle-
use the groundwater leading to decreasing
ment and inability of the cover to adjust
water table. The efforts in recharging the
to the settlement. If the soil is wet then it
groundwater have been rather limited. In
gives limited support to the cover, leading
many cases, we may have a situation where
to the cracks. The intrinsic limitation of the
water table is too deep to have a meaning
cement/concrete type of cover is its poor
full recharge. Thus, the heavy rain should
performance in tensile/bending. There are
be utilized to collect water in ponds and
also issues related to thermal expansion/
reservoirs and this may help to fulfill the
contractions, affecting the performance of
water requirement. Excess surface water
the cement/concrete cover material.
in these water bodies may be diverted to
recharge the groundwater.

The most efficient way of storing the water

locally is to create reasonably sized ponds To overcome these limitations of the tra-
consistent with the catchment area. There ditional cover material, geomembranes are
may be substantial water seepage loss in used as lining material and are generally
an unlined pond and this depends on the covered with a layer of cement/concrete,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

tiles, soil etc. Geomembranes(1) are plastic • HDPE sheets are typically used in the
sheet/film material, being highly extensible; thickness range of 1.5 to 2 mm to achieve
these sheets readily adjust to the sub grade suitable puncture resistance and thus
settlement. These sheets are highly imper- have very low ductility. Thus, the con-
meable to water and have lifespan of 30+ formability of these sheets to the sub
years. The existing method of lining canals, grade is very limited and this in turn
ponds using 150-200 micron low density requires very smooth sub grade. Thick-
poly ethylene (LDPE) sheet with/without a nesses lower than 1.5 mm for HDPE
cement/concrete cover is quite outdated, as sheets are not recommended due to low
these sheets are punctured and damaged puncture resistance.
during installation itself.
• Low ductility of these sheets also re-
The first applications of polymeric and quires elaborate arrangements for trans-
rubber-like sheets, as linings of canals and portation and installation. Further, these
ponds, were introduced about forty years sheets must remain flat over the soil
ago. Since then these materials have played without folds.
an increasingly important role in civil engi- • HDPE and similar polyethylene based
neering and especially in water conserva- geomembranes are available in limited
tion, agricultural and industrial water pol- widths of 5m to 9 m and thus requires
lution control. A large number of various extensive field sealing. This adds on the
types of linings have been experimented time for implementation of the project.
with a growing number of applications, for These materials are sensitive to tempera-
large covered surfaces, as well as in some ture of weld and thus trained manpower
new fields of use such as earthen dams. is needed for the field sealing.
• The deformation of HDPE beyond yield
High Density Poly Ethylene point is through yielding as shown in Fig.
(HDPE) Geomembranes 1. In case of uncontrolled deformation
The most common types of geomembranes in actual field conditions, the thinning
are HDPE sheet materials(2-3). HDPE is well- may not be uniform across the width of
understood geomembranes in terms of ap- the sheet and may have areas of stress
plications and lifetime predictions. How- concentration leading to failure.
ever, there are a lot of limitations of these • Another factor of relevance is the effect of
sheets as given below: tangential stress combined with in planer
• Due to its susceptibility to stress crack- stresses. For tangential stress, if the mate-
ing, it requires well-compacted smooth rial deforms beyond yield then it continues
sub grade and with minimal differential to reduce in thickness till failure. This is a
settlement. It may not be easy to meet typical deformation in a puncture test. The
these requirements in a large number useful deformation is thus limited to the
of cases as this could lead to signifi- yield point i.e. around 5%, although the
cant cost escalations. In many cases, and elongation at break may be 500%. This is
particularly in expansive soils, it may a significant limitation of these sheets. The
not be easy to predict the differential yield point for other polyethylene based
settlement. sheets like LLDPE extends to around


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

All these limitations of HDPE sheets lead ability is limited to 10-6 cm/day. Advantages
to substantial costs and to the fact that a of these sheets are given below:
large number of lining projects are not taken
• As the thickness of these sheets is low, it
up at all.
is very ductile and has good conformabil-
Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) geomembranes ity with soil. A comparison of bending
are increasingly being banned, especially in rigidity of sheets of thickness of 1.5mm
the critical applications of water conserva- (say HDPE) to 0.6 mm will give a very
tion. This is demonstrated by a set of experi- high multiplier factor of approximately
ments. The commercial PVC geomembrane 6.25.
samples were field tested by placing them • Being very low thickness, these sheets
in a pond at Port Blair for around eight could be suitably folded for transporta-
months. A very significant level of algae wais tion.
generated in a pond having these sheets,
which could be related to leaching out of • Further, these sheets could be folded
plasticizer. The question of release of plas- during the placement to take care of the
ticizers is vital for PVC as it containments contours in the sub grade and could be
water, and also changes its property. There maintained in the fold shape indefinitely.
are issues related to limited UV stability and This fact is particularly helpful in making
thus life limited life to a few years. a pond from a flat sheet. The situation
is helped by the fact that these sheets
have excellent stress crack resistance.
• These sheets could also be factory welded to
fairly large dimensions (say 100x50 meters)
thus reducing the field welding and with
a consequence of superior performance.
Additional requirements of field welding
of these sheets could be met by standard
heat wedge method. Further, this reduces
the time for implantation of the project.
• The installation is possible even if there
Figure 1. Typical Stress-strain curve of HDPE is some water on the bottom of the pond,
as these sheets are not affected by the
IITD Sheet Materials as presence of water.
Geomembranes • The project implementation time is sig-
We report development of a range of nificantly reduced due to easy of handing
geomembranes sheet materials. These are the sheets.
poly (olefin) based sheets and are typically • The sheets could simply be used on the
stabilised for UV radiations. These sheets water face to make a barrier using an
have thickness in range of 0.6 mm and have earthen dam, which could be executed
puncture strength in the range of around in a short duration. The stability of the
500N (ASTM4833). The extension to break structure is enhanced due to water seep-
is in the range of 40-80%. The yield strains age control.
are approximately 15%. The water perme-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• There may be a possibility of live instal- References

lation in cases where dewatering is not
practical. 1. Malcolm Steinberg, “Geomembranes
and the Control of Expansive Soils”,
These sheets are installed at several loca- McGraw-Hill, 1998.
tions including at IIT Delhi are shown in 2. Peggs ID, Lawrence C and Thomas
Figure. R. (2002) “The Oxidation and Mecha-

Karjat Maharashtra IARI, New Delhi

IIT Delhi

CARI, Port Blair


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

nical Performance of HDPE Geomem- 3. Mengjia Li, “Evaluation of Oxidative

branes: A More Practical Durability Para- Behaviour of Polyolefin Geosynthetics
meter”, Proceedings of Geosynthetics Utilizing Accelerated Aging Tests Based
State of the Art Recent Developments, on Temperature and Pressure”, Ph D
A.A. Balkema Publishers, Lisse, the thesis, Drexel University, April 2005.
Netherlands, pp 779-782.


Rainwater Harvesting: A Key to Survival in
Hot Arid Zone of Rajasthan
RK Goyal
Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Abstract in the state varies significantly. There is a

The paper presents details of role played very rapid and marked decrease in rainfall
by water harvesting systems in arid zone of in west of the Aravalli range, making West-
Rajasthan. Relationship on catchment area, ern Rajasthan, the most arid part of India.
amount of runoff generation and required The average annual rainfall of the western
water harvesting system capacity for dif- arid region is 317 mm and that of rest of
ferent locations of the state are presented. eastern Rajasthan is 680 mm with overall
Efforts made by CAZRI, Jodhpur towards average rainfall of 554 mm for the state.
renovation on traditional water harvesting The rainfall is highly variable at different
systems suiting the changing times are also places and it is most erratic in the western
presented. half with frequent spells of drought. The
coefficient of variation (CV) of rainfall varies
between 30 to 50%.
Surface water resources in arid part of
“Water is life”. Good quality potable water is
Rajasthan are very poor and majority of
a global issue, particularly in the developing
the population depends on groundwater
world. With rapid growing population and
extraction to meet their essential water
improving living standards, the pressure on
requirements. The source of drinking/mu-
available water resources is increasing and
nicipal water supply in most parts of the
per capita availability of water resources is
arid Rajasthan is mostly groundwater or
reducing day by day. The per capita avail-
borehole based. With frequent droughts and
ability of water in India has dropped from
chronic water shortages in many areas, most
5300 m3 in 1955 to 2200 m3 in year 2000
people pay an increasingly high price for
compared to 7420 m3 world and 3250 m3
water and for the lack of water. The poor,
Asian average. The overall national avail-
especially women and children, usually
ability of water may not pose a problem
pay the highest price for small amounts
in the near future, but there would be a
of water. They also expend more in calories
severe shortage of water in many regions
carrying water from distant sources, suffer
of India particularly in the state like Rajas-
more in impaired health from contaminated
than. Rajasthan is one of the largest state
or insufficient water, and also lose more in
in Indian union but it is the driest state
diminished livelihoods.
in term of availability of water resources.
The annual per capita availability of water In the absence of adequate surface and
in the state is much below (857 m3) the groundwater resources, rainwater plays an
threshold value of 1700 m3 considered for important role in the survival and livelihood
water stress conditions. The annual rainfall in arid regions. If rainwater is appropri-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ately harvested, it can be a reliable source area. By taking appropriate units of R, P and
of potable water for domestic purposes. A and selecting suitable runoff coefficient
Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice ‘C’, runoff can be estimated.
and has been practiced for more than 4000
years in many parts of the world. Rainwater A. Rainfall
harvesting is collection and storage of rain The mean annual rainfall over the Indian
from runoff areas such as roofs and other arid region varies from more than 500 mm
surfaces is has necessary in areas lacking in the southeastern parts to less than 100
any kind of conventional, centralized gov- mm in the northwestern and western part
ernment supply system, and also in areas of the arid region (Figure. 1). More than
where good quality fresh surface water or 85% of the total annual rainfall is received
groundwater is lacking. If collection and during the southwest monsoon season (July
storage are designed carefully, it is possible to September). The withdrawal phase of
for a family to live for a year in areas with monsoon starts in the extreme western part
rainfall as little as 100 mm per year. Central by middle of September and retreats by the
Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur with end of September. The rainy season var-
over four decades of research, has perfected ies from 50 days in the western part to 80
the technology of rainwater harvesting for days in the eastern part of arid Rajasthan.
different users and purposes. A small quantum of rainfall of about 7-10
per cent of the annual is received during
Rainwater Harvesting the winter season under the influence of
western disturbances.
Rainfall is the principal source of water,
which augments soil moisture, ground- Rainfall is low and erratic and the coeffi-
water and surface flows. Agriculture and cient of variation of annual rainfall varies
several of the other economic activities in from 42 per cent to more than 64 per cent.
the arid areas depend on rain. Rainfall in Long term statistical analysis of the rainfall
the arid areas is of convective nature and
usually occurs at a very high intensity for
shorter duration, generating high runoff
in response of even with small event little
rainfall. Runoff could be very high particu-
larly in urban areas where buildings and
roads haves high runoff coefficient. The
runoff depends upon rainfall intensity and
catchment characteristics particularly area,
surface roughness, water absorbing capac-
ity and slope, etc. Runoff can be estimated
using equation 1.

R = P*C*A……………………………… (1)

Where R is runoff, P is rainfall, C is runoff

coefficient which varies from minimum of
0 to maximum of 1 and A is the catchment
Figure 1.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

data of the region indicates an asymmetric dent on the inherent physical and chemical
average storm intensity profile for storms of characteristics of the catchment. Physical
short duration, with the highest intensities characteristics like surface roughness and
falling in the first part of the storm. The sta- slope determine the flow of runoff while its
tistical characteristics of high intensity and textural constituents i.e. proportion of sand,
short duration are essentially independent silt and clay determine the water absorbing
of location within the region. A detailed holding and capacity of catchment. Certain
statistical analysis of long- term rainfall chemical characteristics of catchment like
data of all districts of western Rajasthan presence of fertilizers, pesticides on natural
has been done to arrive at probable rain- surface determine the quality of runoff. The
fall at three levels of probability i.e. 50, 60 ratio of rainfall to runoff is denoted by the
and 70% and presented in (Table 1). As the runoff coefficient (C) and is dependent on
probability (or the level of surety) increases, rainfall characteristics like intensity and&
the rainfall decreases. Therefore, a balance duration and physical and chemical char-
between the probability and certainty of acteristics of the catchment, as mentioned
rainfall is must for planning any rainwater above. The shape of any given catchment
harvesting system (RWHS). Rainfall at 60% area also has a considerable influence on
probability is generally considered safe for runoff. Roof surfaces of building form the
designing any RWHS. best catchment to generate runoff during
rainy season. Studies conducted by CAZRI
B. Catchment revealed that roof made of different mate-
Catchment area is a place where raindrop rials can generate runoff ranging from 50
first strikes. After striking the catchment to 80% of the annual rainfall. Of the most,
the subsequent process is entirely depen- common roof types, the single pitch roof

Table 1. Rainfall at different probability for arid districts of Rajasthan

Correlation Rainfall (mm) at probability of
District Probable rainfall equation
coefficient 50% 60% 70%
Barmer R = -172.73 ln (P) + 892.57 0.9779 216.8 185.3 158.7
Bikaner R = -139.88 ln (P) + 790.98 0.9552 243.7 218.2 196.7
Churu R = -142.53 ln (P) + 878.18 0.9570 320.6 294.6 272.6
Ganganagar R = -140.43 ln (P) + 754.77 0.9825 205.4 179.8 158.1
Jaisalmer R = -124.54 ln (P) + 639.76 0.9765 206.5 183.8 164.6
Jalore R = -205.26 ln (P) + 1128.7 0.9518 325.7 288.3 256.6
Jodhpur R = -196.29 ln (P) + 1078.2 0.9682 310.3 274.5 244.3
Jhunhjunu R = -148.61 ln (P) + 937.36 0.8954 356.0 328.9 306.0
Nagaur R = -196.88 ln (P) + 1063.8 0.9649 293.6 257.7 227.3
Pali R = -214.62 ln (P) + 1201.6 0.9586 362.0 322.9 289.8
Sikar R = -207.82 ln (P) + 1207.2 0.9602 394.2 356.3 324.3
R= rainfall (mm) for probability (P) and In is natural logarithm


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

is the most appropriate for rainwater har- others to estimate the runoff percentage.
vesting, since the entire roof area can be These studies shows that the average runoff
drained into a single gutter on the lower generation from arid Rajasthan is between
side and one or two down pipes can be 1 and 15 per cent of rainfall, as much of
provided depending on the area. Based on the terrain is sandy. However, due to the
three levels of probable rainfall and three spatial variations in rainfall and terrain type,
catchment characteristics represented by deviations from this average value are ex-
runoff coefficient (C), catchment area (A) pected. In the less than 200 mm rainfall
needed for generation of 1000 liters (1 m3) zone, the dominantly interdune areas can
of runoff (R) is calculated for all districts generate 10 to 15 per cent of rainfall as
of western Rajasthan (Table 2). For desired runoff, if these are in undisturbed condition
quantum of runoff and existing catchment and have adequate vegetation cover. The
characteristics, the required catchment area rocky/gravelly surfaces, on the other hand,
can be calculated or with known catchment, can generate between 20 and 25 per cent. In
expected runoff can be calculated. the 200 to 400 mm rainfall zone, the micro-
catchments in the plains with sandy loam
C. Runoff Coefficient to loamy sand can generate as much as 30
The runoff coefficient (C) as mentioned to 40 per cent as runoff, although the larger
above is ratio of runoff to rainfall for a catchments can generate between 15 and
given catchment and is dependent on rain- 20 per cent. The rocky/gravel1y surfaces in
fall and catchment characteristics. Various this zone can generate between 20 and 30
studies have been conducted by CAZRI and per cent of rainfall as runoff. In the more

Table 2. Catchment area required for 1 m3 of runoff (m2) at different rainfall

probability for three catchment conditions.
Catchment area required for 1 m3 of runoff (m2)
District Rainfall at 50% P Rainfall at 60% P Rainfall at 70% P
C- 0.2 C-0.3 C- 0.4 C- 0.2 C-0.3 C- 0.4 C- 0.2 C-0.3 C- 0.4
Barmer 23.10 15.40 11.50 27.00 18.00 13.50 31.50 21.00 15.80
Bikaner 20.50 13.70 10.30 22.90 15.30 11.50 25.40 16.90 12.70
Churu 15.60 10.40 7.80 17.00 11.30 8.50 18.30 12.20 9.20
Ganganagar 24.30 16.20 12.20 27.80 18.50 13.90 31.60 21.10 15.80
Jaisalmer 24.20 16.10 12.10 27.20 18.10 13.60 30.40 20.30 15.20
Jalore 15.40 10.20 7.70 17.30 11.60 8.70 19.50 13.00 9.70
Jodhpur 16.10 10.70 8.10 18.20 12.10 9.10 20.50 13.60 10.20
Jhunhjunu 14.00 9.40 7.00 15.20 10.10 7.60 16.30 10.90 8.20
Nagaur 17.00 11.40 8.50 19.40 12.90 9.70 22.00 14.70 11.00
Pali 13.80 9.20 6.90 15.50 10.30 7.70 17.30 11.50 8.60
Sikar 12.70 8.50 6.30 14.00 9.40 7.00 15.40 10.30 7.70
C= 0.2 for untreated natural catchment; C= 0.3 Compacted natural catchment C=0.4 Compacted
artificially treated catchment


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

than 400 mm rainfall zone, the hills and  Chemical treatments like wax, asphalt,
rocky uplands are able to generate 40 to 60 bitumen and bentonite prevent down-
per cent as runoff, while the all1uvial and ward movement of water, which aug-
other sandy plains can generate between ments runoff.
20 and 30 per cent.
Collection/Storage of
Techniques for Enhancing Harvested Rainwater
Runoff from Catchments Harvested rainwater can be stored in any
Catchment characteristics can be modified structures on the surface or below the sur-
to a certain extent for higher runoff genera- face. Traditionally, people in the region have
tion. The extent of modification depends on been are known to harvest rainwater and
the investment available and the expected store it in efficient ways for crop production
use of runoff water. Where no source of and drinking purposes. Based on the local
water exists and in area with inaccessibility wisdom, communities have designed effec-
of other water sources, higher initial invest- tive and efficient methods for storing the
ment is justified on long terms. rainwater. Some of the novel systems preva-
lent in the region are baori and jhalara (step
 Simple earth smoothing and compaction
wells), nadi (village pond), tanka (cistern),
helps increasing runoff from the catch-
khadin (runoff farming system) and roof
ment areas. Success is generally greater
water harvesting system. Baori and jhalara
on loam or clay loam soils. Care must
are largely to benefit the urban and semi-
be taken to reduce the slope and/or the
urban population whereas nadi, tanka and
length of the slope to lessen runoff ve-
khadin are well suited for the rural popula-
locity and thereby reducing runoff.
tion. The demand for community- based
 Small amounts of sodium salts - par- water harvesting systems, which are the
ticularly NaCl, NaHCO3 applied to des- main sources of water for large population,
ert soils where vegetation has been re- became associated with progress in the rural
moved- causes dispersion of the surface areas. At present, the dependency of drink-
soil, reducing infiltration and increases ing water in villages in western Rajasthan
runoff. However, this type of treatment is 42.4% on nadi, 34.7% on tanka, 15.0% on
requires a minimum amount of expand- wells and tube wells and on 7.8% on other
ing clays in the soil. sources. This suggests that rainwater har-
 Removal of stones and boulders and vesting is the backbone of drinking water
unproductive vegetation from the catch- supply in rural areas.
ment helps in uninterrupted flow, en- Storage of rainwater in underground cis-
hances runoff to collection site. tern, locally known as Tanka is a common
 Land shaping into roads and collection practice in this region. Various types of tanka
of water in channels. from rectangular to circular, in capacity from
as small as 1000 liters to 500,000 liters are
 Sandy soils have low water holding ca-
prevalent in this region. The construction
pacity. Spreading of clay blanket ton the
of these tanka also varies from simple mud
soil surface reduces the infiltration and
plaster to lime mortar, cement concrete, fer-
consequently accelerates runoff.
ro-cement, fiberglass and PVC. The most


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

common construction material for the stor- requirement of individual families. A big-
age tank in this region is lime mortar and ger tanka of 50 m3 can be constructed for
cement concrete; however prefabricated domestic and livestock requirement of 6-7
PVC tanks are also used in some modern animals or a small nursery of 200 plants
buildings in urban areas. Central Arid Zone for round the years. A community tanka
Research Institute, Jodhpur has perfected of 100 m3 or 200 m3 capacity can be con-
the technology of tanka construction for structed to cater the demand of a group
various types of users. of 5-6 families.

Capacity of Tanka Design of Tanka

Capacity of tanka is dependent on the need Once the capacity of tanka is decided, its
of individual family or community, intended shape and other dimensions can be worked
use of harvested water and money avail- out. Evaporation losses are higher in tankas
able for investment. The designed capacity with wider opening and shallow depth but
must match with the available runoff as are more stable and easy to construct. How-
estimated above using by the equation 1. ever, cost to cover the opening of such tanka
For individual family water requirement is more. On other hand, narrow opening
can be worked out considering the fam- tanka with deeper depth causes less evapo-
ily size, daily water requirement and time ration but needs extra strengths in terms
period using equation 2. of material in bottom for stability and cost
of excavation is high for at deeper depth.
V = N x Q x T …………………………(2) Therefore, opening and depth of the tanka
Where V is volume or Capacity of the tanka, should be optimized for minimum evapora-
N is number of persons dependent on tanka, tion loss and construction cost. For circular
Q is daily water requirement and T is num- tanka, depth and diameter should be kept
ber of days for which water is required. Daily equal and can be calculated using equa-
minimum water requirement of a person tion 3.
varies from 7 liters to 10 liters depending
upon the season and work stress. Additional D = (1.27 x V) 0.33 …………….……..(3)
requirement of water for other purposes Where D is diameter as well depth in me-
like animals (about 40 liters per day) and ters and V is capacity in cubic meters. For
raising small nursery, etc. can be worked designing of a rectangular tanka, two di-
out using equation 2 separately and total mensions of either length, width or depth
capacity can be worked out by adding all is first decided on the basis of local site
the individual water requirements. The total conditions and third dimension is calculated
capacity should be multiplied by a factor 1.1 using equation 4.
taking in to consideration of small evapora-
tion and seepage losses, if any for arriving V = L X B X H………………………… (4)
at the final capacity of tanka. A tanka of 21 Where L, B, H and V are length (m), Width
m3 capacity is sufficient to meet the drinking (m), depth (m) and Volume (m3) respectively.
water requirement of a family of 6 persons For known volume (V) and two pre-decided
for round the years. CAZRI has constructed dimensions of length, width or depth, third
many such tankas in different villages of unknown dimension can be worked out
arid Rajasthan for meeting drinking water using equation 4.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Construction of Tanka ture is finished and properly cured, then

Tanka should be constructed at an appropri- no leaks are likely to occur. Small leaks
ate site. If rainwater is to be collected from which create only a wet stain need not
rooftop, its location should be constructed be attended to, since they will close after
near to the place of intended use. If rainwa- some time. Only leaks with water flow-
ter is to be collected from natural catchment ing out need have to be repaired. The
then tanka should be constructed at one major problem is not the repair work as
side of the depression area for maximum such, but the fact that leaks usually cannot
runoff and safe disposal of excess water. In be identified until the tanka is filled. As
arid area of western Rajasthan, a murrum mentioned, curing after the structure is
layer is reported in the sub surface strata at finished as well as while it is still under
many places. Special care is needed when construction, is just as important as the
tanka is to be constructed at these sites. quality of craftsmanship and material. This
Murrum has a tendency of swelling after will not only preserve the structure, but
getting some moisture and causes cracks also furnish immediate evidence of any
especially in sidewalls. To avoid these cracks leaks. If there is no rainfall some days after
surrounding of whole tanka should have an the structure is finished, and the neces-
envelope of 5 cm sand around sidewalls. sary amount of water is not available, a
In case of small little leakage from side- minimum filling of 100 mm is a must ir-
wall, sand envelope of 5 cm thickness of respective of whether it is of masonry or
sand will absorb the pressure exerted by a cement concrete structure. This water
the swelling of murrum around sidewalls serves as a long-term curing agent and
and will prevent the cracks developing in will keep the plaster moist. In addition,
sidewalls. Circular tanka is more economical especially in hot arid climates, the struc-
in comparison to rectangular tanka of same ture must be covered on all sides such
capacity in term of cost of materials. Further, a way that the moisture of the mortar
the rectangular tanka has the tendency for cannot evaporate.
development of cracks in four corners due A properly constructed tanka serves
to uneven distribution of pressure whereas for around 30 years if properly main-
in the circular tanka pressure distribution is tained. Its maintenance includes:
even, thus less chance of cracks developing keeping catchments clean and clear of
in sidewalls. Cement concrete is preferred moss, lichen, debris and leaves; cutting
over masonry construction due to cost and back trees and branches that overhang
life span, especially for the larger tanka of the roofs; cleaning of tanka inlets and
capacity over 100000 liters. However, ma- screens every 3-4 months;, disinfecting
sonry construction is equally good for small the tanka if contamination is apparent,
capacity tanka and does not require trained inspecting tanka annually and cleaning
workers for the construction as in case of them out if necessary and ; testing the
the cement concrete. water periodically.

Repair and Maintenance of Rainwater Harvesting

Tanka Experience of CAZRI
Repairing a tanka is easy and if the struc- CAZRI, Jodhpur has perfected the designs


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of tanka, nadi, khadin and roof water har- tanka located near the settlement. Construc-
vesting system (RWHS) for efficient man- tion of tankas for raising orchards at a few
agement and judicious use of rainwater. locations have significantly improved the
The improved designs of these structures economic condition of the farmers.
have been replicated in large numbers in
Western Rajasthan, which have remarkably Under ex-situ rainwater management, CA-
improved water availability on a sustainable ZRI, has prepared a design package and
basis in the region. This is a clear testimony guidelines for the construction of khadins
that water, food and fodder security may (Khan, 1998). Khadin is a unique practice of
be obtained with large scale replication of water harvesting and moisture conservation
the improved designs of rainwater harvest- in suitable deep soil plots surrounded by
ing structures developed by CAZRI at all some sort of natural catchment (Fig.2). The
potential locations in the region (Narain system is very effective even in hyper arid
& Goyal, 2005). Looking to the financial region of Western Rajasthan where annual
implications, the work may be taken in a average rainfall is less than 150 mm. Re-
phased manner. cently, CAZRI under NATP has developed
Khadin of 20 ha areas in Baorali-Bambore
For rainwater management, the institute watershed with surplussing arrangements.
has designed underground tanka of 10 m3 Before construction of Khadin, uncontrolled
to 600 m3 capacities for different rainfall runoff from upper catchment used to wash
and catchment conditions. These tankas away seeds, fertilizers, and standing crops,
were successfully constructed in Jhanwar, besides the loss of valuable water. After
Sar, and Baorali-Bambore watersheds. Har- construction of Khadin, farmer could take
vested water of these tankas was used to excellent Kharif and Rabi crops.
provide life saving irrigation to plants. The
Benefit cost ratio of tanka ranged from 1.25 Large-scale development of khadin farms at
to 1.40 under different uses (Goyal et al. suitable locations in western Rajasthan can
1995, Goyal & Sharma, 2000). The improved enhance the land productivity to meet the
tanka designs developed and demonstrated food and fodder requirement of the local
by CAZRI have got wide acceptability in the population.
region. The designs have been replicated in Another common rainwater harvesting
a large number by different developmental structure in this region is nadi. Nadi is a
agencies. The number of improved tanka dugout pond used for storing runoff water
in different capacity ranges constructed in available from adjoining natural catchment
the region are 11,469 with a total storage during the rainy season. Generally, nadis
capacity of 4,75,200 cubic meters and are have the limitation of high evaporation
sufficient to meet the drinking and cook- losses due large exposed surface area, high
ing water requirements for a population seepage losses through porous sides and
of 1,32,000 throughout the year (Khan & bottom, heavy sedimentation due to biotic
Venkateswarlu, 1993). Tanka is highly eco- degradation in the catchment and water
nomical compared to hauling of water contamination causing health hazards. To
from long distances. Hauling water in the overcome these problems, CAZRI has devel-
villages cost 75 paisa per liter, which is oped improved design of nadis with LDPE
very expensive high compared to only 2 to lining to provide safe drinking water to hu-
5 paisa per liter of water available from a man and livestock population. In improved


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Figure 2. Khadin in Rajasthan

design, the surface to volume ratio had been Rajasthan. The possible water yield from a
kept 0.28. Provision of silt trap at inlet point roof catchment system is directly proportion-
has been made to prevent sediment load al to the catchment surface area, its runoff
entering the nadi whereas provision of LDPE efficiencies and the amount of rainfall. The
lining of sides and bottom is to control the highest runoff efficiency of 94% was achieved
seepage losses. Fencing of water point has from when the surface was covered with
been recommended for protecting the wa- plastic sheet, followed by roof made of
ter from being contaminated. Renovation corrugated GI sheet (85%), stone slab roof
of nadi should be taken on large scale to (81%), paved surface (68%), clay tile roof (56%)
improve the storage capacity and conserva- and metal road (52%). At institute level, the
tion of water for a longer duration. entire CAZRI building roof area (1500 m2)
has been used for roof water harvesting.
For farm water management, a farm pond
The water outlet opening on the roof were
of 20,000 m3 capacity was constructed at
connected with 100 mm conduit pipes to
Kukma watershed at Bhuj in Gujarat. Con-
collect and divert roof water in a semi-circular
struction of this farm pond resulted in as-
open channel having 450 mm inner diameter
sured availability of 20,000 m3 water even in
and 525 mm depth and guided to a 300 m3
the region with as small as 150 mm rainfall
tanka. The average annual water yield from
region. The collected water was used to pro-
the roof surface was 88%. As small as 225 mm
vide irrigation to date palm, ber, aonla and
rainfall is sufficient to fill this tanka, which is
other fruits plants in the nearby area.
enough for a drinking water consumption of
Harvesting of roof water is an age-old 30,000 person days at 10 liters per capita per
practice to obtain safe drinking water in arid day (lpcd).


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Conclusions by construction of large storage structures

Rainwater harvesting, recycling and its at appropriate sites.
management is key to survival in hot arid
zone of Rajasthan and elsewhere with References
similar climatic conditions. For the manage-
ment of scarce water resources, multiple Goyal RK and Sharma AK. (2000) Farm
point strategies are needed. On one hand Pond: A well of wealth for the dryland
technologies of rainwater harvesting and dwellers. Intensive Agriculture, Vol.
conservation needs to be popularized and XXXVIII (July- August 2000), No. 5-6
percolated at extreme down end and on pp. 12-14 & 26.
the other hand, technological advancement Goyal RK, Ojasvi PR and Bhati TK. (1995)
is needed for the development of drought Economic Evaluation of Water Harvest-
tolerant early maturing crops to use water ing Pond under Arid conditions. Indian
efficiently. Traditional rainwater harvesting Journal of Soil Conservation 23(1): 74-
structures like nadi, baori, talab, etc., needs 76.
renovation on a continuous basis. Efforts
Khan and Venkateswarlu J. (1993) Rain-
should be made by the government for
water harvesting for increasing water
timely desilting of the traditional rainwater
availability in arid Rajasthan. Journal of
harvesting structures. Since rainfall in this
Institution of Engineers, 6: 18-26.
region is convective in nature and occurs
generally with high intensity for a shorter Khan MA. (1998) Design package and guide
duration. The nature of this rainfall not only lines for Khadin constructions. Report
causes flash flood situations, but also leads submitted to Govt. of Rajasthan. 20p.
to loss of huge quantity of runoff water,
Narain P and Goyal RK. (2005) Rainwater
particularly in the urban areas. So special
Harvesting for Increasing Water Produc-
efforts are needed to harvest flash floodwa-
tivity in Arid zones. Journal of Water
ter for the lean period and this can be done
Management Vol.13 (2): 132-136.


Optimum Design of Watershed Based Tank System for
Semiarid and Sub-humid Tropics
MG Shinde, SD Gorantiwar and IK Smout
Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKVV), Rahuri, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India

Abstract ent nature of watershed-based tank systems

A software (SOFTANK) developed for from stand-alone tank systems, the existing
analysis of water balance in watersheds is approaches of design of isolated tank sys-
presented with a case study of Pimpalga- tems (Palmer et al 1982, Panigrahi and Panda,
on Ujjaini Watershed in Maharashtra. The 2003, Srivastava, 1996) can not be used for
model can be used to evaluate the existing designing watershed-based tank system. At
tank system. An optimum tank system can present, they are designed based on local
be suggested for new watershed projects experience and some empirical guidelines
with the help of optimization utility of the for different regions of India and can be
model. The model gave the detailed water found in Samra et al (2002). This often
balance of the watershed and showed that results in non-optimal rainwater harvesting
42% runoff is harvested by the tanks and through these structures. Therefore, a new
58% went out of the watershed. The tanks
were economical but over designed and
therefore any treatment in the catchments
of these tanks, which will reduce the inflow
to the tanks, should be discouraged.

It has been demonstrated in India that land
and water resource development on a wa-
tershed basis offers sustainable approach
to rainwater harvesting and resources con-
servation. Though watershed development
programmes in the country started in the
late 80’s to develop semi-arid areas, it be-
came the focal point for rural development
by the late 90’s with an annual budget of
over $450 million (Kerr, 2002).

Due to the advent of watershed approach

for the management of land and water re-
sources, rainwater harvesting tanks i.e. nala
bunds, check dams, percolation tanks, farm
Figure 1. Integration of in-situ and
ponds are planned as an integral component
ex-situ RWH systems int he watershed
of the watershed (Fig 1). Due to the differ- (Source: Sivanappan, 1995)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

methodology is proposed for the design of simulation and depends upon many factors
watershed-based tank systems on the con- like tank size, water use, climate etc., DSR
cept of Integrated Water Storage System may or may not match with the input DSR.
(IWSS) in the watershed. If DSR criterion is not met, tank capacity
is increased (or decreased) and simulation
performed again. The procedure is repeated
Methodology till the DSR criterion is met. When the DSR
A comprehensive methodology has been criterion is met, the project economics for the
developed for the optimum design of tank tank strategy is performed. In this way all
system for the watershed. The methodology tank management strategies are simulated.
is based on three important water balances The conceptual flowchart of the methodol-
in the watershed i.e. field water balance, ogy is shown in Fig 2.
tank water balance and groundwater bal-
ance. The tank system for the watershed is
optimized for maximum net benefits. First,
fields are allocated to ‘stream points’. Stream
point is defined here as a point on the
stream at which tank location is preferred.
Tank strategies are generated based on the
number of stream points. Tank strategy is
a unique combination of number of tanks,
their locations and tank type. Tank type
is defined based on the orientation of the
command area around the tank. Catchment
and command field allocation is performed
for each tank strategy. Initial tank capacity
is determined with the design runoff depth
(DRD). Simulation then starts from the first
(or selected) tank strategy. A downstream
release (DSR) criterion is given before the
simulation. The DSR criterion in this re-
search is the annual volume of water that
passes the watershed outlet as per cent of
annual volume of runoff generated in the
watershed. For example, a DSR of 30%
means tanks will harvest 70% of the runoff
generated in the watershed and remaining Figure 2. Conceptual flowchart of the methodology
30% will go downstream out of the water- for finding optimum tank strategy
shed. Tank system is designed for this DSR.
In a simulation field, tank and groundwater The SOFTANK Model
balances are simulated simultaneously on a The comprehensive methodology for an
daily basis. At the end of simulation, out- optimum design of tank system is converted
put DSR is obtained. This DSR is compared into computer code in C language, which re-
with the input DSR ± deviation (e.g. 30 ± sulted into computer model SOFTANK. This
10). Since the output DSR is the result of model provides an analytical tool for studying


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

different aspects of tank system design in the The climate of the region is usually hot and
watershed. The model can be operated in the potential annual evaporation is about 1800
four different modes i.e. calibration, evalua- mm. The mean annual rainfall for the region
tion, simulation and optimization. is 642 mm, most of which falls in four months
of monsoon i.e. from July to October. Rainfall
Results starts in late June to early July.
The SOFTANK model was applied to the
Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed in Ahmed- Data
nagar district of Maharashtra state to evalu- The daily values of climatic parameters
ate the existing percolation tank system for available at Rahuri from 1975 to 2004 were
water harvesting potential. used for the calibration and application of
the SOFTANK model for Pimpalgaon Uj-
jaini watershed. Watershed data included
Pimpalgaon Ujjaini Watershed data on stream points, fields, crops, soils,
Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed with an area tanks, and groundwater. The watershed is
of 1326 ha is located 15 km northeast from comprised of 447 fields. These fields were
Ahmednagar (latitude 74º 05’ east and longi- allocated to different stream points based
tude 18° 15’ north). There are two percolation on their z-coordinates. The soils in the wa-
tanks on two streams in the watershed. Water tershed ranged from very shallow to very
is not used directly from the tanks for irri- deep and from sandy loam to clay in tex-
gation purpose. Common cereal, pulses and ture. Hydrologic soil groups in the water-
oilseed crops are grown in the command of shed belonged to hydrologic soil group B,
the percolation tanks in the watershed with C and D. There are two percolation tanks
irrigation by groundwater. The location of the one each on the two streams in the water-
watershed is shown in Fig 3. shed. These tanks are used for recharging
the groundwater only. Water is not used
from storage of the tanks for irrigation. The
details of the percolation tanks are given
in Table 1. These tanks are of embankment
type with irregular shape of the reservoir.
This shape was approximated to the square
prism shape in the analysis. Seepage rate
for both the tanks was considered as 24
mm/day. There are number of wells in the
watershed. Data on groundwater levels of
nine wells were used for the calibration of
the model for the watershed.
Table 1. Details of percolation tanks in
Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed
Water Storage
t spread area capacity
area (ha)
(ha) (ha-m)
Tank I 20.5 69.6 297.41
Figure 3. Location of Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed Tank II 11.5 21.6 279.40


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Evaluation of Existing Tank Runoff was 21.5% of rainfall. Evapotrans-

System piration and deep percolation contributed
67.5% and 15.8% of the total outflow re-
The detail water balance of the watershed spectively. Deep percolation was 20.5% of
has been analyzed for evaluating the exist- the rainfall.
ing tank system and discussed below.
Tank System Water Balance
Field Water Balance There are two percolation tanks on two
There are 447 fields in Pimpalgaon Ujjaini streams in the watershed. Total storage
watershed with an area of 1326 ha. Out of capacity of two tanks is 91.2 ha-m. Tank
this 335 ha was under single cropping, 410 ha system water balance components for
under double cropping, 491 ha was barren 29 years are shown in Fig 5. Inflow
and 90 ha was occupied under two tanks.
ranged from 0.13 to 1.86 times the total
Field water balance involved computation
storage capacity of tank system with an
of various inflows to and outflows from the
average (29 years) of 0.82. Major portion
field. (Fig 4). Annual rainfall was 541 mm.

Figure 4. Components of field water balance for Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed

Figure 5. Tank system water balance components for Pimpalgaon Ujjaini watershed


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of this inflow was lost as seepage, from the storage. In addition, water from
which accounted for 83.6% of the total adjoining area may join this storage volume
outflow from the tank. Other loses were and water may flow outside the storage
evaporation (13.6%) and overflow (2.6%). volume as groundwater flow. In the PU wa-
There was no carry over storage from tershed, irrigation was scheduled at 28 days
the tanks. Though the overflow from in rainy season and 21 days in post rainy
the tanks was less, average DSR from season with an irrigation application depth
the watershed was 58.5% since the tanks of 55 mm. Irrigation application efficiency
were at the middle of the watershed was taken as 70%. Source of irrigation were
open dug wells. There were 85 open dug
and area of watershed downstream of
wells in the watershed. Other use was esti-
tanks contributed directly to the DSR.
mated from the number of household units
There was no irrigation from the tanks
in the watershed. Field recharge and tank
since tanks were used for groundwater recharge were found to be 71% and 29%,
recharge only. respectively. Groundwater flow was 33.26%
of the total groundwater outflow, whereas
Tank Water Balance irrigation and other use contributed 65.53%
Tank water balance components of indi- and 1.21%, respectively. The contributions
vidual tanks are given in Table 2. Tank of groundwater recharge and withdrawal
capacities were 69.60 and 21.70 ha-m. In components are shown in Fig 6.
Tank No. 1 annual inflow was less than the
tank capacity whereas in Tank No. 2 annual
inflow exceeded tank capacity. Of the total
inflow, evaporation was about 15% in both
the tanks whereas seepage was 85% in Tank
No.1 and 74% in Tank No. 2. There was no
overflow from Tank No.1.
Figure 6. Contributions of groundwater recharge
Groundwater Balance and withdrawal components for Pimpalgaon
In estimating the groundwater balance, it Ujjaini watershed
was assumed that the underground storage The water balance of watershed provided
volume is available below the watershed analysis of all the inflows to and outflows
confined by bedrock at the lower boundary from the watershed. The two percolation
and ground surface as the upper boundary. tanks harvested 42% of the runoff and
Deep percolation from fields, seepage from 58% went out of the watershed. Runoff
tanks recharge this storage volume and wa- was 21.5% of the rainfall and 20.5% of the
ter is withdrawn for irrigation and other use rainfall contributed to the groundwater

Table 2. Individual tank water balance components for Pimpalgaon Ujjaini

watershed (average of 29 years)
Tank No. Capacity m3 Inflow m3 Overflow m3 Evaporation m3 Seepage m3
1 695877 424172.2 0.00 60302.8 362280
2 216938 326924.9 33789.2 41983.9 250001


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

recharge. Major portion (83.6%) of the in- showed that 42% runoff is harvested by
flow to the tanks contributed to groundwa- the tanks and 58% went out of the water-
ter recharge, but major recharge to ground- shed. The tanks were economical but over
water was through fields (71%) as compared designed and therefore any treatment in
to tanks (29%). Due to groundwater irriga- the catchments of these tanks, which will
tion, groundwater withdrawal formed the reduce the inflow to the tanks, should be
major outflow (65.5%) from the ground- discouraged.
water storage. Though the investment in
tanks was found economical (BC ratio 1.34), Strategies for Upscaling
the tanks were over designed when the The SOFTANK model can be used for de-
inflow/capacity ratio was 0.82. Hence any signing the water harvesting tanks for pre-
treatment (like CCTs) in the catchments of paring plan for developing a watershed.
these tanks should be discouraged. There is thus scope for the use of the model
Soils in the watershed vary in depth, colour for watershed projects. The model needs
and other morphological characteristics. user friendly for that purpose.
Common crops grown in the watershed
are sorghum, pearl millet, wheat, gram and References
fodder. Fields are used for a single kharif Kerr JM. (2002) Watershed development,
or rabi cropping or double cropping. Most environmental services and poverty al-
of the area downstream of the percolation leviation in India. World Development,
tanks comes under double cropping system. 30(8), 1387-1400.
The area in the catchment of the tanks is
mostly under shrubs. Palmer WL, Barfield BJ and Haan CT.
(1982) Sizing farm reservoirs for supple-
mental irrigation of corn. Part I: Mod-
Lessons Learnt eling reservoir size yield relationship.
The SOFTANK model offers a comprehen- Transactions of American Society of Agri-
sive analytical tool for studying the detail cultural Engineers: 372-76.
water balance of watershed-based water Panigrahi B and Panda SN. (2003) Optimal
harvesting tanks. It incorporates many new sizing of on farm reservoir for supple-
features, which are unique to the watershed- mental irrigation. Journal of Irrigation and
based tank system. The model can be used Drainage Engineering, 129(2): 117-128.
to evaluate the existing tank system. The
existing tank system can be improved by Samra JS, Sharda VN and Sikka AK. (2002)
running alternate management scenarios Water Harvesting and Recycling, Indian Ex-
with the help of simulation utility of the periences, Central Soil and Water Conser-
model. An optimum tank system can be vation Research and Training Institute,
suggested for new watershed projects with Dehradun, India.
the help of optimization utility of the model. Srivastava RC. (1996) Design of runoff re-
In this paper only the evaluation utility of cycling irrigation system for rice culti-
the model is discussed. The model gave the vation. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage
detail water balance of the watershed and Engineering, 122 (6): 331-335.


Evaluation of Watershed Development Programs in
India using the Economic Surplus Method
K Palanisami, D Suresh Kumar, Suhas P Wani,
Mark Giordano and Praduman Kumar
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Hyderabad, India
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, India
International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, India
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Agricultural Economics Research Association (AERA), New Delhi, India

Abstract ent modes. The over all objectives of these

Watershed programs in India are contrib- development programs, by and large, are
uting to water resources development, three fold viz., promoting economic de-
agricultural production and ecological bal- velopment of the rural area, employment
ance. Conventional methods using financial generation and restoring ecological balance
measures attempt to quantify the impacts (Department of Land Resources, 2006). The
in an isolated manner. In order to evaluate watershed development program assumes
the impacts of watershed programs in a importance in India where nearly two third
holistic manner, the Economic Surplus (ES) of the cropped area is rainfed, characterized
approach has been applied using the data by the low productivity, degraded natural
from a cluster of 10 watersheds in Coim- resources and widespread poverty particu-
batore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The ES larly in rural areas. Under this situation, un-
method captures the impacts of watershed derstanding the nature and extent of impact
development activities in a holistic manner of these watershed development programs
than the conventional methods. The dis- on various domains in the rural economy is
tributional effects of watershed programs crucial for development personnel/special-
are also captured through the ES method. ist, economists and policy makers. This is
Hence the possibilities of using this meth- will guarantee more food, fodder, fuel, and
odology in the future watershed evaluation livelihood security for those who are in the
programs could be examined. bottom of the rural income scale.

A watershed is a geographical area that

Introduction drains to a common point, which makes
it an attractive unit for technical efforts to
Watershed development in India is not a
conserve soil and maximize the utilization
new concept and has traveled a long way
of surface and subsurface water for crop
as a simple soil and water conservation
production (Kerr et al., 2000). Different
programs to the recent integrated rural
Ministries like Ministry of Agriculture
development program with more people
(MoA), Ministry of Rural Development
participation. Both Central and State gov-
(MoRD) and Ministry of Environment and
ernments and international donors have
Forest (MoEF) are involved in the imple-
been implementing watershed develop-
mentation of watershed development in
ment program across the country in differ-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the country. Watershed development has istry of Rural Development and an area
been conceived basically as a strategy for of 0.82 million hectares with an outlay
protecting the livelihoods of the people of Rs. 813.73 crores under Ministry of
inhabiting the fragile eco-systems expe- Environment and Forest were spent. A
riencing soil erosion and moisture stress. total of 45.58 million hectares has been
Different types of treatment activities are treated through various programs with an
carried out in a watershed. They include investment of Rs. 17,037 crores. Average
soil and moisture conservation measures in expenditure per annum during the Xth
agricultural lands (contour/field bunding Five Year Plan is around Rs. 2300 crores
and summer ploughing), drainage line treat-
(Department of Land Resources, 2006).
ment measures (loose boulder check dam,
As millions of rupees have been spent
minor check dam, major check dam, and
on watershed development programs,
retaining walls), water resource develop-
ment/management (percolation pond, farm
it is essential that the programs become
pond, and drip and sprinkler irrigation), successful.
crop demonstration, horticulture Plantation With the programs so large and varied, it
and afforestation (Palanisami and Suresh is important to understand how well they
Kumar, 2006). Training in watershed tech- function overall and which aspects should
nologies and related skills is also given be promoted and which will be dropped.
periodically to farmers in watersheds. In However, despite this importance, little
addition, members are also taken to other work has been done to assess their im-
successful watershed models and research pacts. This paper partially fills this gap by
institutes for exposure. These efforts appear examining both social and environmental
to be contributing to groundwater recharge. outcomes. In particular, it tries to answer
The aim has been to ensure the availabil- the questions: (i) what impacts the water-
ity of drinking water, fuel wood and fod- shed development activities bring to rural
der and raise income and employment for areas, (ii) how do watershed development
farmers and landless labourers through im- activities impact on groundwater resources,
provement in agricultural production and soil and moisture conservation, agricultur-
productivity (Rao, 2000). Today watershed al production and socio-economic condi-
development has become the main inter- tions?. This will help the policy makers in
vention for natural resource management. up-scaling and mainstreaming watershed
Watershed development programs not only development programs in the country.
protect and conserve the environment, but
also contribute to livelihood security. Hence, it is important to apply relevant
methodologies for the evaluation of the wa-
As an important development program, tershed programs so that future programs
watershed development received much will be planned in an efficient manner.
attention from both the Central and state Most evaluators use conventional finan-
governments. Up to Xth Five Year Plan cial analysis to assess the impact of wa-
(till March 2005), an area of 17.24 million tershed development programs. However,
hectares was treated with a total budget the question is whether the conventional
of Rs. 9368.03 crores under Ministry of financial analysis captures the impacts in a
Agriculture, 27.52 million hectares with holistic manner? Should we have a better
an outlay of Rs. 6855.66 crores under Min- methodology to assess the impacts of water-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

shed program, as watershed development How effective is the program in comparison

technologies not only benefit the partici- with alternative interventions? and (vi) Is
pating farm households, they also benefit the program worth the resources it costs?
the not-participating farm and other rural (Palanisami and Suresh Kumar, 2006).
households in the watershed village. Keep-
ing these issues in view, this paper outlines To successfully implement the watershed
the economic surplus method to study the development activities, the Government
impact of the watershed programs using of India has issued various guidelines. The
data from sample watersheds in Coimbatore GoI guidelines were first issued in 1995.
district, Tamil Nadu State, India. In order to make the watershed develop-
ment and management more people par-
ticipatory, the GoI guidelines were further
Background revised and issued in 2001. Subsequently,
Watershed development and management to involve Panchayat Raj Institutions more
has become big concern in India. As the meaningfully in implementation of water-
Central and State governments diverting shed development activities, the popular
huge fund towards watershed develop- Haryali guidelines were introduced in
ment, proper assessment of the benefits 2003. In addition to all these guidelines,
accrued to the economy is essential. A the guidelines for NWDPRA watershed
program like watershed development, development programs, CAPART, NABARD
which involves a hierarchy of administra- and NGO implemented watershed guide-
tion and communities at the grass roots lines were implemented separately over the
level in highly varying agro-climatic and period. Though these guidelines were by
socio-economic conditions, invariably re- and large successful in implementation of
quires periodical assessment for achieving various watershed development activities,
the developmental objectives. Typically, an these are not exempted from lacuna particu-
implementing agency would see a greater larly in the context of institutional issues,
value in spending an extra few millions of post project maintenance and sustainability
rupees for undertaking works in the field and monitoring and evaluation of water-
rather than spending this money for moni- shed development activities. Recently, the
toring and evaluation. GoI has issued 2008 Common Guidelines
for effective implementation of watershed
In addition, the impact assessment contrib- development programs in the country.
utes to improve the effectiveness of policies
and programs by addressing the questions In spite of the guidelines, the implementa-
such as: (i) Does the program achieve the tion aspects normally deviate due to local
intended goal?, (ii) Can the changes in out- demand. Several studies had indicated that
comes be explained by the program, or are the watershed structures are not maintained
they the result of some other factors oc- after completion and benefits may decline
curring simultaneously?, (iii) Do program over years (Palanisami and Sureshkumar,
impacts vary across different groups of 2006). Also in order to push up the im-
intended beneficiaries (males, females, in- plementation of the watersheds in other
digenous people), regions, and over time?, locations, the evaluation of the existing
(iv) Are there any unintended effects of the watersheds has been conducted. But it is
program, either positive or negative?, (v) always mentioned that the benefits and


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

costs are based on several assumptions. More specifically, major challenges include
Impact Analysis of an area based program (i) the choice of methodologies, (ii) selection
like watershed development has inherent of indicators, and (iii) choice of discount
difficulties. Apart from the benefits accrued rate, (iv) quantifying benefits in upstream
from different technologies, the impact of and downstream, (v) defining the zone of
watershed development should be looked influence and (vi) extent of natural and
into three major dimensions viz., scale artificial recharge (Palanisami and Suresh
(household level, farm level and watershed Kumar, 2006).
level) temporal and spatial. The dimensions
of impact of watershed technologies further
complicate the impact assessment. Methodology
Economic Surplus Approach (ES)
Different studies have developed a variety
Economic Surplus (ES) is widely used for
of indicators for the impact assessment. The
evaluating the impact of a technology on
indicators of impact will cover watershed
the economic welfare of households (Joseph
development activities covering soil ero-
and Quddus, 1998; Moore et al, 2000; Wan-
sion, groundwater recharge and water re-
der et al, 2004; Maredia et al, 2000; Swinton,
sources potential, agricultural production,
2002). The economic surplus method’s goal
socio-economic conditions and overall im-
is to measure the aggregated social benefits
pact including the extent of green cover.
of a research project. With this method, it
These indicators were compared with before
is possible to estimate the return of invest-
and after the watershed treatment activi-
ments by calculating a variation of consumer
ties, and also with that of the control vil-
and producer surplus through a techno-
lage where watershed treatment activities
logical change originated by research. Af-
is not taken up. The other methodologies
terwards, the economic surplus is utilized
such as Total Economic Valuation (Logesh,
together with the research costs to calculate
2004) and bio-economic modeling were also
the net present value (NPV), the internal
employed by the researchers. However, still
rate of return (IRR), or the benefit-cost-ratio
the researchers face challenges in quantify-
(BCR) (Maredia et al., 2000). The model can
ing the impacts of watershed development
be applied to the small/large open/closed
economy within the target domain of pro-
The problem of impact assessment of wa- duction environment. The term surplus is
tershed development project lies on the used in economics for several related quan-
following: (i) Developing a framework to tities. The consumer surplus is the amount
identify what impacts to assess, where to that consumers benefit by being able to pur-
look for these impacts and selecting ap- chase a product for a price that is less than
propriate indicators to assess the impacts, they would be willing to pay. The producer
and (ii) Developing a framework to look at surplus is the amount that producers benefit
the indicators together and assessing the by selling at a market price mechanism that
overall impact of the project. The nature is higher than they would be willing to sell
of watershed technologies and its impact for. In the case of watershed programs, the
on different sectors pose challenges to Proj- producers are mainly the farm households
ect Monitoring and Evaluating Agencies, who produce the goods using the benefits of
economists, researchers and policy makers. the watershed interventions such as soil and


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

moisture conservation, water table increase consumer surplus. The watershed develop-
and livestock improvement activities and ment intervention affects agricultural pro-
consumers are mainly the other stakehold- ducers in two ways: (i) Lower marginal
ers in the region viz., non-farm households costs (according to the theory, the supply
representing the labourers, business people curve corresponds to the curve of marginal
and people employed in non-agricultural costs as of the minimum value of the curve
activities. of average variable costs), and (ii) Lower
market price (P0 reduced to P1). Thus, the
Theoretical Framework producers’ surplus is defined as the area
The model is based on the Marshallian P1bl1-area P0al0.
theory of economic surplus that stems from The mathematical model used is based on
shifts over time of the supply and demand the scheme proposed by Pachico et al. (1987),
curves. In Fig.1, the rightward shift (S ) of in which supply and demand functions are
the original supply curve (S0) generates eco- nonlinear with constant elasticity i.e. log-
nomic surplus for producers and consum- linear. The supply function for a product
ers. Such a shift can stem from the changes market is assumed that supply curves of
in the production technology, in the present the following functional form:
case watershed development intervention.
Given that the demand function remains
constant, the original market equilibrium a s 0 = c(P0 − Plo ) d ......................................(1)
(P0, Q0) is transferred by the effect of tech-
where: s0 = Initial supply before water-
nological change to b (P1,Q1).
shed intervention
Consumers gain because they are able to c,d = Constants
consume a greater amount (Q1) at a lower
P0 = Price of product, and
price (P1). The area P0abP1 represents this
Plo = Minimum price that
producers are willing to
Typically, the watershed development pro-
grams involving the entire community and
natural resources influence different aspects
such as agricultural production system, en-
vironment and socio-economic conditions
of the watershed villages. By virtue of its
nature, watershed is an area based technol-
ogy cutting across villages comprising both
private and public lands. Thus, the benefits
from the watershed developmental activi-
ties are not only limited to the users/ben-
eficiaries but also to the non-participating
farmers. For instance, the watershed devel-
opment technologies expected to have posi-
Figure 1. Graphical representation of Economic
tive impacts on groundwater recharge, soil
Surplus Method


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

and water conservation, maintaining eco- livestock and fodder production. There is
logical balance, increased fodder availabil- also change in the cost of production of the
ity, increased crop yield, etc. Similarly, the commodities in the watershed. Over years,
increased agricultural production favours there is an increase in technology adoption
the non-farming community like labourers, due to watershed programs. In the case of
rural artisans and other rural households. consumers, the increased crop production in
Thus, the watershed development brings the watershed results in the availability of
benefits not only to the producers (farmers) produce at comparatively lower prices. The
but also to the consumers (farmers, labour consumption levels also increased among
households and other households in the the consumers. The labour employment
watershed village). In this context, the eco- also increased due to increased land and
nomic surplus approach captures the total crop production and processing activities
benefits accrued due to watershed develop- in the watershed. Evidences show that the
ment intervention in the rural areas. production levels increased as a result of
watershed interventions and the consum-
The advantage of the ES approach lies in ers started enjoying the benefits of local-
the fact that the distribution of benefits to ized production in the regions. Hence, for
different segments of the society could be the purpose of the analysis, it is assumed
estimated. The watershed development that, the output supply curve shifts gradu-
could be treated as a ‘public good’ and ally over time when the benefits from the
covers both the private and public lands. watershed developmental activities started
Moreover, the benefits due to watershed benefiting the agricultural sector through
developmental activities are not restricted water resource enhancement. The supply
to the producers alone. Increased supply shift factor due to technological change, in
and hence changes in the price of the ag- this case watershed intervention, is known
ricultural products also benefit the consum- as K. This factor varies in time depend-
ers positively. In this context, the economic ing on the dynamics of the rainfall, adop-
surplus approach captures the impact of tion, dissemination of soil and moisture
watershed development activities in a ho- conservation technologies and maintenance
listic manner. activities undertaken in the watershed. The
supply shift factor (K) can be interpreted as a
Application of Economic reduction of absolute costs for each produc-
tion level, or as an increase in production for
Surplus Method in Watershed each price level (Libardo et al., 1999).
Watershed programs play a dual role by Micro economic theory defines consumer
safeguarding the interest of the producers surplus (individual or aggregated) as the
as well as consumers, as the implementation area under the (individual or aggregated)
of drought proofing aspects of the water- demand curve and above a horizontal line
shed programs are easily felt (Palanisami at the actual price (in the aggregated case:
and Suresh Kumar, 2007). Producers can the equilibrium price). Following IEG, the
change the crop pattern due to increased demand curve is assumed to be log-linear
water levels in their wells, moisture con- with constant elasticity. Thus, the demand
servation in the soil, increase water use for equation for this demand function can be
the existing crops, increase the number of written as:


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

technologies and Ω is the depreciation rate

..................................................(2) of technologies.
Where η is the elasticity and g is the con- Z represents the change in price due to
stant. Once, the parameters η and g are es- watershed interventions. Mathematically,
timated, and then consumer surplus could Z can be defined as:
be estimated by

...............(3) P0, A0, and Y0 represent prices of output,
area and yield of different crops in the
Combined, the consumer surplus and the watershed before implementation of wa-
producer surplus make up the total sur- tershed development program. If we use
plus. the with and without approach, then these
represent area, yield and price of crops in
Estimation of Benefits control village.
Following the theory of demand and supply
equilibrium, economic surplus (benefits) as a Cost of the Project
result of watershed development interven- The analysis considered cost towards water-
tion is measured as follows: shed development investment during the
project period and maintenance expendi-
..(4) ture incurred in the project. For watershed
development projects with multiple tech-
Where, K = Supply shift due to watershed nologies or crops, incremental benefits from
intervention. The supply shift due to wa- each technology and crop were added to
tershed intervention can be mathematically compile the total benefits. The worthiness
represented as: of the watershed development projects was
then evaluated at 10 per cent discount rate.
.................................(5) Using above estimates of returns and costs,
net present value (NPV), benefit cost ratio
K represents the vertical shift of supply due (BCR), and internal rate of return (IRR)
to intervention of watershed development were computed.
technologies and expressed as a proportion
of initial price. ∀ is net cost change, which Study Area and Data
is defined as the difference between reduc- Our study was conducted in the Coimbatore
tion in marginal cost and reduction in unit district of Tamil Nadu, India. The predomi-
cost. The reduction in marginal cost is de- nant soil types are red soil, laterite, clay
fined as the ratio of relative change in yield loam, sandy clay loam, and black cotton soil.
to price elasticity of supply (es). Reduction Differences in soil type have differential im-
in unit cost is defined as the ratio of pact on the water resources and agricultural
change in cost of inputs per hectare to production and productivity. The success
(1+change in yield). ρ is the probability of of the watershed development programs
success in watershed development imple- critically depends upon the rainfall in the
mentation. ψ represents adoption rate of region. The major crops grown are sorghum,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

cotton, sugarcane, maize, coconut and veg-

etables. Of the total cropped area, the area
irrigated accounts for 56.82 per cent. The
chief source of irrigation in the district is
through wells. Over the years, there has
been a general decline in the water level in
all of Coimbatore district, which is attributed
to indiscriminate pumping of groundwater.
Groundwater resource degradation has in
turn resulted in changes in crop patterns,
well deepening, and an increase in well
investments, pumping costs, well failure, and
abandonment and out migration of farmers
(Palansami and Suresh Kumar, 2007). It is in Figure 2. Map of the study area
this context that groundwater augmentation
by artificial recharge through watershed de- and after the watershed treatment activities,
velopment programs gained momentum. and also with that of the control village
where watershed treatment activities were
Data not taken up. Thus, the data pertaining to
10 watershed villages and 10 control vil-
The major data were derived from the re-
lages were gathered. The information on
cently completed study on Comprehensive
price elasticity of demand and supply of
Assessment (CA) of Watersheds Programs
various farm products were obtained from
in India implemented by the ICRISAT-
published sources.
lead consortium team  (Wani et al. 2008).
For the purpose of our research, the data
were drawn from a cluster of 10 watersheds Results and Discussion
implemented in the Coimbatore district of This section presents the key results and
Tamil Nadu, India. The details of all these findings from the field experience of im-
watersheds with area treated are given in pact assessment of watershed programs
Table 1. A variety of indicators were de- implemented under Drought Prone Area
veloped and used for impact assessment. Programme (DPAP) in the Coimbatore dis-
The indicators of the impact of watershed trict of Tamil Nadu. The general charac-
developmental activities covering soil ero- teristics of the sample farm households in
sion, groundwater recharge and water re- the study watershed were analysed and are
sources potential, agricultural production, presented in Table 2. It could be seen that
socio-economic conditions and overall im- the average size of the holding is worked
pact including the extent of green cover out to 1.28 ha and 1.75 ha, respectively for
were developed. To make a comparative watershed and control villages. It is evident
study, one control village where no water- from the analysis that the average number
shed treatment activities were carried was of workers is 2.5 and 2.1 out of 4.07 and 4.2
selected for each watershed. The control for watershed and control villages.
villages were selected so as to have the
similar agro-climatic conditions. The se- The labour force participation rate thus
lect indicators were compared with before comes out at 61.48 per cent and 50.79 per


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

cent. The higher labour force participation Information related to the duration of
is due to better scope for agricultural pro- pumping hours before well goes dry (or
duction, livestock activities and other off- water level depressed to a certain level)
farm and non-farm economic activities. It is and time it takes to recuperate to the same
evidenced from the analysis that the labour level were collected for the sample farmers
force participation rate among the farmers across villages. Due to watershed treatment
in the watershed villages is higher implying activities such as construction of percola-
that the enhanced agricultural production is tion ponds, checkdams etc., the ground-
due to watershed treatment activities. Con- water recuperation in the near by wells
struction of new percolation ponds, major increased. The increase in recuperation rate
and minor check dams and rejuvenation varied from 0.1 M3 to 0.3 M3/hour. It was
of the existing ponds/tanks enhanced the also observed that the recharge to the wells
available storage capacity in the watersheds decreased with the distance of wells away
to store runoff water for surface water use from the percolation ponds and check dams
and groundwater recharge. and the distance generally was 500 to 600
meters in the case of percolation ponds.
Construction of new percolation ponds,
major and minor check dams and rejuve- The impact of watershed treatment activities
nation of existing ponds/tanks enhanced the on area irrigated by groundwater revealed
available storage capacity in the watersheds that the area irrigated in watershed villages
to store runoff water for surface water use registered a moderate increase after the wa-
and groundwater recharge. The additional tershed development activities in most of
surface water storage capacity created in the the watersheds. When compared to water-
watersheds ranged from 9299 M3 to 12943 shed villages, the area irrigated in the control
M3. This additional storage capacity further village declined slightly over the period.
helped in improving groundwater recharge It is evidenced that the irrigation intensity
and water availability for livestock and other is higher in the watershed treated village
non-domestic uses in the village as a result than in the untreated village. This shows
of watershed treatment activities. On the that the watershed developmental activities
basis of the data collected from the sample helped increase the water resource potential
farmers, it was found that the water level in of a region through enhanced groundwater
the open dug wells has risen in the range resources coupled with soil and moisture
of 0.5 to 1.0 meter in watershed villages. conservation activities. In the case of con-
The depth of the water column in a few trol villages, the water table in the wells
sample wells were collected both in water- declined due to continuous pumping with
shed and control villages for comparison. out making any interventions in recharg-
The depth of the water column in the wells ing the aquifers. This is one of the reasons
of the watershed villages was found to be why farmers in most of the villages demand
higher than those in the control villages. For watershed programs in their villages.
instance, the depth of the water column in
the wells in Kattampatti watershed village The analysis of impact of watershed treat-
was 3.53 meters compared to 2.16 meters ment activities on the increase in cropped
in the control village with a difference of area indicated that the increase in net cropped
63.43 per cent. area, gross cropped area and thereby cropping
intensity is realized in both the watersheds.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

(Table.3.). obtained from crops and crop residues.

Moreover, having poor resource base with
The cropping intensity indicates that it was little scope for improved crop production,
relatively higher in the case of watershed the farm households in the control villages
treated villages and this appears to be a com- maintain mainly milch animals to derive
mon phenomenon in all the watersheds. For additional income for their livelihood.
example, the cropping intensity was worked
out to 147 percent in the watershed village
and it was little higher than the control Application of Economic
where it is only 133 per cent. The CEI is Surplus Method
used to compare the diversification across The watershed developmental intervention
situation having different and a large num- is expected to impact first on the natural
ber of activities since it gives due weight to resources such as land and water. Increase
the number of activities. The CEI has two in the water resources impacts agricultural
components viz,. distribution and number production. Thus, various watershed treat-
of crops or diversity. The value of CDI in- ment activities lead to increased agricultural
creases with the decrease in concentration production. The impact of watershed de-
and increases with the number of crops/ velopmental activities on the yield of crops
activities. In general, the CDI was higher in and the cost estimated are presented in
the case of watershed treated villages than Table 5.
the control villages confirming watershed
treatment activities help diversification in The change in yield due to watershed in-
crop and farm activities. tervention across crops varied from 31 per
cent in maize to a maximum of 36 per cent
The details regarding livestock per house- in cotton. This is the maximum change in
hold and per hectare of arable land is fur- yield due to watershed intervention. Reduc-
nished in Table.4. Livestock income has been tion in marginal cost due to the supply shift
a reliable source of income for the livelihood ranged from 33 per cent in vegetables to
of the resource poor farmer households. 64 per cent in sorghum. Net cost change
Cattle, sheep and goats are maintained as due to watershed developmental activities
important sources of manure and kept as varied from 32 per cent in vegetables to 60
liquid capital resources. It could be seen per cent in the case of sorghum.
that nearly 46.67 per cent and 93.33 per
cent of the households in watershed and The change in total surplus due to water-
control villages maintain cattle. Access to shed developmental activities were estimat-
grazing land and fodder will make the ed (Table 6). The change in total surplus was
farm households to maintain livestock in higher in sorghum and maize compared
their farms to derive additional income. But to other crops like pulses and vegetables.
the analysis revealed that relatively more Being the major rainfed crops, these two
number of households in control villages crops benefited more from the watershed
maintained livestock. interventions. The change in the total sur-
plus due to watershed intervention is de-
This is mainly due to the fact that inadequate composed into change in consumer surplus
grazing land and poor resource base for and the change in producers’ surplus.
stall feeding persuade them to feed their
livestock with green leaves and fodder It is evident that the producers’ surplus


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

was higher than the consumer surplus in Conclusion and Policy

all the crops. For instance, in sorghum, the Recommendations
producers’ surplus if worked out to 61.2
per cent where as the consumers surplus Experiences show that the watershed devel-
was only 38.8 per cent. No doubt, the wa- opment programs produced desired results
tershed developmental activities benefited and there are differences in their impacts.
more the agricultural producers. It is in- Hence, the watershed impact assessment
teresting to note that unlike in crop sector, should be given due importance in the
the milk production had different impacts future planning and developmental pro-
on the society. The decomposition analysis grams. Comparing the results of economic
revealed that watershed development ac- surplus approach with conventional meth-
tivities generate more consumers’ surplus od of investment analysis, it is observed
in milk production. that there are significant differences be-
tween the economic surplus approach and
Efforts were made in the present study to the conventional approach. All the three
assess the overall impact of different water- indicators NPV, BCR and IRR worked out
shed treatment activities in terms of Benefit to be higher in the case of economic sur-
Cost ratio (BCR) and Internal Rate of Return plus approach compared to conventional
(IRR). The NPV, BCR and IRR were worked methodology. It is hard to conclude whether
out by economic surplus methodology as- conventional methodology underestimates
suming 10 per cent discount rate for a life the impacts or economic surplus method
period of 15 years. (ES) over estimates the impacts. However,
as the economic surplus approach captures
The results of the economic surplus method the distributional effects on different sectors
indicated that the BCR worked out to more of the economy in a holistic manner, this is
than one, implying that the returns to public possible to conclude that the conventional
investment such as watershed development methodology underestimates the impacts
activities are feasible. Similarly, the IRR is of watershed development programs in the
worked out to 25, which is higher than the rural areas.
long-term loan interest rate by commercial
banks, indicating the worthiness of the gov- Regarding the policies, watershed devel-
ernment investment on watershed develop- opmental activities have significant im-
ment. The Net Present Value worked out pact on the groundwater recharge, access
to Rs. 567912 for the entire watershed. The to groundwater and hence the expansion
net present value per hectare worked out in irrigated area. Therefore, the policy fo-
to Rs.4542 (where the total area treated is cus must be for the construction of water
500 hectares). This implies that the benefits harvesting structures particularly percola-
from watershed development is higher than tion ponds wherever feasible. In addition to
the cost of investment in the watershed de- these public investments, the private invest-
velopment program of Rs.4000 ha5. ments through construction of farm ponds
may be encouraged as these structures help
However, recently the watersheds in India are allotted a budget of approximately Rs. 6000 per hectare. Thus,
a watershed with a total area of 500 hectares receives Rs.30 lakhs for a five-year period. The bulk of this money
(80 per cent) is meant for development/treatment and construction activities. According to the new Common
guidelines 2008, the budget allotment is Rs.12000 per hectare.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

in a big way to harvest the available rain- ties for Pakistan, Agricultural Econom-
water and hence groundwater recharge. ics, 19 (3): 327-340.

Watershed developmental activities altered Kerr John, Ganesh Pangare, Pangare VL

crop pattern, increased in crop yields and and George PJ. (2000) “An Evaluation
crop diversification and thereby provided of Dryland Watershed Development
enhanced employment and farm income. Projects in India”, EPTD Discussion
Therefore, the alternative-farming system Paper No.68, International Food Policy
combining agricultural crops, trees and live- Research Institute, Washington.D.C.
stock components with comparable profit Libardo Rivas R, James A García, Carlos
should be evolved and demonstrated to Seré, Lovell S. Jarvis, Luis R. Sanint,
the farmers. and Douglas Pachico. (1999). Manual
on Economic Surplus Analysis Model
Once the groundwater is available, high wa-
(MODEXC), International Centre for
ter intensive crops are introduced. Hence,
Tropical Agriculture, Colombia.
the appropriate water saving technologies
like drip is introduced without affecting Logesh GB. (2004) Economic impact as-
farmers’ choice of crops. The creation and sessment of watershed development
implementation of regulations in relation programs: A study of Kallambella wa-
to the depth of wells and spacing between tershed, Karnataka. Ph.D. thesis, Un-
wells reduces the well failure, which could published, University of Agricultural
be possible through Watershed Association. Sciences, Bangalore.
The existing NABARD norms such as 150
Maredia, Mywish, Byerlee, Derek, Ander-
meters spacing between two wells should
son Jock. (2000). Ex Post Evaluation of
be strictly followed upon.
Economic Impacts of Agricultural Re-
People’s participation, involvement of search Programs: A Tour of Good Prac-
Panchayati Raj Institutions, local user tice. Paper presented to the Workshop
groups and NGOs along side institutional on “The Future of Impact Assessment
support from different levels, viz. the in CGIAR: Needs, Constraints, and Op-
Union Government, the State, the District tions”, Standing Panel on Impact Assess-
and block levels should be ensured to ment (SPIA) of the Technical Advisory
make the program more participatory, Committee, Rome, May, 3-5, 2000.
interactive and cost effective.
Moore, Michael R. Noel R. Gollehon and
Daniel M. Hellerstein. (2000). Estima-
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Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

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Watershed Development in Impact As-
6-7 December 2002
sessment of Watershed Development:
Methodological Issues and Experiences Wander, Alcido Elenor, Marilia Castelo
(Ed.) K.Palanisami and D. Suresh Ku- Magalhaes, Graciela Luzia Vedovoto,
mar, (New Delhi: Associated Publishing Espedito Cezario Martins (2004). Using
Company Ltd.,), 2006. the Economic Surplus Method to As-
sess Economic Impacts of New Tech-
Palanisami K and Suresh Kumar D. (2007).
nologies—Case Studies of EMBRAPA,
Watershed Development and Aug-
“Rural Poverty Reduction through Re-
mentation of Groundwater Resources:
search for Development” Conference
Evidence from Southern India”. Third
on International Agricultural Research
International Groundwater Conference,
for Development, Deutscher Tropentag,
February 7-10, 2007, Tamil Nadu Agri-
October 5-7, 2004, Berlin.
cultural University, Coimbatore, India.
Wani SP, Joshi PK, Raju KV, Sreedevi
Rao CH. (2000). “Watershed Develop-
TK, Wilson JM, Shah Amita, Diwakar
ment in India: Recent Experiences and
PG, Palanisami K, Marimuthu S, Jha
Emerging Issues”, Economic and Politi-
AK, Ramakrishna YS, Meenakshi Sun-
cal Weekly, 35 (45):3943-3947
daram SS and D’Souza Marcella. (2008).
Reddy RV. (2000). Land Degradation in Community Watershed as a Growth En-
India: Extent, Costs, Determinants and gine for Development of Dryland Areas.
Trends, (Mimeo), Centre for Economic A Comprehensive Assessment of Water-
and Social Studies, Hyderabad. shed Programs in India. Global Theme
Swinton SM. (2002). Integrating sustain- on Agroecosystems Report no. 47,  Pa-
ability indicators into the economic sur- tancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India
plus approach for NRM impact assess- : International Crops Research Institute
ment. In (eds) Shiferaw, B., Freeman, H. for the Semi-Arid Tropics. 36 pp.

Table 1. Details of Watersheds covered for the study in Coimbatore District

Name of the Block Name of watershed Area (ha)
Annur Kattampatty I 460.00
Kattampatty II 467.50
Kuppepalayam 672.50
Avinashi Naduvenchery 767.50
Karumapalayam 752.50
Chinneripalayam 524.85
Sulur Arasur I 605.00
Arasur II 590.00
Rasipalayam 560.00
Palladam Kodangipalayam I 455.00


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 2. General characteristics of sample farm households

Particulars Watershed village Control village
Farm size (ha) 1.28 1.75
Household Size 3.31 3.34
Land value (Rs./ha) 230657 153452
No.of wells owned 1.35 1.20
Average area irrigated by wells (ha.) 1.48 1.80
Value of household assets (Rs.) 261564* 184385
No.of persons in the household 4.07 4.2
Number of workers 2.5 2.1
Labour force participation (%) 61.48 50.79
*indicates values are significantly different at 1 %, level from the corresponding values of control village

Table 3. Cropped area, cropping intensity and crop diversification

Watershed villages Control villages
Before After Before After
Net area irrigated (ha) 1.08 1.10*** 1.68 1.62
Gross area irrigated (ha) 1.25 1.35** 1.84 1.62
Irrigation intensity 115.74 122.73** 109.52 100.00
Net cropped area (ha.) 1.15 1.28** 1.78 1.62
Gross cropped area (ha.) 1.38 1.88** 2.43 2.16
Cropping intensity (%) 120.00 146.88 136.52 133.33
Crop Diversification Index (CDI) 6
1.0 0.97
*, ** and *** indicate values are significantly different at 1 %, 5 % and 10% levels from the corresponding values of control village
Table 4. Livestock per household and per hectare of arable land
Particulars Watershed village Control village
Per cent of households 46.67 93.33
Herd size (number) 2.57 2.64
Per hectare of gross cropped area (number) 2.01 1.63

Crop Diversification Index (CDI) was worked out by employing Composite Entropy Index (CEI) based on the pro-
portion of different crops in the farm. The Composite Entropy Index for crop diversification was worked out as:

CEI = Composite Entropy Index
Pi = Acreage proportion of ith crop in total cropped area
N = Total number of crops


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 5. Impact of watershed development intervention on yield and cost

Crops/ Change in yield Reduction in Reduction in unit Net cost change
Enterprises (%) marginal cost (%) cost (%)
Sorghum 33 63.6 3.76 59.8
Maize 31 39.9 2.29 37.6
Pulses 36 41.0 1.47 39.6
Vegetables 32 32.8 0.76 31.9
Milk 28 27.3 7.81 19.5
NOTE: The reduction in marginal cost is the ratio of relative change in yield to price elasticity of supply (es).
Reduction in unit cost is the ratio of change in cost of inputs per hectare to (1+change in yield). Ci is the input cost change per
hectare. i.e., Cu = Ci/(1+Change in yield;. The net cost change (∀) is the difference between reduction in marginal cost and reduction
in unit cost, i.e., ∀ = Cm-Cu.

Table 6. Impact of watershed development activities on the village economy

Total benefits due to watershed intervention (B)
Crops/enterprises Change in total Change in consumer Change in producer
surplus (∆TS) surplus (∆CS) surplus (∆PS)
Sorghum 293177.3 113636.3 179541.0
(100.00) (38.8) (61.2)
Maize 177774.2 85424.0 92350.2
(100.00) (48.1) (51.9)
Pulses 25777.5 12580.3 13197.2
(100.00) (48.8) (51.2)
Vegetables 29663.6 10627.5 19036.1
(100.00) (35.8) (64.2)
Milk 176878.5 105974.1 70904.4
(100.00) (59.9) (40.1)
NOTE: The Change in total surplus in the village economy due to watershed intervention is decomposed in to change in consumer
surplus and change in producer surplus. The decomposition of total surplus is as follows:

Table 7. Results of Economic analysis employing Economic Surplus method

Particulars Economic surplus method Conventional method
Benefit Cost Ratio 1.93 1.23
Internal rate of return (%) 25 14
Net Present Value (Rs.) 2271021 567912


Optimum Sizing of On-Farm Reservoir for Various
Cropping Systems in Rainfed Uplands of Eastern India
SN Panda
IIT, Kharagpur

Abstract of rainfall during monsoon season creates

two extreme situations like drought or flood,
The paper presents the concept of on-farm
leading to either stress or submergence, both
reservoir system to mitigate the ill effect
responsible for the failure of crop.
of drought on agriculture. It is suggested
that the cropping system should be based In rainfed upland ecosystem, conserving
on hydrologic events considering water rainwater in a small tank in the farm area,
management and water harvesting po- popularly known as the on-farm reservoir
tential of upland crop fields. (OFR), and recycling the harvested water
can mitigate the probable drought and sub-
mergence situations. However, the size of
Introduction the OFR with respect to the farm area and
Rainfed agriculture has occupied about its type (lined or unlined) plays a decisive
70% of the net sown area in eastern India, role in the effective implementation of the
and it shares about 75% (5.2 Mha) of the technology at the field level. Because, an
total upland rice area in the country. Ma- under- or over-sized structure in the crop
jor constraints associated with production field makes the system economically unac-
scenarios of rainfed agriculture in eastern ceptable. Hence, attempts have been made
India are its vast rainfed uplands, uncer- to arrive at an optimum size of the OFR
tainties in spatial and temporal variability (lined or unlined), with respect to vari-
of monsoon, barren land in non-monsoon ous cropping systems at its upstream and
seasons, adoption of unsuitable cropping downstream.
pattern, and poor socio-economic status
of the farmers. Yields under rainfed agri- Methodology
culture are low and quite unstable due to
the uncertainty of monsoonal rainfall and Concept
variation in its onset and withdrawal pat- The size of the OFR largely depends on
tern (Verma and Sarma 1990; Panigrahi et the irrigation management strategies of
al., 2002). The farmers harvest about hardly the crops to be grown in the command
1 t ha-1 of paddy from this topo-sequence. area and the natural inflow and outflow
On the other hand, the low water holding components of the structure. The inflow
capacity of the soil allows quick depletion of components consist of direct rainfall and
the residual soil moisture after the recession the runoff from the micro-catchments of the
of the south-west monsoon, which leaves a OFR, whereas the outflow components are
question mark on the chance of growing a the seepage and evaporation losses. Hence,
second crop (Agrawal et al., 2004). The spa- a mass balance of the inflow and outflow
tial heterogeneity and temporal variability components of the crop fields as well as


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the OFR including the irrigation demand pute daily inflow-outflow components dur-
of crops seems to be a correct approach, for ing the growing season. They are i) single
making a decision on the size of the OFR soil layer water balance approach; and ii)
for a particular period of rainfall events. double soil layer water balance approach. In
Economic evaluation of the OFR system for a single-layer system, the whole root zone
a series of time-steps are required to arrive has been considered as one-layer from the
at an optimum size. day of germination of the crop, whereas
in double-layer system, the active layer ex-
Cropping Pattern based on tends from the soil surface to the position
Hydrological Events of the root on the day of prediction and it
keeps on moving down, till the maximum
The onset and withdrawal of monsoon is root zone depth is attained. The degree of
the basic information to decide the time error in predicting the events by the later
of sowing, selection of crop variety, and seems to be less as compared to the first
appropriate cropping pattern for the re- one.
gion. Analysis of the occurrence of such
hydrological events along with dry spells Water Harvesting Potential of the
during the rainy season is carried out using
rainfall data of 22 years. Methods suggested
Upland Crop Fields
by Verma and Sarma (1990) were used to Water harvesting potential (WHP = SI/
analyze the onset and withdrawal of the Runoff) indicates the rainfall adequacy to
monsoon. For the prediction of these events meet the supplemental irrigation (SI) re-
at certain probability of exceedance, selec- quirement of crops and also establishes
tion of transformations and best-fit prob- the feasibility of the OFR system in the
ability distribution functions is essential problem area. WHP less than one suggest
(Panigrahi et al., 2002; and Panigrahi and the infeasibility of the OFR system in the
Panda, 2001 b). area (Guerra et al., 1990; Oweis et al., 1999).
When it is nearer to one or greater than
one, a green signal is indicated to go for
Water Management
the OFR system. When it is nearer to 1, the
Using the mass balance approach, daily root deficiency can be met by the direct rainfall
zone soil moisture balance of the crop field collected in the OFR.
lying in the upland topo-sequence is carried
out to assess the probable surplus and deficit The water balance model will be added with
moisture periods within the crop-growing another two components such as surface
season (Panigrahi et al., 2001). The inflow runoff (SR) and SI to assess the amount
components to the crop field are rainfall and of SR generated from the crop field, which
supplemental irrigation and the outflow com- will match with the amount of SI require-
ponents are seepage, percolation, and actual ment of the crops. The time and quantity
evapotranspiration. This study will highlight of SI requirement has to be decided earlier
the necessity of a water source for sustaining based on the type and sensitive stages of
rice in the rainy non-rice in the post-monsoon the crops grown in the command of the
seasons in rainfed uplands. OFR. For many crops grown in the rainy
season in the region, flowering to end of
Two kinds of soil layers for the effective grain filling stage is assumed to be the most
root zone depth have been used to com- sensitive to moisture stress. So, it’s been


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

decided to apply SI during this period if soil water during the post-monsoon period that
moisture in the root zone depletes below can be used to irrigate a larger command
management allowable depletion (MAD) or for growing a second and third crop in
level of the crop. succession.

Size of the OFR Evaporation loss from the OFR is estimat-

ed to be around 30% of its total outflow.
The size of the OFR largely depends on Measures like shade net or LDPE cover
the irrigation management strategies of the over the water surface area are practiced
crops to be grown in its command area and to control the loss to a large extent. But
the natural inflow and outflow components the cost involvement in these practices is
of the structure. The inflow components escalating the opportunity cost of the har-
consist of the rainfall and the runoff from the vested water. Hence, some low cost mea-
catchment of the OFR where as the outflow sures like biological shading with the help
components are seepage, evaporation loss, of creeper have been used in the study to
and SI requirement of the crops. Since the control evaporation loss from the OFR. It
components like rainfall and surface runoff reduces evaporation loss to the tune of 50%
are in depth units before coming to the as compared to an open OFR (Sahoo et al,
OFR and it does not match with the depth 2009). In addition to mitigating evapora-
of the truncated trapezium shaped OFRs, tion loss, it embellished with some positive
so they are converted to volume unit and qualities like effective utilization of crop area
volume balance of the inflow and outflow diverted to the OFR construction.
components of the OFR seems to be a cor-
rect approach that helps in deciding the
Optimum Size of the OFR
accurate size of the OFR for a particular
period of rainfall events or season. Hydrological events like onset and with-
drawal of monsoon, rainfall, runoff; ET, etc.,
The outflow components of the OFR play are stochastic in nature, which also make the
a decisive role in enhancing the production size of the OFR as stochastic. So, the water
and productivity of the upland cropping balance model of the OFR generates differ-
system, increasing the cropping intensity ent sizes of the OFRs for different years. A
of the existing mono-cropped rice intensive very small sized OFR is expected in a high
system, and also standardizing the degree of rainfall year and in contrast, a very large
diversification possible with respect to high size in a scanty rainfall year. Of course, other
value non-rice crops in the post-monsoon factors like uniform distribution of rainfall
seasons and pisciculture. also have some role to play in the size of
OFR. Obviously, a small sized OFR will
Seepage and percolation (SP) loss from the have less storage for the other enterprises
unlined OFRs constitutes 45 – 67% of the like pisciculture, second and third crops in
total outflow. Hence, an unlined OFR oc- the system in contrast with a larger OFR
cupies a larger area than the lined OFRs. size. On the other hand, the return from
Reports reveal that SP can be controlled large OFR may be less as compared to the
to a large extent even completely by using investment. So, an economic analysis is car-
LDPE sheets of proper thickness (600μ). So, ried out to reach at a compromising size of
the lining of the OFR reduces the size of the OFR, which will give highest return
the structure on one hand and on the other, for all the years at certain probability of


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

exceedances (Panigrahi and Panda, 2003). growth stage of rice. It was also found
Based on the present worth analysis, the that the residual soil moisture at the
economic parameters like net profit (NP), time of sowing of light duty crop in
benefit cost ratio (BCR), internal rate of re- the post-monsoon period is inadequate
turn (IRR) and pay back period (PBP) are for germination of seeds in 45% of the
used in the study. The parameters are com- years and thus, requires pre-sowing ir-
puted by using all the cost factors involved rigation (Panigrahi and Panda, 2001a).
in the system such as initial investment, • When the rice crop is completely substi-
maintenance cost, land lease cost, irrigation tuted by maize crop in the rainy season
cost, cost of production, and cost of return and soil moisture status is simulated, it
in excess of a rainfed system. is found that in none of the years dur-
ing 1977 to 2006, the crop needs any
Summary and Conclusions supplemental irrigation. It indicates that
a plenty of harvested water will be avail-
• At 50% probability of exceedance (PE), able to meet the irrigation demand of the
power transformation gives the onset winter crops as well as pre-sowing ir-
and withdrawal of monsoon in the re- rigation to a third crop in succession.
gion as June 16 and October 3, respec-
tively. Thus, the monsoon is effective in • Study on the water harvesting potential
the region for 110 days. So, short duration reveals that 85% of the supplemental
rice of 100-110 days should be grown irrigation requirement of the rainfed
under rainfed farming system (Panigrahi upland rice during the critical growth
and Panda, 2001b). stage can be met from the surface runoff
generated from the rice lands at 50% PE
• At least two long dry spells, both are level. The rest can be met from the direct
of 13 days duration, are likely to occur rainfall collected in the OFR (Panigrahi
every year in the region during rainy and Panda, 2003). The average seasonal
season, out of which one comes on July, surface runoff from the short duration
18 and the other on August, 22 at 50% rice field and irrigation requirement of
PE. Hence, the biasi operation in case rice crop was 133.1 mm and 144 mm,
of direct sown paddy and transplanting respectively (Panigrahi et al., 2001). So,
operation in case of transplanted rice are the irrigation requirement can be sup-
to be completed before July, 18 to achieve plemented by recycling the harvested
an effective physiological growth of rice. runoff from the OFR and thus, there is
The second dry spell coincides with the a scope for rainwater harvesting in the
critical growth stage of rice, which fa- OFR. Moreover, the rainwater harvested
cilitate creation of water source to pro- during maturity stage of rice and end of
vide supplemental irrigation to rice for turn-in period was found adequate to
its sustenance in the rainfed uplands. meet the pre-sowing irrigation require-
• Simulation of ponding depth and soil ment of the winter (rabi) crop. Hence,
moisture status of rainfed uplands re- the chance of double cropping is very
veals that there is a need for drainage much possible in rainfed uplands with
of ponded water during initial crop es- the intervention of the OFR technol-
tablishment and late season stage and ogy.
supplemental irrigation during critical • On the other hand, the water harvesting


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

potential under partial crop substitution and pre-sowing irrigation to the mustard
(non-rice: rice::1.5:1) is more than 3 times crop except with a few limitations like
the irrigation demand of rainy season larger OFR size and quick depletion of
crops. It widens the scope of full irriga- the harvested water after recession of
tion practice during the critical growth southwest monsoon as compared to the
stage of the rice as well as at least two lined OFR. Second irrigation to the rabi
irrigations to the second crop in the crop is hardly possible in case of unlined
winter season. OFR. The optimum size of the unlined
OFR for crop-fish integration having 1:1
• Economic analysis indicates that 12%
side slope was estimated to be 15% of the
of the farm area is optimum for the
farm area for a return period of 5 year
construction of lined OFR (Fig. 1) that
(Pandey et al., 2006) and the size of the
can meet on an average 93 and 33 mm
OFR becomes larger with the increase
of supplemental irrigation to rice dur-
in side slope.
ing critical growth stage in wet season
and pre-sowing irrigation/SI demand to • The BCR, IRR, and PBP of the optimum
mustard in post-monsoon period. The (12%) size of the OFR were found to be
average increase in yield of rice and 1.22, 16.1% and 13 years, respectively
mustard yield due to supplemental ir- (Panigrahi et al., 2005). BCR value of
rigation from the OFR is found to be 29.2 more than 1 indicates that the invest-
% and 22.3% more over the average yield ment on the OFR irrigation system is
of corresponding crops under rainfed justified.
condition (Panigrahi and Panda, 2003).
• When fish is integrated with the OFR
The depth of the OFR and side slope is
system (lined and unlined) in rainfed
maintained at 2 m and 1:1, respectively,
uplands along with rice-mustard crop-
through out the simulation process.
ping sequence, the net return to the
• The unlined OFR is also equally capable beneficiary increased leading to a re-
to meet the SI requirement of the rice markable increase in benefit cost ratio

Figure 1. Variation of net Profit for different sizes of OFR at different PE


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of the system (Pandey et al., 2006; Sethi Pandey PK, Panda SN and Panigrahi
et al., 2005; and Pandey et al., 2005). The B. (2006) Sizing on-farm reservoir for
BCR value of lined and unlined OFRs crop-fish integration in rainfed farming
occupying 10% of the farm area becomes system in eastern India. Biosystems En-
1.65 and 2.70, respectively (Sethi et al., gineering (Elsevier Science), Vol. 93(4):
2005). Pay back period of unlined OFR 475-489.
is found to be 13 years where as that
Pandey PK, Panda SN and Pholane LP.
of lined OFR is 20 years. In both lined
(2005) Economic evaluation of rain-
and unlined OFRs, the depth of water
water harvesting in on-farm reservoir
has been maintained at 2.4m.
for the integrated farming system - A
• A user friendly software using Visual Ba- sustainable approach to small farmers,
sic 6.0 programme has been developed to Environment and Ecology, Vol. 23 (3):
find optimum sizing of the OFR in terms 671-675.
of percentage of the farm area in rainfed
Panigrahi B and Panda SN and Agrawal
farming system (Roy et al., 2009). It is
A. (2005) Water balance simulation and
a menu driven system, flexible enough
economic analysis for optimal size of on-
to simulate the OFR sizes for various
farm reservoir, Water Resources Man-
combinations of OFR geometry, field
agement (Springer, The Netherlands)
sizes and cropping patterns. The user
Vol.19 (3): 233-250.
has to specify the crops to be grown,
irrigation management practices, types Panigrahi B and Panda SN. (2003) Optimal
of OFR (lined or unlined), side slope sizing of on-farm reservoirs for supple-
and depth of OFR and the farm area. mental irrigation. Jr. of Irrigation and
Drainage Engineering (ASCE). Vol. 129
(2): 117-128.
Panigrahi B, and SN and Mull R. (2002)
Agrawal MK, Panda SN and Panigrahi B. Prediction of hydrological events for
(2004) Modeling water balance param- planning rainfed rice. Hydrological
eters for rainfed rice. Jr. of Irrigation and Science Journal (IAHS, England), Vol.
Drainage Engineering, (ASCE), Vol. 130 47(3): 435-448.
Panigrahi B, Panda SN and Mull R. (2001)
Guerra LC, Watson PG and Bhuiyan SI. Simulation of water harvesting potential
(1990) Hydrological analysis of farm res- in rainfed rice lands using water balance
ervoirs in rainfed areas. Agricultural Wa- models. Agricultural Systems, (Elsevier
ter Management, Vol. 17(4): 351-366. Science), Vol. 69 (3): 165-182.
Oweis T, Hachum A and Kijne J. (1999). Panigrahi B, Panda SN. (2001a) Simula-
Water harvesting and supplemental irri- tion of ponding and soil moisture status
gation for improved water use efficiency through water balance model for rainfed
in dry areas. SWIM paper No.7, Inter- upland rice. International Agricultural
national Water Management Institute, Engineering Journal, (AAAE, Bangkok),
Colombo, Sri Lanka. Vol. 10 (1 & 2): 39-56.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Panigrahi B, Panda SN. (2001b) Analysis tional Perspective on Environmental and

of weekly rainfall for crop planning in Water Resources” organized by EWRI
rainfed region. J. of Agricultural Engi- of ASCE at AIT, Bangkok during 5-7
neering, (ISAE),Vol. 38 (4): 47-57. January, 2009, CTS#25, 1-18.
Roy D, Panda SN, Panigrahi B. (2009). Sethi LN, Panda SN and Verma DP. (2005).
Water balance simulation model for Economic viability of rice-fish integra-
optimal sizing of on-farm reservoir in tion with the on-farm reservoir of rain-
rainfed cropping system: A user-friendly fed ecosystem in eastern India. Journal
software. Computers and Electronics in of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Agriculture (Elsevier Science), Vol. 65 (WFL publisher, Finland) Vol. 3 (3 &
(1): 114-124. 4): 194-199.
Sahoo BC, Panda SN and Panigrahi B. Verma HN and Sharma PBS. (1990). Design
(2009) Reduction of evaporation loss of storage tanks for water harvesting in
from the on-farm reservoir through bi- rainfed areas. Agricultural Water Man-
ological shading. Proceedings of inter- agement, Vol. 18(3): 195-207.
national conference titled “An Interna-


Water Harvesting Potential Assessment in
Rainfed Regions of India
KV Rao, B Venkateswarlu, KPR Vittal, BR Sharma
Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad
Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI), Jodhpur
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), New Delhi

Abstract tion of water conservation and rainwater

The paper deals with the study on identi- harvesting, purchase of groundwater from
fication of crop-specific assessment of the neighboring tube well/well owners, diver-
surplus runoff water available for water sification of agriculture and improved ac-
harvesting in the country. A crop water cess to knowledge and markets. Watershed
balance analysis of 225 dominant rainfed management is perceived as an effective
districts provided information on the pos- development paradigm with the potential
sible surplus runoff during cropping season. of improving resources and productivity in
On a potential (excluding very arid and wet the rainfed regions.
areas) rainfed cropped area of 28.5 million It is known that supplemental irrigation
ha, a surplus rainfall of 114 billion m3 (Bm3) during flowering to grain filling stage sig-
was available for harvesting. A part of this nificantly improves the crop’s’ productivity.
amount of water is adequate to provide one A review of literature on the increase of
turn of supplementary irrigation of 100 mm productivity in various crops gave varying
depth to 20.65 Mha during drought years results on the effect of supplemental irri-
and 25.08 Mha during normal years indicat- gation. The variability can be attributed to
ing that water harvesting and supplemen- variation in soils, seasonal rainfall distribu-
tal irrigation are economically viable at the tion, rainfall occurrence after supplemental
national level. irrigation and several other unmanageable
Introduction Capturing rainfall, storing it for use when
Contribution of rainfed areas in India is rela- needed for partial or full irrigation, using
tively higher in the production of coarse it more efficiently and cutting the amount
cereals, rainfed upland/ lowland rice, pulses that evaporates unused are crucial to boost
and oilseeds. Except for the last decade or yields and incomes of the poor.
so, the earlier efforts through the introduc-
tion of high yielding varieties, application The available runoff can be harvested and
of inorganic and bio-fertilizers and the im- utilized broadly for two purposes. One is
plementation of variety of improved agro- to provide supplemental irrigation for the
nomic practices in rainfed agriculture did kharif crop after cessation of monsoon at
not produce the desired results for want of critical stages in case of continuous dryspell
water availability at critical growth stages. and second to provide irrigation for a second
However, the last decade has witnessed crop for sowing the rabi crop.
some dynamism in the rainfed areas because In the present context, an assessment was
farmers/communities started limited adop- made of the possibility of supplemental ir-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

rigation through water harvesting for kharif Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab,
(rainy season) crop. The assessment involves Bihar, West Bengal and Uttaranchal).
estimation of available (surplus) rainfall run-
2. The area is limited to AESR 3-13
off during second half of to September.
covering semi-arid region in full and
marginal areas from arid and sub-
Methodology humid regions within the states. The
coastal, sub-mountain and cold arid
regions were not included.
Identification of dominant rainfed dis-

3. Districts in the descending order of area
tricts for different crops.
coverage limiting to cumulative 85%
Assessment of surplus/runoff for water
 of total rainfed area for each crop is
harvesting and supplemental irrigation considered for the study purpose.
at a district level.
4. Crops covered are sunflower, soybean,
rapeseed mustard, groundnut, castor,
Identification of Dominant Rainfed cotton, sorghum, pearl millet, maize,
Districts for Different Crops pigeon pea, rice in kharif and linseed
For the present analysis, the dominant and chickpea in rabi. Even though
rainfed districts, which occupy a significant chickpea and linseed are rabi season
amount of area from national perspective, crops, consideration was given as they
are identified for different crops since the follow mostly a fallow in kharif. The
proposed water harvesting mechanisms can focus is primarily on the utilization of
be justified based on their potential utili- runoff from southwest monsoon in the
zation. Thus, we retain this definition i.e. present context.
districts in the descending order of area
coverage limiting to cumulative 85% of total Spatial distribution of selected
rainfed area for each crop in the country. rainfed crops across India
With the adoption of this definition, it is pos-
The five-year average of irrigated area, pro-
sible to identify districts for various crops,
duction and total cropped area were pre-
which are predominantly rainfed covering a
pared on district basis. Based on the area
large area. Developmental activities related
under each crop, districts contributing to
to a specific rainfed crop should be taken
85% of the area under the crop were identi-
up first in these districts, which would sig-
fied. This was done to identify the major
nificantly increase the total production.
region in the crop as almost all the crops
Following process for the identification of a are grown in most of the districts except
dominant rainfed crop district is adopted: for a very few crops which have specific
agro climatic requirements like soybeans
1. States covering semi-arid regions in and linseed.
full and margins from dry arid and
sub-humid were identified. There
Assessment of Surplus/Runoff
are sixteen states (Andhra Pradesh,
Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Orissa,
for Water Harvesting and Supple-
Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, mental Irrigation at District Level
Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, In India, normal period of southwest mon-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 1. Details on dominant rainfed districts for

various crops is given below
No. of districts Districts covering
Rainfed states AESR 3-13 cumulative 85% area
Sunflower 224 179 11
Soybean 202 160 21
Rapeseed mustard 265 214 29
Groundnut 316 243 50
Castor 202 157 12
Cotton 296 237 30
Sorghum 346 261 71
Pearlmillet 346 261 43
Maize 346 261 67
Pigeonpea 266 215 83
Chickpea 346 261 85

soon is from June to September/October. availability for harvesting and thus making
About 70% of annual rainfall is received use of the same for supplemental irrigation
through southwest monsoon. Parts of south during the crop-growing season.
India covering Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh
and Karnataka are in the transient zones For each of the districts both crop-wise and
of both southwest and northeast monsoon annual water balance analyses were done
(October to December). As total rainfall is following the FAO procedure. The climatic
spread over a few rainy days with high water balance for the whole year provides
intensity, it results in surface runoff and information on the possible surplus and deficit
erosion or causes temporary water stag- period during the year. Proper management
nation on agricultural fields, resulting in plans can be arrived at to augment the re-
higher evaporation. In either of these cases, sources with in the year based on the surplus
rainfall is not available for plant growth to availability for meeting not only the needs
complete the plant cycle. In order to raise of agriculture but also for other sectors. The
better crops, it is necessary to convert a water balance analysis was carried out for
part of the lost water (evaporation, excessive the entire year as well as for the cropping
runoff) into a more productive use i.e. for season for assessing the surplus and/or deficit
supplemental irrigation during dry spells. during the year to estimate the changes in
Supplemental irrigation cuts the yield losses available water through rainfall and atmo-
that result from dry spells, provides farmers spheric requirements of through evaporation
the confidence to invest in other produc- and changes in temporal availability of rain-
tion inputs (fertilizers, improved varieties) fall and plant water requirement, respectively.
and allows farmers to grow higher value Actual rainfall, normal rainfall, and normal
crops and diversify the enterprise. Objec- potential evapo-transpiration were taken
tive of this analysis is to assess the water from the available database.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Crop water balance based the rainfed area in 16 states) under study
surplus/deficit assessment for for various crops and estimated surplus and
on-farm water harvesting in deficit across rainfed region.
different rainfed crops across • An estimated amount of 11.5 M ha- m
dominant rainfed districts runoff is generated through 39 M ha of
rainfed area covering major crops.
Surplus runoff available from crop water
balance analysis was considered for on- • Out of the surplus of 11.5 M ha- m, 4.1
farm water harvesting. Total surplus from M ha- m is generated by about 6.5 M
a district is obtained by multiplication of ha of rainfed rice.
seasonal surplus with rainfed area under a
• Another 1.32 and 1.30 M ha of runoff
crop. Total surplus available from a cropped
is generated from soyabeans (2.8 M ha)
region is obtained by adding the surplus
and chickpea (3.35M ha), respectively.
from individual dominant districts identi-
fied for each crop. • Total rainfed coarse cereals (10.7 M ha)
generate about 2.1M ha-m of runoff.
Data under Table 2 presents a summary of
total rainfed cropped area (covering 85% of • Spatial distribution of runoff on agro
ecological sub region and river basin
Table 2. Available surplus runoff from the dominant rainfed districts/ regions for
the important dryland crops of India (based on Crop Water Balance Analysis)
Rainfed crop
Crop group Crop Surplus (ha-m) Deficit (ha-m)
area (‘000 ha)
Cereals Rice 6442 4123673 0
Coarse cereals Finger millet 607 158897 50
  Maize 2591 778397 0
Pearl millet 3921 374664 11390
Sorghum 3537 784167 1489
Total (Coarse cereals) 10656 2096125 12929
Fiber Cotton 4143 759143 111069
Oilseeds Castor 351 19729 388
  Groundnut 4457 357602 121694
Linseed 652 307276 1369
Sesame 1354 421694 458
Soya beans 2843 1329251 0
Sunflower 902 13327 10891
Total (Oilseeds) 10559 2448879 134800
Pulses Chickpea 3344 1307276 13020
Green gram 1279 91883 1330
Pigeon pea 2615 671848 4766
  Total (Pulses) 7238 2071007 19116
  Grand total 39038 11498827 277914


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 3. Potentially harvestable surplus runoff available for supplemental

irrigation under different rainfed crops of India
Rainfed crop
Crop group Crop Surplus (ha-m) Deficit (ha-m)
area (‘000 ha)
Cereals Rice 6329 4121851 0
Coarse cereals Finger millet 303 153852 0
Maize 2443 771890 0
Pearl millet 1818 359991 0
Sorghum 2938 771660 0
  Total (Coarse cereals) 7502 2057393 0
Fiber Cotton 3177 757575 8848
Oilseeds Castor 28 14489 0
Groundnut 1663 342673 1646
Linseed 590 306360 0
Sesame 1052 416638 0
Soybeans 2843 1329251 0
Sunflower 98 11811 0
  Total (oilseeds) 6273 2421222 1646
Pulses Chickpea 3006 1304682 9166
Green gram 458 80135 0
Pigeon pea 1823 659328 238
  Total (pulses) 5288 2044145 9404
  Grand total 28568 11402186 19898

wise is shown in Fig 7a. Spatial dis- fied after deleting districts with runoff
tribution of surplus generation for all surplus of less than or equal to 50 mm
major rainfed districts and crops within and those districts with runoff less than
a district and for rainfed rice, cotton, 10% of seasonal rainfall. Following table
soybean, groundnut and maize growing (Table 3) gives summary of surplus and
districts is shown in Fig 8, 9.1 to 9.6. deficit for various crops after deletion of
districts which generate either less than
• Based on practical field experiences it
50 mm of runoff or less than 10 % of
was assumed that harvestable runoff is
seasonal rainfall.
practically available only with greater
than 50 mm of runoff surplus or greater • About 10.5 M ha of rainfed area gener-
than 10% of seasonal rainfall as runoff ates runoff of less than 50 mm (10.25
which otherwise can be made use of M ha) and 10% of seasonal rainfall
through in-situ conservation methods (0.25M ha) during the cropping period.
(Annual report, 2001). Thus, surplus Majority of 10.5 M ha is contributed
runoff generating districts were identi- by areas under groundnut, pearl mil-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

let, sorghum, castor, and finger millet Based on this available surplus, irrigable
crops. area was estimated for single supplemen-
tal irrigation of 100 mm at reproductive
• Thus, the total estimated runoff surplus
stage of crop. This was estimated for both
for various rainfed crops is about 11.4
normal rainfall and drought years. Runoff
million ha-m (114.02 billion cubic meters)
during drought year is assumed to be 50%
from about 28.5 million ha which could
of runoff/ surplus during normal rainfall
be considered for water harvesting.
year (based on author’s estimates for se-
• Among individual crops, rainfed rice lected districts and rainfed crops in Andhra
contributes higher surplus (4.12 M ha-m Pradesh). Based on the experience during
from an area of 6.33 M ha) followed by drought years, more area can be brought
soybeans (1.30 M ha-m from 2.8 M ha). under supplemental irrigation as farmers
Deficit of rainfall for meeting crop water tend to apply water more economically on
requirement is also visible for crops like individual plant/ row basis. The estimated
groundnut, cotton, chickpea and pigeon irrigable area for both scenarios is given
pea. below (Table 4).

Harvestable surplus during The remaining available surplus after mak-

drought and normal seasons and ing provision for one supplemental irriga-
tion of 100 mm at reproductive stage is given
its use for supplemental irrigation below (Table 5).
In order to assess the assuredness of water
availability, it is necessary to estimate sur-
plus during drought seasons also along with Conclusions
normal and above normal seasons. If annual • Out of 114 billion cu m available as sur-
rainfall is less than 20% of normal rainfall, it plus about 28 billion cubic meters (19.4%)
is declared as drought year. Though there is is needed for supplemental irrigation to
good amount of surplus available as runoff irrigate an area of 25 million ha during
in a season, all the runoff is not available normal monsoon year thus leaving about
at one time during the season. 86 M ham (81.6%) to meet river/environ-
Normally, farmers apply an irrigation depth mental flow and other requirements.
of 20 to 50 mm as supplemental/ deficit • During drought years also about 31 bil-
irrigation in rainfed areas. In case of ca- lion cubic meters is still available even
nal command areas, about 60 to 75 mm after making provision for irrigating 20.6
of water is applied per irrigation. In the million ha.
present exercise, an amount of 10 cm was
• Thus it can be seen that water harvest-
considered per irrigation including the con-
ing and supplemental irrigation do not
veyance losses. The quantity of irrigation
jeopardize the available flows in rivers
may appear to be high in comparison with
even during drought years or cause sig-
recommendations. This was only forced due
nificant downstream effects in the study
to vast number of untrained water manag-
ers cutting across production systems with
highly varying socio economic and educa- • By introduction of supplemental irriga-
tional background. tion (with ‘Business as Usual’ scenario),


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 4. Irrigable area (‘000 ha) through supplemental irrigation (@100 mm

irrigation) under different rainfed crops
Irrigable area Irrigable area
Rainfed crop
Crop group Crop (‘000 ha) during (‘000 ha) during
area (‘000 ha)
normal monsoon drought season
Cereals Rice 6329 6329 6215
Coarse cereals Finger millet 303 266 224
Maize 2443 2251 1684
Pearl millet 1818 1370 837
Sorghum 2938 2628 1856
Total (Coarse cereals) 7502 6515 4601
Fiber Cotton 3177 2656 1725
Oilseeds Castor 28 25 22
Groundnut 1663 1096 710
Sesame 1052 919 741
Soybeans 2843 2843 2667
Sunflower 98 59 30
Total (Oilseeds) 5684 4942 4171
Pulses Chickpea 3006 2925 2560
Pigeon pea 1823 1710 1374
Total (Pulses) 4829 4634 3934
Grand total 27520 25076 20647

Table 5. Summary of remaining runoff surplus available after provision of

supplemental irrigation for different rainfed crops
Surplus remaining
Surplus remaining
after supplemental
Rainfed crop after supplemental
Crop group Crop irrigation during
area (‘000 ha) irrigation in normal
drought season (M
season (M ha-m)
Cereals Rice 6329 3489577 1428353
Coarse cereals  Finger millet 303 125195 50352
Maize 2443 527494 160805
Pearl millet 1818 188396 43056
Sorghum 2938 478666 122937
  Total (Coarse cereals) 7502 1319751 377150
Fiber Cotton 3177 446628 113242


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Surplus remaining
Surplus remaining
after supplemental
Rainfed crop after supplemental
Crop group Crop irrigation during
area (‘000 ha) irrigation in normal
drought season (M
season (M ha-m)
Oilseeds  Castor 28 11647 4722
Groundnut 1663 193860 61922
Linseed 590 247440 95343
Sesame 1052 313593 116441
Soya beans 2843 1045003 380355
Sunflower 98 2183 0
  Total (Oilseeds) 6273 1813727 658783
Pulses Chickpea 3006 1005564 359956
Green gram 458 39989 11695
Pigeon pea 1823 478544 158771
Total (Pulses) 5288 1524096 530423
  Grand total 28568 8593778 3107950

the crop production can be enhanced by promotion of larger community based

a total of 28-36 M i. tonnes from an area water harvesting structures which can
of 20 -25 Mha during drought and nor- also be used/ leased for commercial
mal monsoon periods which accounts aquaculture besides meeting domestic
for about 12 % increase over the present and rural entrepreneur needs. This may
production. also be dovetailed to rural development
schemes like Rural Employee Guarantee
• The benefits could be still higher if
initiatives like improved cultivars, SRI
cultivation in rice, crop and land use The proposed expenditure is not only lower
diversification, castor cultivation for silk compared with cost of providing canal ir-
worm, use of improved irrigation tech- rigation (i.e. Rs 25,000 for pond versus more
nologies like drip and micro-sprinkler than Rs.1,25,000 for canal irrigation ((4th
(which further increase water use effi- Report of National Commission on Farm-
ciency etc.) are taken up. ers,2006)) but also reduces the problems of
• In order to realize the above projected water logging etc, and also makes avail-
benefits, an amount of Rs 63.0 billion per able sufficient surplus available for different
annum for 20 years (a total of Rs 1260.0 needs. Since water availability is not plenty,
billion ,.) is needed to develop 50 million it would also not encourage farmers to go
ponds in rainfed areas spread across the for water intensive crops.
country. The cost shall be much less with


Experiences of Water Harvesting through
Farm Ponds in Vertisol Regions

Impact of Water Harvesting Structures on
Water Availability - A Case Study of Kokarda
Watershed, Nagpur District of Maharashtra
V Ramamurthy, NG Patil and Dipak Sarkar
National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land use Planning (NBSSLUP), Nagpur

Abstract wettest month with an average 290 mm

The paper presents in detail about a case rainfall. Vertisols occupy 42 per cent of the
study of water harvesting structures and total cultivated soils in the district. These
their impact on water availability and soils encourage greater amount of runoff
their utilisation for rainfed crops through due to their inherently low infiltration rate.
improved methods of irrigation. Notable The crops grown in the kharif suffer from
finding is that water harvesting systems intermittent dry spells of monsoon, while
prevented farmers from deepening of their the rabi crops entirely depends on residual
wells thus saving investments. moisture, which is inadequate. The research
conducted by ICAR and SAUs indicated
that the crop productivity can be increased
Introduction substantially by providing one or two life
Rainwater harvesting and recycling is an saving irrigations during moisture stresses
age-old practice in India, especially in the of crops in kharif as well as rabi seasons.
semi-arid regions. Unfortunately, modern Harvesting surplus water flowing out as
techniques of groundwater utilization (tube run off during the monsoon months could
wells) have over the years encouraged in- facilitate irrigation. Therefore, an attempt
dividualistic approach and the community was made to translate the techniques of
participation in rainwater harvesting disap- water harvesting into practice, a study was
peared slowly. Increased population pres- made to determine effect of water harvest-
sure and increasing demand from domestic ing on groundwater recharge of wells in
and industrial sectors coupled with erratic Kokarda watershed with direct involvement
monsoon has forced re-invention of old of farmers through Technology Assessment
techniques. Water is becoming scarce in and Refinement through Institute Village
the rural livelihood. Linkage Programme (TAR-IVLP).

Nagpur district of Maharashtra state agro-

climatically belongs to “Eastern Maharash- Methodology
tra Plateau” experiencing the climate of a In an effort to rekindle the interest of farm-
hot, dry, sub-humid eco-region (AESR-10.2) ers in community approach for managing
(Velayutham et al., 1999). Rainfall varies water resources, PRA was conducted in
from over 975 mm to less than 1100 mm the village. Water scarcity, uneven and in-
per year. Rainfall is received mostly (about sufficient rainfall distribution is the major
90 %) from southwest monsoon during June problems prioritized by the farmers in the
to October in a year. Usually, July is the watershed during Agro-Ecosystem Analy-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

sis through PRA (Conway, 1985). Transact reducing the seepage through the embank-
walk was conducted to identify the points ment base and increased the opportunity
for construction of nallah bunds. Kokarda time for the vertical movement of water.
watershed (280 ha) is a typical agricultural In 2003, recharge pond dugout near a well
watershed. In the watershed main stream to recharge the well through runoff water.
(nallah) originates at top of hillock that The runoff water from a catchment measur-
runs (north-south) through middle of wa- ing 5.6 ha was harvested in to a recharge
tershed. There are several small streams pond measuring top length and breadth
having width of 1-2 m originating from 6m and bottom length and breadth 4 m
crop fields and joining the main 4th order and height 1.5 m. The rainfall, water level
stream. The width of the mainstream mea- in the wells, time taken to recuperation,
sured about 3-6 m with depth varying 2-3 m period of water availability in the wells
in the middle and lower reach while length and area under irrigation before and after
of the stream was measured 1.5 km. After water conservation practices was monitored
intensive discussions with farmers along in 30 farmers’ fields and also in another
with resource mapping, participatory plan five farmers’ fields without the conservation
was finalized to implement nallah bunding practices as control.
(Modified gabion structure), renovate the
existing percolation tanks and construc- Location and Agro-climate of
tion of recharge pond near well. During
2001 summer months, construction of five the Study Area
modified gabions on the mainstream and The watershed, where the impact of water
the renovation of two percolation tanks conservation practices was evaluated is situat-
was taken up through participatory mode ed at 210 20’ N Latitude and 780 51’ E longitude
in the watershed. Farmers (30 in number) on an altitude ranging from 340m to 360m
around nallah and percolation tank partici- above MSL (Fig 1). The soils are dominated
pated in the programme. Nallah bunds were by Vertisols (deep black soils) and associated
constructed by using low cost method that soils (70%). Moderate deep-to-deep soils are
uses sand filled bags stacked into a cov- found in the valley, while shallow to medium
ering of iron wire net. On the upstream deep soils are on the escarpments. The shallow
and down stream sides of the embankment, soils are severely degraded, while the deep
boulders (locally available material) were soils have drainage problems. The dominant
used for protecting the structure. All the kharif (monsoon season) crops are sorghum,
bunds were designed to impound water cotton and soybean. Chickpea is the main
so as to facilitate increased percolation, as crop grown on residual soil moisture in the
well as to reduce downstream flow veloc- rabi (winter) season.
ity. A series of boulder bunds (16 numbers)
without masonry were constructed across Results
the nallah to check the gradient.
Increased Water Levels in Wells
Heavy seepage through the embankments On the basis of the data collected from ob-
of the percolation tanks was arrested servation wells and perception of farmers, it
through low cost stone pitching. A small was found that the water levels rose to the
impervious wall of 50 cm depth, 20 cm top tune of 3 to 8 m in the vicinity of percolation
width and 1:4 upstream slope helped in tanks and 6 to 10 m in the vicinity of nallah


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

bunds. Maximum rise in the water level of protective irrigation was provided at the
wells was observed near WHS 3 as compared early boll development stage.
to others. A total of 23 wells (50 %) were found
to be partly or fully influenced by the water Increased Duration of Water
conservation measures in the watershed. The Availability in Wells
data presented in Table 1 clearly indicate that The duration of water availability was taken
response was quick in showing its effect on as a measure to examine as to how the water
recharge within 10-15 days rainfall. conservation measures helped in improv-
The runoff collected for well recharge from ing the groundwater. Data on the duration
an area of 5.6 ha catchment was 5423 m3 . of water availability in a number of wells
Well-recharged water was used for giving i.e., number of months in a year was col-
protective irrigations to the cotton crop. The lected before and after the interventions.
data presented in Table 2 indicate that the Fig. 1 clearly illustrates that the duration of
protective irrigation significantly influenced water availability in the wells was limited
seed cotton yield over the control. Protec- to 3-4 months earlier. After the water con-
tive irrigation at the early boll development servation interventions, it increased to 8-9
stage recorded significantly higher seed cot- months. Due to increased period of water
ton yield compared to furrow irrigation at availability in the wells, the farmers could
0.6 or 0.8 IW/CPE but the yield on par with afford a greater number of irrigations to
two protective irrigations at early flowering crops, especially to the orange crop (Table
and boll development stage. WUE was the 3) than control fields.
maximum in the treatment where only one

Table 1. Rainfall and well water levels (mean of 3 years)

Period Rainfall (mm) Effect of percolation tank Effect of nallah bunding
June-Sept. (Rainy) 442.0 7.2 m 9.9 m
Oct.-Jan. (Post Rainy) 38.7 8.0 m 9.2 m
Feb- May (Summer) 56.5 3.4 m 7.4 m

Table 2. Yield of cotton as influenced by reuse of water harvested through

recharge pond.
Seed cotton Irrigation water WUE
yield (q/ha) applied (mm) (kg mm-1)
Rainfed (90 x 90 cm) (Control) 13.8
Paired row (180 x 60 x 90 cm) planting and irrigation 20.3 50 406
at early boll development stage with harvested water
Paired row planting and irrigation at early flowering 18.7 100 187
and boll development stage with harvested water
Furrow irrigation at 0.6 IW/CPE 18.4 100 184
Furrow irrigation at 0.8 IW/CPE 18.5 100 185
C.D at 5% 1.70 - -


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 3. Effect of nallah bunding and percolation tank on

water resources of watershed
2002-03 2003-04
757 mm 928 mm
No. of Irrigations
18.1.1 Area No. of Area No. of
(acre) Irrigations (acre) Irrigations
Near nallah bunding Citrus 4.5 16-20 4.5 20
Wheat 2.0 4 2.0 4
Gram 1.0 2-3 1.0 -
Near percolation tank Citrus 2.0 18-20 2.0 20
Wheat 2.0 4 2.0 4
Gram 0.5 2-3 0.5 3
Control Citrus 2.0 10 2.0 16
(Rs. 10,000/- spent on deepening Wheat 2.0 2 2.0 3
of wells)
Gram 0.5 - 0.5 -
Average net profit (Rs/ha) due to 8,000 10,000
increased water resources

24-36 hours. After implementation of inter-

ventions, pumping could be done for 1-2
hours before well went dry and it took 18-24
hours to recuperate. This may be attributed
to enhanced groundwater augmentation as
a result of water conservation measures.

Increased Irrigation Area and

Crop Diversification
Sample survey of the selected farmers in the
zone of percolation tank and nallah bunds
Increased Well Yield/Recuperation in Kokarda watershed showed increased
Data with regard to duration of pumping irrigated area (41%) and crop diversifica-
hours before well goes dry and time it takes tion (Fig. 2). Before the intervention, there
to recuperate to the same level were col- was no forage crop grown under irrigated
lected from sample wells. Water yield/recu- condition but now 10 farmers (large and
peration rate before and after interventions medium farmers) grow fodder maize (3 ha),
for different wells indicate that recharge lucerne (1ha) and berseem (1ha) throughout
rate increased by 15-20 per cent. Before the year because of an increased water avail-
intervention, the wells went dry after 1 to ability. Similarly, the number of vegetable
1.5 hrs pumping and got recuperated in crops grown rose from 2 to 5.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• One of the important benefits of the struc-

tures was that the farmers stopped deep-
ening of their wells. Before intervention,
at least one farmer would spend around
Rs.10,000 on deepening of the well every
year. This amount was saved.
• The expenditure incurred was returned
in the very first year.
• In the last four years, no expenditure
has been incurred on deepening of the
Lessons Learnt wells.

• The effects of the structures was seen in • Farmers voluntarily look after the
the 2002 and 2003 as the farmers reported maintenance and contribute physical
satisfactory water levels in the wells. labour.

• The increased area in the rabi also indi-

cates the effect of these structures de- References
spite a drought year (2003) (65 % normal Convway GR. (1985) Agro-ecosystem
rainfall). Analysis. Agricultural Administration.
• Another advantage reported by the 20 (1):31.
downstream farmers was that the struc- Velayutham M, Mandal DK, Mandal C
tures have diminished the flooding of and Sehgal J. (1999) Agro-Ecological Sub
their fields during heavy spells of rain- regions of India for Planning and Develop-
fall. These farmers reported higher pro- ment. NBSS& LUP, Nagpur, 452p.


Water Harvesting and Recycling Technology for
Sustainable Agriculture in Vertisols with high Rainfall
DM Bhandarkar
Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CIAE), Bhopal

Abstract Due to geographical limitations only about

Case study on water harvesting and it’s 890 bcm of surface water can be utilized
reuse is presented for Central India. The in addition to 423 bcm of replenishable
economic analysis of pond as the source of groundwater.
irrigation water for the kharif paddy crop Madhya Pradesh in spite of all its sources
(30 ha) and rabi wheat (24 ha) and chickpea remains a state of developmental paradoxes.
(16 ha) cropping sequence was worked out Of a gross cropped area of 26.126 (1998-99)
The cost of pond including associated struc- million ha of agricultural land, only 4.918
tures and irrigation grid system including million ha have some kind of assured irriga-
pump house has been considered for the tion and out of a net cropped area of 19.954
calculation of benefit cost ratio. The benefit (1998-99) million ha only 6.172 (1998-99) mil-
cost ratio works out to be 2.03, considering lion ha are actually double cropped. Yet, the
the total benefit and cost under irrigated state remains the source for all the major
condition. From the foregoing discussions, river systems of central India receiving an
it can be concluded that the technology average rainfall of 1150 mm annually. With
of water harvesting pond is feasible and most agriculture falling in the rainfed cat-
economically viable in black soil areas with egory, the incidence of drought has become
high rainfall for stabilizing the agricultural a more or less perpetual feature. During the
production last two decades, droughts have occurred
almost every year in one part or the other
Introduction in India, of them widespread were during
1965-66, 1972-73, 1979-80, 1985-86 and 2000-
Nearly a billion people in the world do not
01. As many as 14 districts of the state are
have access to clean drinking water. If we
classified as semi-arid and another 21 as dry
do not care, then the number of those who
sub-humid, while almost 80 per sent of total
would be badly in need of potable water
cropped area is classifiable as belonging to
could swell to a mind- boggling 2.5 billion
the rainfed category. Added to this is the
in just 25 years and more shockingly, the
relentless and rapid depletion of the natural
majority of these people would be in In-
resource base in the form of groundwater,
dia. The center and states alone cannot be
soil and vegetative cover as the pressure
expected to tackle the problem, which calls
on them mounts.
for peoples’ participation in tackling water
scarcity. India receives about 4000 billion
cubic meters (bcm) of rainfall every year of Need for Improved Technology
which 1869 bcm flows off as average annual Unplanned plundering, thoughtless pillage,
runoff in the various rivers of the country. ravenous devastating destruction and ruin-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ous selfish exploitation of natural resources water harvesting and recycling. The state
degraded the lands, dwindled the avail- is having shallow and medium black soils
ability of water resources and erased the on 3.06 m.ha (6.91%), deep medium black
greenery. The gloomy status coupled with soils on 16.21 m.ha (36.53%) and mixed red
drought conditions, have their interactive, and black soils area 8.11 m.ha (18.30%).The
negative influence on the environment. The water harvesting technology developed at
crisis in India is more due to the misuse of CIAE, Bhopal is suitable for deep medium
natural resources like soil, water and forests, black soils of Madhya Pradesh. However
than due to industrialization. Present pace soil and water conservation technology
in progress, especially in growing greenery is highly location specific and a guideline
with watershed concept is insufficient to based on detailed needs to be carried out
yield enough corrective results as the an- region-wise in the state.
nual area brought under greening is less
than the area eroded. It is definitely high
time to stall the impending famine with Soils
determination. The blackish clayed soils of CIAE farm are
dark coloured Vertisols silty clay to clay in
Immediate hastening of the efforts is war- texture with depth greater than one m.
ranted for preserving the meager dense Three soil series namely, Nabi Bagh - 1
greens, maintaining good lands, improving (49.1 ha) Nabi Bagh-2 (4.4 ha) and Lam-
bad conditions and restoring green foliage bakheda (10.5 ha) have been identified and
through scientific, integrated management. physico-chemical properties of these soils
Watershed management concept, imple- have been studied.
mented on war footing, should help the
country in not only reversing the trends, As per the textural analysis, soils have 7%
but also reviving the good environment gravel, 15% sand, 2% coarse, 13% fine, 31%
through modern but simple, technical, silt and 55% clay. The structural class of the
appropriate, economical and feasible mea- soils is sub angular blocky. Bulk density is
sures. 1.84g/cc and bearing capacity of soil is 11
t/m2. Soil depth is 2.4 m. Field capacity is
A major part of the Indian agriculture 30.86% and wilting point 19.22%. The avail-
mainly depends upon rainfall, which is able water is 21 cm/100 cm of soil depth.
both inadequate and uncertain. The agro- Average infiltration rate on prolonged wet-
climatic regions and crop zones in Madhya ting is 10 mm/h. The hydraulic conductivity
Pradesh including Chhatisgarh (Table-1) of soil is 23 cm/day at 0 to 40 cm depth
indicate that the rainfall varies from 800 and its value is 1.27 cm/day at 0 to 180 cm
to1600mm per annum and there is very depth. Drainable porosity is 7%. The pecu-
good potential for rainwater harvesting and liar trend of hydraulic conductivity and low
recycling for stable agricultural production. value of drainable porosity poses drainage
However, the total food grain production problems in these soils. The pH of soil is 8.0
is 1097kg ha-1 as compared to all India pro- (slightly alkaline). Organic carbon is 0.48%.
duction of 1620 kg ha-1 (1999-2000). Madhya Exchangeable cations of Ca, Mg, Na, and
Pradesh being blessed with very good land K are 31.23, 8.39, 0.864 and 0.511 Meq/100
and water resources, has potential for in- gm of soil respectively and cation exchange
creasing the productivity of land through capacity of soil is 49 meq/100 gm.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Rainfall Analysis based on the results from two river basins in

The area receives an average annual rainfall Madhya Pradesh is given in Table 3. Runoff
of 1200 mm (at Bhopal), 90 per cent of which was reported to be 63 per cent (943mm) of
is received during June through September monsoon rainfall (1488mm) or 57 per cent of
as torrential monsoon showers. There is late annual rainfall (1653mm) and same percent-
onset of monsoon, which recedes early, and age was adopted here (as shown in SI. No.
the rabi crops are not sown in time. During 12). This is based on the report of Betwa
winter the probability (at 75% chance) of Command Area (CGWB, 1981).
getting rain is 33mm only, which is meager. The average annual rainfall data of 50 years
Analysis of the 50 years data shows that at Bairagarh/CIAE, Bhopal, was classified
there is probability of drought occurrence into 14 groups and the runoff was estimated
is one in every 5 or 6 years. (as shown in Table 3). The probability of
The conclusions drawn based on analysis occurrence of annual runoff was calculated
of 50 years of rainfall are: the probability of using Weibulls equation for different pe-
getting average annual rainfall (1210 mm) riod and plotted in Fig. 1, which shows that
is 40 per cent. Table 2 shows probability of probability of occurrence of 350 to 400mm
rainfall for the log normal distribution. The runoff is 80 to 75 per cent, respectively. The
onset and withdrawal of monsoon is on 25th runoff event mostly occurs during July and
and 37th weeks, respectively. The 24th and 25th August. On an average, seven to eight rain
weeks can safely be utilized for dry sowing storms occur during normal years, which
and 25th and 26th weeks for normal sowing can produce runoff.
after the onset of monsoon. First inter-culture
operation can be performed during 29th, 30th The Design and Construction
and 31st week and second during 33rd week. of Farm Pond
Waterlogging may occur during 32nd and 35th
Two dugout farm ponds of 2.54 ha-m and
weeks. There is some risk in taking rabi crop
12 ha-m capacity were constructed at CIAE
after the kharif harvest under rained condi-
farm. The area of farm is 93 ha. The design
tion. Rabi crops can be established in time
of farm pond can be divided into: (i) design
with supplemental irrigation (recycling runoff
of pond capacity based on the total loss and
water) if the winter rains are delayed. The
gain basis (ii) estimating the volume of an
little rainfall received during January and Feb-
excavated pond, (iii) spillway design and inlet
ruary helps in the survival of the rabi crops.
design. The relationship given as followed by
Rainfall harvesting and recycling is of utmost
Krimgold between the various hydrological
importance during kharif for timely transplant-
factors and the dimensions obtained was used
ing of rice and irrigating rice and soybean in
in the design of farm pond.
the latter stage of crops in case of early with-
drawal of monsoon and pre-sowing irrigation RA + P - ( E +U + S ) = d + W
and at least two irrigation one at crown root a a a
initiation and flowering stage one needed to where
stabilize wheat productivity.
A= the size of watershed area draining into
pond, one to six ha.
Runoff Estimation R= total runoff from the contributing
Binnie’s percentage of rainfall as runoff drainage area per ha during the period


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

under consideration (July to Sept.) 0.3 a = Lb + (bz + Lz) d2 + (2z2) d2 X 10-4

ha-m (Fig.1) where
P= Precipitation falling on the reservoir a = mean surface area of pond, ha
during the period irrespective of L = length at the bottom of pond, m
whether or not it produces surface
runoff from the drainage area, 0.92m
b = breadth at the bottom of pond, m
(calculated from 10 years data of rainfall z = side slope of bund (u/s)
at 50% probability level for the period
under consideration). Recycling of Stored Water in
U= amount of water used during the period kharif and rabi Season
under consideration, 0.2 ha-m per ha for
rice crop (two irrigations or assumed When to Irrigate
to be nil)
The monthly water deficits and surpluses
S= seepage during July to September, 0.3 were determined for a better understand-
m (based on observations at CIAE, ing of irrigation water requirement of crop.
Bhopal) It was found that only three months in a
year July, August and September- are with
E= evaporation from pond water surface
surplus water and rest of the months are
(July to September) 0.29m(estimated
with deficit and irrigation water has to be
from pan evaporation data at CIAE,
supplied to meet the crop water demand
during these months.
d= depth of water in the pond, assumed
2,3 and 4 m. How much to Irrigate
W= amount of water in excess of the The studies on soil moisture regime indi-
capacity of the reservoir which is cates that the top layer (0-15cm) was below
wasted over the spillway, ha-m. This wilting point during the critical growing
factor was assumed to be nil, since pond period of the rabi crop after harvest of the
is being designed for 75 to 80 per cent kharif crop. The moisture is available be-
expected runoff. low 30cm soil depth and there is no such
equipment available to sow the crop in the
moist zone. The only solution for timely
establishment of the rabi crops is to have
a pre-sowing irrigation. About 100 mm per
month irrigation is required. Table-4 gives
water requirement of crops and their ir-
rigation needs.

Water Utilization Studies

The maximum storage capacity of pond was
2.54 ha-m with water submergence area of
1.3 ha. The maximum head of water was
3.0 m at full capacity of pond. The irriga-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

tion was given to kharif crop (rice) and rabi cent when irrigated once at CRI, twice at
crop (wheat and chickpea) in the vicinity pre-sowing + CRI and thrice at per-sowing
of pond. The loss through evaporation and + CRI+ flowering stage. Similarly, grain
seepage varied from 38 to 68 per cent of yields of chickpea, linseed and safflower
stored water depending on storage time of were increased by 90, 56 and 51 per cent
3.5 to 6.5 months. Water which was utilized with two irrigations at pre-sowing start,
in kharif for transplanting of rice was refilled which is most essential to rabi crops in the
(36.16 to 8.4 per cent of stored water) de- event of early withdrawal of monsoon and
pending on rains. Water utilized was 69 per insufficient storage of residual moisture in
cent of the stored water. About 1.5 ha was the soil after the harvest of kharif crops and
irrigated during kharif and 6 to 7 ha during delayed winter rains.
rabi from the pond (2.54 ha m). Based on
this study, the area of submergence as af- It was further observed that the applica-
fected by watershed area and pond depth tion of nitrogen fertilizer along with the
is given in Fig. 2 and command area of life saving irrigation to crops like chickpea,
pond is given in Fig 3. linseed and safflower (Table 6 & 7) gave a
good boost to crop productivity in this area.
The Results of the Studies on The mean increment in grain yield of the
irrigated chickpea with 10 and 20kg.N/ha
Water Recycling
was 5.0 and 6.6 q/ha over no N. In linseed
The results of the studies on recycling of the the response to N in the presence of irri-
runoff water for the kharif and rabi (Table gation at 40 and 80 kg. N/ha over control
5) showed that one and two irrigations at was 2.0 and 3.0 q/ha. For same N levels,
transplanting and grain filling stages to the response for safflower was 2.6, 4.4 and
rainfed rice increased the grain yield by 6.4 q/ha with 30, 60 and 90 kg N/ha, re-
44 and 90 per cent, respectively over no spectively over control. This showed that
irrigation. For soybean, one life saving ir- for harvesting maximum benefit from the
rigation at grain filling stage in the years limited irrigation potential, the N fertiliza-
of early withdrawal of the monsoon could tion should be increased at matching rate
raise the yield by 45 per cent, and for wheat in order to meet the increased nutritional
the yield was raised by 43, 78 and 100 per demand of the crop.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Economics of Water Harvesting high rainfall for stabilizing the agricultural

Pond production.
The economic analysis of pond as the source
of irrigation water for the kharif paddy crop Conclusions &
(30 ha) and rabi wheat (24 ha) and chick- Recommendations
pea (16 ha) cropping sequence was worked
out. It is not possible to cultivate 30 ha of • Water harvesting pond should be con-
paddy in present situation, however, for structed in 10-12 per cent of the water-
general recommendation the growing of shed area with 3m depth.
paddy under irrigated condition has been • The minimum runoff received is about
suggested under kharif season. The cost of 300 mm to fill up the pond every
pond including associated structures and ir- year.
rigation grid system including pump house
has been considered for the calculation of • About 60 to 70% of the stored water can
benefit cost ratio. Considering additional be utilised for irrigating crops.
benefit obtained through irrigation net ben- • Entire kharif and 50% of the rabi crop
efit ratio works out to be 1.13. The benefit (of the watershed area) can be irrigated
cost ratio works out to be 2.03, considering twice with two fold increase in yield.
the total benefit and cost under irrigated
condition. From the foregoing discussions, • Groundwater recharge through pond is
it can be concluded that the technology 0.8 to 1.2 ha –m/ ha
of water harvesting pond is feasible and • Water harvesting is technically feasible
economically viable in black soil areas with and economically viable (Benefit cost
1.3 – 2.0) and socially acceptable.

Table 1. Agro-Climatic Region & Crop Zones in M.P. including Chhattisgarh

Agro-climatic Rainfall Partly Covered
Zone / Crop Soil Type Districts Covered
Regions Range, mm Districts
1. Rice Chhattisgarh Red & Yellow 1200 to 1600 Raipur, Durg, Raigarh: Raigarh,
plains including (Medium) Rajnandgaon, Kharsia, Gharghoda,
Balaghat Bilaspur Leloonga & Sarangar
Tehsils Kanker: Kanker
& Narharpur Tehsisls
-do- Baster Plateau -do- 1400 to 1600 Entire Bastar District
Except Kanker &
Narharpur Tehsils.
-do- Northern Hill Red & Yellow 1200 to 1600 Surguja, Raigarh: Dharamjaigarh
Region of Medium black & Shahdol, Mandla, Tehsil. Sidhi:Singroli
Chhattis garh skeltal Medium/ Jashpurnagar Tehsil (Bedhan),
2. Wheat - Kymore Plateau Mixed red and 1000 to 1400 Rewa, Satna, Panna, Katni Tehsil,
Rice & Satpura Hills black soils Seoni, Sidhi (except Katni (except Katni
(Medium) Singroli tehsil of Tehsil)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Agro-climatic Rainfall Partly Covered

Zone / Crop Soil Type Districts Covered
Regions Range, mm Districts
3. Wheat Central Deep black 1200 to 1600 Narsinghpur, Sehore: Budni Tehsil.
Narmada Valley (deep) Hoshangabad Raisen:Bareli Tehsil.
-do- Vindhya Medium black 1200 to 1400 Bhopal, Sagar, Guna: Chanchoda,
Plateau deep black Damoh, Vidisha, Raghogarh & Aron
(Medium/ Heavy) Raisen (except Tehsils
Bareli), Sehore
4. Wheat- Gird Region Alluvial (Light) 800 to 1000 Gwalior, Bhind,
Jowar Morena, Sheopur-
Kala, Shivpuri,
(except Pirchore.
Karera, Narwar,
Guna (except
Aron. Raghogarh,
Chachoda Tehsil)
Wheat -Jowar Bundelkhand Mixed red and 800 to 1400 Chhattarpur, Datia, Shivpuri:Karera
black (Medium) Tikamgarh, Betul & Pichhore, Narwar &
Chhindwara Khaniadhana Tehsils,
-do- Satpura Shallow black 1000 to 1200 Betul & Chhindwara
Plateau (Medium)
5 Cotton Malwa Plateau Medium black 800 to 1200 Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar : Dhar, Badnawar
Jowar (Medium) Ujjain, Dewas, & Sardarpur Tehsils.
Indore, Shajapur, Jhabua:Petlawad
Rajgarh Tehsil.
-do- Nimar Plains Medium black 800 to 1100 Khandwa, Khargone Dhar: Matlawar,
(Medium) Dhampuri &
Gandhawani Tehsils
-do- Jhabua Hills Medium black 800-1000 Jhabua District. Dhar : Only Kukshi
skeletal (Light / (except Petlawad Tehsil.
Medium) Tehsil)

Table 2. Probability of rainfall (mm) for log normal distributions

Recurrence interval (years) Per cent chance Rainfall (mm)
1.25 80 738
2.00 50 1075
2.5 40 1210
5.00 20 1600


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 3. Annual rainfall and runoff at Bairagarh + CIAE Bhopal based

on Binnie’s percentage
S.No. Rainfall class Frequency in Runoff Runoff Weighted runoff
value 50 years Per cent mm mm
1 550 2 18 198 99
2 650 2 23 299 149
3 750 1 27 202 202
4 850 4 31 1054 263
5 950 4 36 1368 342
6 1050 7 39 2866 409
7 1150 5 42 2415 483
8 1250 4 45 2250 562
9 1350 7 48 4536 648
10 1450 5 51 3697 739
11 1550 3 54 2511 837
12 1650 *
2 57 1881 940
13 1750 3 60 3150 1050
14 1850 1 63 1165 1165
15 Total 50 27594 551

Table 4. Water utilization studies of pond

SI.No Particulars Year of Study
First Second
1 Maximum storage capacity, m3 20125 23345
2 Dead storage, m 3
20 412
3 Maximum storage depth m 2.8 3.0
4 I. Water lost, m3 13596 8540
II As percentage of total storage 67.62 37.25
5 I Water pumped, cum 13781 15905
II As percentage of total storage 68.54 69.35
6 Water refilled during kharif 36.16 8.4
(As percentage of total storage)
7 Water storage Duration month 6.5 3.5
8 Water applied
(a) kharif, ha-m 32.8 62.25
(b) rabi, ha-m 105.0 96.80
9 Area irrigated
(a) kharif, ha, Rice 1.6 (twice) 1.5 (four times)
(b) rabi, ha , Wheat & chick pea 6.5 (twice) 7.0 (Once)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 5. Effect of supplementary irrigation on grain yield (t ha-1)

of rice, soybean and wheat
Stage of Irrigation Rice Soybean Wheat
No Irrigation 1.8 1.6 1.6
Transplanting (T) 2.5 - -
Grain filling 2.3 2.3 -
T + Grain filling 33.5 - -
Pre-sowing (PS) - - 22.1
CRI - - 22.6
PS+CRI - - 28.2
CRI + Flowering (F) - - 26.5
PS+CRI+F - - 31.4
C.D. (5%) 2.9 2.22 3.12

Table 6. Effect of supplementary irrigation on grain yield (t ha-1) of Chickpea,

linseed and safflower
Stage of Irrigation Chickpea Linseed Safflower
No Irrigation 1.3 0.9 1.2
Pre-sowing (PS) 2.1 1.0 1.5
PS+Flowering (F) 2.4 1.3 1.7
PS+Pod filling 2.5 1.4 1.7
PS+F+Pod filling 2.7 1.5 1.9
C.D. (5%) 0.13 0.04 0.12

Table 7. Effect of supplementary irrigation and nitrogen on grain yield (t ha-1)

Irrigation Chickpea Linseed Safflower
N (kg/ha 0 10 20 0 40 80 0 30 60 90
No Irrigation (control) 1.0 1.2 1.4 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.3
Pre-sowing irrigation only 1.6 1.9 2.0 0.8 0.9 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8
Pre-sowing + Flowering 1.9 2.2 2.4 1.0 1.2 1.2 1.4 1.7 1.8 2.1
Pre-sowing +Pod filling 2.0 2.3 2.5 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.7 1.9
Pre-sowing + Flowering + 2.1 2.6 2.8 1.1 1.4 1.6 1.5 1.8 2.1 2.3
pod filling
Mean for Irrigation 1.7 2.2 2.4 1.0 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0
C.D. (5%)irrigation 0.13 0.07 0.12
C.D. (5%)Nitrogen 0.14 0.03 0.05
Irrigation X N 0.23 0.04 0.07


Use of Water Harvesting Tanks in Black Soils of
Malwa Region– A Case Study
DH Ranade
Operational Research Project on Dryland Agriculture, College of Agriculture,
JNKVV Campus, Indore, Madhya Pradesh

Abstract the tanks can be constructed in the farm-

Though construction of tanks has been ad- ers fields (i) excavated tanks suited for flat
vocated by the various workers for storing topography and (ii) excavated cum embank-
runoff water at suitable places in farmers’ ment type tanks particularly in degraded
fields, not much information is available on or gullied portion. In the first case, the
the economic aspect of tank construction. In provision of inlet in structural form is not
the present study, various tanks of differ- required as flow enters through entire width
ent shapes and sizes have been constructed of the tank. Even for the outlet, the provision
in the farmers’ fields using various heavy of the spillway in the form of temporary
earth moving machineries. It was observed mechanical structure is sufficient, as excess
that the initial cost of construction in the water drains off safely and not exerts much
case of excavated cum embankment type pressure on the structure. However, in the
of tank with suitable gabion outlet remain second case, the construction of water har-
is always lower than the excavated tanks. vesting structure (tanks) requires provision
Even with backhoe loader machines (JCB), of inlet and particularly outlet in the absence
circular shaped tanks can be constructed of which the stored water may not be re-
which having geometrical advantage over tained as flowing water develops gullies
tanks of other shapes. (Singh, 1983). Thus in the second condition,
it is presumed that the initial cost of the
tank would be higher. However no infor-
Introduction mation particularly for the black clay soil
In the Malwa region, crop productivity suf- region is available on economic aspects of
fers mainly on account of moisture stress these tanks. Keeping this point in view, the
during prolonged dry spells after the sowing present study has been carried out during
of the kharif crops especially during the ter- 2005-06 in various villages of Indore district
mination of the monsoon rains. Thus even of the Malwa region.
during monsoon, crops need life saving ir-
rigation. In this region, the runoff poten- Material and Methods
tial is very high and if this excess water is
suitability harvested, it could be used for Preliminary Studies
irrigating the kharif and rabi crops (Ranade et Before the start of the actual work, a study
al. 1996). Similarly, various research workers was carried out to find the suitable material
advocated water harvesting and recycling for the construction of outlet of the tank
for dryland crops (Narayan et al.1988 and so that the tanks constructed in the gul-
Mishra et al.1998). In the Malwa region, lied portions work satisfactorily without any
the topography is such that two types of structural or mechanical failure particularly


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

at the outlet. For this purpose, various obser- 2. Gabion structures should be
vations were made on the performance of constructed in a fairly reasonable
various structures constructed under vari- uniform section of gully instead of
ous schemes in the region. narrow section.

It was observed that the gabions serving 3. In the black soil region, the gabion
as outlet (in the tanks constructed in the structure can be provided in the form
village Hingonia and Pipliyatapha during of outlet in water harvesting tank very
1990-91 constructed under Operational Re- safely.
search Project on Dry Land Agriculture, 4. Thus gabions are cheaper and very
College of Agriculture, Indore) are working effective structure, which can be
quite satisfactorily. The outlets are retain- adopted in this region.
ing water on upstream side and draining
only excess water from the crest portion Thus, in the present study, the use of ma-
even after fifteen years. Similarly the gabion sonary structure was discouraged and a
outlet of water harvesting tank constructed suitable flexible, cheaper and effective alter-
at College of Agriculture, Indore campus native gabion structure was constructed by
during the year 2000, has been observed the farmers themselves under the technical
to be working satisfactorily without any guidance of project team.
structural/ hydraulic failure. On the other
hand, it has been observed that at many a Site Selections for the
places, the concrete structures left the posi- Construction of Various Tanks
tions and allowed the water to run down under the Scheme
in the other direction. In most of the cases,
Before the start of actual project work in
structural and mechanical failures in these
2005, a few probable sites particularly in the
concrete structures have been observed.
farmers cultivated fields for the construc-
tion of excavated water harvesting tanks,
Results and Discussions were selected after assessing various hydro-
This shows that rather than concrete struc- geo-morphological characteristics of the each
tures gabion can withstand the swelling and micro-watershed. Reconnaissance survey and
shrinkage of black clay soil. Therefore, suffi- transect walk of the watersheds was carried
cient evidences are available through which out for this purpose. Based on the survey and
it can be recommended that in black soil the observations made, a few suitable sites
region gabion structure can be provided were identified keeping in view the probable
in the form of outlet in water harvesting size, shape, catchment area, command area
tank. Thus gabions are cheaper and very and provision of inlet/outlet.
effective structure, which can be adopted Similarly, one extra suitable site for the con-
in this region. struction of excavated cum embankment
From the above studies, it is emerged that type water harvesting tank with suitable
outlet was also selected. The following
1. Rather than concrete structures, points were considered while selecting the
gabion can withstand the swelling gullies for the studies:
and shrinkage nature of black clay
• No abrupt change in the bed slope;


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• Less rocky outcrop; construction of excavated water harvesting

• Less spur and molds, maundering; tanks in the farmer’s fields itself. The sites
were selected in the natural drainage lines
• Less scour holes in the gully; existing in the farmers’ fields in such a
• Easy accessibility to the site to increase way that these receive maximum runoff
its demonstrative value; from the farmer’s field and other adjoining
• Depth of the gully; and areas. Before the actual digging of the tank
area, the contour map of the proposed site
• Catchment with cultivated fields, which was prepared. Based on contour map, the
are affected due to deepening and wid- estimation for the total earthworks involved
ening of the gullies; and was calculated and dimensions of the tank
• Sufficient run off gully that can accom- were decided.
modate structures within it.
Construction of Excavated
Soil Profile Survey cum Embankment Type Water
After the selection of sites from hydrologi- Harvesting Tanks
cal point of view, detailed depth wise soil
In this case, a gullied wasteland portion in
analysis of the probable sites was carried
the farmer’s field was selected with a view
out in order to select suitable sites where
to create water harvesting tank for storing
the runoff water can be collected for longer
runoff water in the tank and for providing
time without any appreciable loss of the
irrigation to adjoining cultivated fields. The
stored water due to percolation.
detailed topographical survey was carried out
The soils at the sites are clayey in nature. and estimation for the earthwork was made.
Since it is a heavy deep clayey soil with While construction of this type of tanks, gener-
very low permeability, there are chances ally tank boundaries are fixed first and then
that water would retain in the tanks for deepening of tank area is carried out.
longer time, which would be made avail-
Similarly, an earthen embankment is also
able for irrigating the crops in the adjoin-
required to create of the earthen dam to
ing fields.
plug the gully and to store the runoff water
After the site selection, the construction work at the upstream site. Since the area receives
of all the proposed tanks was taken up one a huge amount of runoff, the provision of
by one during the first week of April 2005 outlet was also very essential to drain out
by engaging heavy earth moving machiner- excess water through the spillway without
ies viz. crawler tractor (bulldozer) back-hoe– causing any damage to the earthen embank-
loader machines (JCB) for excavation and ment and adjoining fields. For this purpose,
dumpers, tractor trolleys for transporting and the construction of outlet and excavation of
spreading the excavated soils. tank area was carried out simultaneously.

Construction of Excavated Type Construction of Various Tanks

Water Harvesting Tanks under the Scheme
Based on the requirement of the technical As already mentioned, during the study
program and the objectives of the project, period (2005-2006), the following types of
two suitable sites were finalized for the tanks have been constructed under the


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

scheme: bankment type of water harvesting tank.

• Construction of seven excavated type of The details of these tanks are given in Tables
water harvesting tanks. 1 and 2.
• Construction of one excavated cum em-

Table 1. Particulars of various tanks constructed in the year 2005

Particular Manohar Abhyankar Prasanna Sandeep
Type of tank Excavated cum
Excavated Excavated Excavated
Length (m) 206 84 56 50
Width (m) 35 49 48 40
Maximum depth (m) 3.3 2.1 3.0 3.0
Storage capacity (cu.m.) 7458 2723 2938 3055
Shape of the Tank Rectangular Rectangular Rectangular Rectangular
Land use Waste/gully portion Cultivated Cultivated Cultivated
Outlet Gabion Natural Natural Natural
Cost of construction (Rs) 263000 200000 161820 161100
Year of construction 2005 2005 2005 2005
Cost of creating 1 ha cm of 3526 7345 5507 5273
storage capacity (Rs)
Heavy machines used JCB, Bulldozer JCB, JCB JCB

Table 2. Particulars of various tanks constructed in the year 2006

Devendra Chain Singh Dharmendra Gajendra
Type of tank Excavated Excavated Excavated Excavated
Length (m) -- 59.3 -- 48
Width (m) -- 22.5 -- 48
Radius (m) 26.8 -- 27.2 --
Maximum depth (m) 3.0 1.897 2.0 2.0
Storage capacity (m3) 7338 2396 4623 4886
Shape of the Tank Circular Rectangular Circular Square
Land use Cultivated Cultivated Cultivated Cultivated
Outlet Gabion Natural Natural Natural
Cost of construction (Rs) 306830 151875 161805 181010
Year of construction 2006 2006 2006 2006
Cost of creating 1 ha cm of 4181 6338 3500 3704
storage capacity (Rs)
Heavy machines used JCB JCB JCB JCB


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

It is clear from the data Tables 1 and 2 that ter conservation but also they are sharing
during 2005-06, eight tanks of varying sizes even their cultivated portions of the land.
and shapes have been constructed. For the This is certainly an evidence of change in
construction of tanks waste portion as well their mindset and attitude otherwise earlier
as cultivated portion/land have been uti- they (villagers) were ready to provide only
lized. It is very clear that farmers are not community land /government land for the
only convinced with the technology for wa- creation of water bodies.

Before construction of Abhyankar tank Use of JCB Machine

Use of Bulldozer During rainy season

Before construction of Manohar tank Use of Bulldozer


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Use of JCB During rainy season

Gabion outlet Overflow from Gabion outlet

Out of these eight tanks, one was construct- 1 cum of water worked out to be Rs. 35/- in
ed in a gullied portion using bulldozers and case of excavated cum embankment type
JCB machines. Bulldozer was engaged to tank. On the other hand the cost of 1 cum
make the tank boundary, shaping of tank water varies from Rs. 35/- to 73/- depend-
area, construction of earthen /embankment ing upon the soil type and location of the
tanks. JCB machines are taking for the tank excavated type tanks. It is also observed
area. At the same time a huge gabion struc- that the highest cost involvement was in
ture in form of outlet was constructed at the the Abhayankar tank. This is mainly due
foot of these gully where it runs on to stable to involvement of bulldozer machine for
gradient. However, no separate outlets were deciding the boundary in this tank area.
made in the remaining seven tanks, as these However in this type of tanks, bulldozers
tanks are excavated tanks constructed on are not required as only JCB machines can
natural drainage lines, thus providing safe create storage area. Thus, it is recommended
disposal of the excess runoff. The cost of that for the construction of water harvesting
creating 1 ha-cm of storage capacity for each tanks in the Malwa region, priority should
tank has also been worked out. It is evident be given to the gullied portion where tanks
that the cost of construction of excavated can be created with suitable gabion outlet
cum embankment type tank is lower than as the initial cost of the tank remains lower
that of the excavated tanks. Thus the cost of than the excavated tank. Similarly, for the


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

excavated tanks, back-hoe-loader machine nomically feasible water harvesting tanks

(JCB) should be utilized instead of bull- in Malwa region” and for providing the
dozer machine. However, one advantage opportunity to work on these very impor-
of excavated tanks over the excavated cum tant aspects of soil and water conservation
embankment tanks is that much more soil in Malwa region.
is available for spreading over the undu-
lating fields making them suitable for cul-
tivation. References
Mishra PK, Rama Rao CA and Shiv Prasad
Similarly, with the JCB Machine, square, S. (1998) Economic evaluation of farm
rectangular and even circular tanks can be pond in a micro watershed in semi arid
constructed without any difficulty, which alfisol Deccan Plateau. Indian Journal of
is otherwise very difficult to construct a Soil Conservation 26 (1): 59-60.
curved shaped tank. It is also to be noted
that the circular tanks have geometrical ad- Narayan HC, Itnal CJ, Gopalakrishnan,
vantage as they have the highest storage Hebber B and Patil VS. (1988) An evalu-
capacity and least circumferential length ation of supplemental irrigation through
for a given surface area and side slopes. farm pond on drylands. Indian Journal
Therefore, it is concluded that despite the of Soil Conservation 15 (1): 1-6.
provision of outlet in the tanks constructed Ranade DH, Gupta Ram K and Patel AN.
in the gullied portion, the cost involvement (1996) Predicting runoff from Vertisols
is always lower than the excavated tank. of Malwa region. Crop Research 11 (1):
Acknowledgement Singh RP. (1983) Farm ponds. Project Bul-
The authors are very much thankful to letin No. 6, All India Coordinated Re-
the ICAR for sanctioning adhoc scheme search Project for Dryland Agriculture,
on “Rainwater management through eco- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.


Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood
Enhancement through Rain Water Harvesting in
Vertisols of Adilabad District: A Case Study
M Osman, S Dixit, Shaik Haffis, G Ravindra Chary and G Samuel
Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad
Krishi Vignan Kendra (KVK), ANGRAU, Adilabad

Extended Abstract acre land was worked out to be Rs. 23,600/-.

Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh is The picking of tomatoes occupied a lion’s
known for the highest cover under forest share of total cost of cultivation, which ac-
(50%) and high rainfall. The district has an counted for (34%) followed by watch and
average annual rainfall of 1050 mm received ward (25%), transportation (11%), irrigation
mostly through south west monsoon (80%). (10%) and transplantation (8%). The gross
The area has undulating topography and returns accrued from the production of 4460
mostly inhabited by Gond tribe. There is kg tomatoes from 27 pickings in 0.5 acre
a high potential for rainwater harvesting land was found to be Rs. 1,30,450/-. The
and recycling. Small dugouts created as price ranged from as high as Rs. 40/- per
farm ponds earlier in the watershed and kg to as low as Rs. 15/kg from September
National Rural Employment Guarantee to December, 2008. The benefit-cost ratios
(NREGS) scheme didn’t enthuse the farm- (BCRs) based on the total cost of cultiva-
ing community as the water was retained tion of tomatoes and based on total cost
for a very short period and was found to of cultivation of tomatoes including cost
be of little use. An attempt was made to un- of pond were calculated as 5.53 and 2.23,
dertake the participatory situation analysis respectively (Table 1).
by convincing the farming community to This indicates that on every rupee invest-
go for a large structure with higher depth. ment made on cultivating tomatoes in 0.5
A farm pond of 900m3 capacity having a acre land paid a rich dividend of rupees 5.53
dimension of 17m x 17 m top, 13 m x 13 on the one side and Rs. 2.23 by covering
m bottom and 4.5 m depth, was dug out the cost of the pond in one season, on the
during the mid-July 2008 under NAIP on other side revealing a higher impact of the
a pilot basis. The pilot farm belongs to Mr. farm pond. The case study has come out
Nam Dev. The farm pond got filled dur- with conclusive evidence of livelihood im-
ing the first week of August and the water provement in terms of five capital formation
was retained even after use till the end of namely natural, social, human, financial and
February 2009. The project met the cost of physical of the farmer, Mr. Namdev, belong-
digging, while the farmer with ITK ventured ing to the village Garkampet, Seethagondi
to go for the diesel pump set for lifting of Gram Panchayat in Gudihatnoor mandal of
water and pipeline for irrigating tomato on Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh.
a half-acre plot as his contribution.
The response of tribal population who
The total cost of cultivation of tomatoes in 0.5 were earlier reluctant is now overwhelm-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 1. Impact of farm pond on net returns accrued from production of tomatoes
(in 0.5 acre land) during 2008
S. No. Particulars Amount (Rs.)
1 Gross returns 1,30,450
2 Total cost of cultivation of crop (a) 23,600
Cost of digging of pond (b) 35000
3 Net returns accrued from production of tomatoes (1-2a) 107,350
Net returns accrued after recovering cost of farm pond [1-2 (a+b)] 72,350
4 BCR based on total cost of cultivation of crop 5.53
BCR based on total cost of cultivation including cost of pond 2.23t

ing and the technology has been up-scaled with NREG within the Gram Panchayat and
to 30 more farmers through participatory also it is being up-scaled by the line depart-
demand-driven approach and convergence ment in the district.


Dugout Farm pond - A Potential Source of Water
Harvesting in Deep Black Soils in Deccan Plateau Region
RN Adhikari, PK Mishra and W Muralidhar
Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute (CSWCRTI)
Research Centre, Bellary, Karnataka

Abstract Benefits of Rainwater

The black soils possess great production Harvesting
potential, but general crop productivity of The Major benefits are:
these soils is poor and unstable due to low
and uncertain rainfall and inefficient crop • To meet water demand for domestic,
management. To improve crop produc- animal and recreational use.
tivity and reduce risk uncertainties, rain • To provide life saving / supplemental
water harvesting through dugout ponds irrigation to crops and plantation
is devised as an efficient tool and a de-
• To augment groundwater recharge
tailed discussion in this regard has been
carried out in this article. The harvested • To improve moisture status of the soil
water can be effectively used to provide profile
life saving irrigation to tide over mois- • To reduce soil erosion
ture stress during critical stages of crop
growth as well as growing of multiple • To help in peak flood retardation
crops around the harvesting structure. • To spray insecticides /pesticides in
This technology proves to help in stabi- crop management.
lizing and supporting a large proportion
of agriculture in the semi arid tropics.
Technology Developed and
Black soils, which constitute 23.1 per cent of
Water harvesting refers to the collection and rainfed lands in India, possess great produc-
storage of rainwater and also other activities tion potential. These soils are generally put
aimed at harvesting surface and groundwa- under cultivation in the winter (post-rainy
ter, prevention of losses through evapora- season) mostly on stored moisture. The an-
tion and seepage and all other hydrologi- nual precipitation in the rabi tracts varies
cal studies and engineering interventions, from 500 to 700 mm. Crop yields are very
aimed at the conservation and efficient uti- poor and unstable due to low and uncertain
lization of the limited water endowment of rainfall and inefficient crop management.
a physiographic unit such as watershed. In Hence, the major task in the region is to
general, water harvesting is the activity of improve production per unit area and re-
direct collection of rainwater. The rainwater duce the risks of uncertainty. This can be
collected can be stored for direct use or can achieved by an effective utilization of the
be recharged into groundwater. natural rainfall, as water deficit is the major


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

constraint in production. To mitigate this • Optimum catchment size for con-

problem, water harvesting through dug- siderable storage for relatively long
out farm ponds in every 10 ha catchment period.
is required to stabilize crop production as
recommended by CSWCRTI, Research Cen- • Well-protected (treated) catchment for
tre, Bellary (Karnataka) (Chittaranjan et al. arresting rapid siltation.
1980). The water harvesting through dug • While deciding the capacity, the con-
out farm pond is a major water harvesting servation measures such as agronomic
structure in the semi-arid black soil region. and mechanical measures are consid-
Therefore, this structure has been discussed ered. The command area near the pond
here in detail. should be free of salinity /alkalinity
and the site should require little or no
Types of Farm Pond land shaping around the pond.
As per the method of construction and their
suitability to different topographic condi- Criteria for the Location of Pond
tions, there are three types of farm ponds. i. Purpose
They are:
• For drinking water, it should be near
1. Excavated farm ponds for flat to village, utmost care is taken to avoid
topography; pollution
2. Excavated cum-embankment ponds in • For supplemental irrigation, the
mild sloping topography ; and pond should be located on a site
3. Embankment farm ponds for hilly and such that it benefits maximum
rugged terrain. number of farmers.

In the black soil regions with flat to mild ii. Location

sloping topography, generally excavated Pond should be located on one side of the
type ponds are more suitable. watercourse to avoid rapid siltation.

iii. Sequence of Soils

Methodology When soils of different permeabilities
Selection of Site occur in a succession like red and black
The selection of a site in a participatory soils or shallow and deep black soils, the
mode depends on: pond should be located in the deep black
soils to avoid pond lining for arresting
• Availability of suitable site for pond seepage.
• Farmers’ willingness to part with a iv. Nature of Sub-soil Strata
portion of the land for pond construc- Ponds in shales, basalt or on shattered rocks
tion and to share harvested water with are likely to lose more water. It is therefore
neighbors. advantageous to know about the nature of
the substrata.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• Purpose for which the pond is created

• Annual water yield
• Storage losses and
• Area considering the volume of silt an-

The pond should be of sufficient capacity

to fully meet the purpose for which it is
created. For water supply, it should meet
the drinking water requirements of the vil-
lage community, cattle, poultry etc. round
the year. In drought prone areas, it should
be able to tide over the successive years of
drought. In case one pond is not sufficient,
required capacity is met by creating more
ponds. If the pond is for supplemental irriga-
tion, the extent of the area to be irrigated, the
estimated deficiency of soil moisture, which
is required to be replenished for optimum
crop yields, the storage losses in the pond,
the efficiency of conveyance and applica-
tion systems. The corrections required for
Figure 1. Line diagram of a typical farm pond
advection effect have to be considered.
showing the location in a field with contour
The capacity of the pond created depends
lines and graded bunds
upon the catchment size and factors affect-
ing its water yield. Water yield from the
Design Criteria of Dugout catchment is a product of the interaction of
Farm Pond effects of the rainfall factors and the phys-
The design of a dug out pond envisages iographic features of the catchment. While
the determination of the design specifica- rainfall amount, intensity and antecedent
tions for precipitation are the climatic factors to be
a. Storage capacity
Soil, topography, land use and surface de-
b. Shape
tention measures such as bunding intensity
c. Dimensions (Depth, Top and bottom etc. are the physiographic features which
widths, side slopes) influence the water yield. Sometimes, the
d. Inlet information on annual runoff (percent avail-
able from a representative research stations)
e. Outlet. (Table 1) can be used to estimate the water
yield. In this context, the following informa-
a. Storage Capacity tion obtained at some research stations for
The capacity of the pond depends on black soils may be useful.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 1. Runoff per cent from different region of black soils

Research station Soil type Runoff per cent
Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Deep black soils 10
Institute, Research Center, Bellary (Karnataka)
Agricultural research station, Hagari (Karnataka) Deep black soils 20
International Crop Research Institute for semi-arid Medium deep 10
Tropics, Hyderabad (A.P.)
Dry land main center, Solapur (Maharastra) Medium deep 15 to 20

b. Shape slopes of 1.5:1 would be sufficient for the

Excavated farm ponds are of two types murrum obtained under the deep black
viz. square and rectangular. However, the soils in this tract.
square pond is most commonly adopted The design detail, construction procedures
having less evaporation and seepage area are as follows.
compared to a rectangular pond and this
is easy to construct. Pond design

c. Dimensions
Side slopes: The side slopes are decided by
the angle repose for the sub-soil. Where
the soils are very deep (more than 90 cm),
the angle of repose for the deep black soils
may also have to be considered. The con-
stant action of standing water may require
relatively flatter side slopes to avoid slip- NB: For square section X = Y
page due to saturation. Generally, the side

Table 2. Dimensions of best section (square) of dugout farm ponds for different design
capacities (V) and depths (D) in black soil with a recommended side slope (Z) of 1.5:1
Design For 2.0 m depth For 2.5 m depth
Capacity Bottom side of Top side of Bottom side of Top side of
(V) square section square section square section square section
cum (X), m (X1), m (X), m (X1), m
500 12.5 18.5 9.9 17.4
750 16.1 22.1 13.2 20.7
1000 19.2 25.2 15.9 23.4
1250 21.8 27.8 18.3 25.8
1500 24.2 30.2 20.5 28.0
1750 26.4 32.4 22.4 29.9
2000 28.5 34.5 24.3 31.8
2250 30.4 36.4 26.0 33.5
2500 32.2 38.2 27.6 35.1


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Design For 2.0 m depth For 2.5 m depth

Capacity Bottom side of Top side of Bottom side of Top side of
(V) square section square section square section square section
cum (X), m (X1), m (X), m (X1), m
2750 34.0 40.0 29.2 36.7
3000 35.6 41.6 30.7 38.2
3250 37.2 43.2 32.1 39.6
3500 38.7 44.7 33.5 41.0
3750 40.2 46.2 34.8 42.3
4000 41.6 47.6 36.1 43.6
4250 43.0 49.0 37.3 44.8
4500 44.3 50.3 38.5 46.0
4750 45.6 51.6 39.7 47.2
5000 46.9 52.9 40.8 48.3
Design For 3.0 m depth For 3.5 m depth
Capacity Bottom side of Top side of Bottom side of Top side of
(V) square section square section square section square section
cum (X), m (X1), m (X), m (X1), m
500 7.6 16.6 5.5 16.0
750 10.7 19.7 8.4 18.9
1000 13.2 22.2 10.8 21.3
1250 15.4 24.4 12.9 23.4
1500 17.4 26.4 14.8 25.3
1750 19.2 28.2 16.5 27.0
2000 20.9 29.9 18.1 28.6
2250 22.5 31.5 19.6 30.1
2500 24.0 33.0 21.0 31.5
2750 25.4 34.4 22.3 32.8
3000 26.8 35.8 23.6 34.1
3250 28.1 37.1 24.8 35.3
3500 29.4 38.4 25.9 36.4
3750 30.6 39.6 27.1 37.6
4000 31.7 40.7 28.1 38.6
4250 32.9 41.9 29.2 39.7
4500 34.0 43.0 30.2 40.7
4750 35.0 44.0 31.2 41.7
5000 36.1 45.1 32.2 42.7


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Design Capacity For 4.0 m depth

(V) cum Bottom side of square section (X), m Top side of square section (X1), m
500 3.4 15.4
750 6.3 18.3
1000 8.6 22.6
1250 10.6 22.6
1500 12.4 24.4
1750 14.0 26.0
2000 15.5 27.5
2250 16.9 28.9
2500 18.3 30.3
2750 19.5 31.5
3000 20.7 32.7
3250 21.9 33.9
3500 23.0 35.0
3750 24.0 36.0
4000 25.0 37.0
4250 26.0 38.0
4500 27.0 39.0
4750 27.9 39.9
5000 28.8 40.8

a controlled manner. The entry section can

be designed as a rectangular broad crested
weir. The peak discharge rate for deep black
soils from a 10 years recurrence interval can
be taken as 0.15 cum/sec/ha. Accordingly, the
design the width and height of the crest
and provide an allowance of 20 per cent
extra height for free board.

e. Outlet
It is economical and advantageous to go in
Farm pond – Grassed waterway leading to farm for an inlet-outlet structure where possible.
pond (inlet, gauging scale seen) When it becomes necessary to separate the
two, the outlet is constructed as a rectan-
d. Inlet gular or square channel, this outlet posi-
The inlet is designed as a chute spillway tion will be a little lower than the elevation
for diverting the runoff into the pond in of the inlet to avoid backwater effect. The


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

discharge capacity of the outlet can be as- v) Stepping method of constructions: Since it
sumed to be half that of the inlet capacity will not be possible to have the cutting
at peak rate of runoff. exactly to the trapezoidal shape, a
segment wise construction known as
stepping method is adopted during the
Construction of Farm Pond time of actual excavation. These steps like
Construction of an Excavated formation can be subsequently cased out
Farm Pond involves the Following to get the required shape and designed
Works: side slopes. By doing so calculation of
earthwork and payment of wages for the
i) Site clearing: The area, where the pond is day’s work becomes easy. While using
to be finally dug out should be cleared earthmovers care should be taken to
to an extent of about 20 m from all sides maintain the side slope.
after demarcation. All bushes, shrubs,
stumps, thorns and other unwanted
materials like roots; etc. should be Formation of Spoil Bank
removed. Since considerable quantity of spoil would
ii) Leveling: As there will be depressions be obtained from such dug out ponds, the
and undulation, it may be necessary disposal of the same should be done sys-
to plough the area and harrow it to tematically and in a proper manner. Though
get a more or less even topography. it was estimated that 40% of the cost of
This will facilitate easy calculation construction could be obtained by disposing
of earthwork quantities. If more murrum obtained from such dug out ponds
precise data on earthwork is required (for the utilization of forming rural roads)
and if there are many big humps/ this proposition is not gaining popularity
mules and depressions which can with different agencies. Hence it is desir-
not be eliminated by ploughing and able to spread murrum in a proper way to
harrowing them levels at 5 m or 10 keep the loss of area to a minimum and to
m grids may be taken to find cut the avoid the wastage of the layout on spreading
actual lay of the area where the pond it. Hence, the existing bunds and internal
is to be constructed. farm roads can be strengthened using the
excavated murrum. The excess soil can be
iii) Demarcating pond area: The farm pond placed on the field after making a bund
site is demarcated by driving pegs around the pond.
to indicate the four corners and if
necessary the sides can be extended
beyond the actual site of the pond.
iv) Establishing reference level: Spot level at
the corners and at the mid point is taken
with reference to a nearby temporary
B.M. The average of these levels is
transferred on to a permanent/semi
permanent object at an approximate
distance of about 15 to 20 m from the Farm pond at Joladarasi watershed showing inlet,
pond site. outlet and spoil bank


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Shoulder Bund and Toe Drain A firm murrum base may be provided
The rainwater falling on the spoil bank before the actual construction of any
and the berm is likely to enter the pond, such structures like inlet and outlet in
which creates rills around. To prevent such black soils.
riling the shoulder bund with a small toe iii) Maintenance of shoulder bunds: toe
drain, which should run along with soil drains and spoil bank: Breaches and
bank, may be provided; allow the water rill formations in the spoil bank and
thus collected into the pond or take it out shoulder bunds should be attended
through earthenware pipes. to and plugged promptly. Toe drains
should be free of earthen boulder or
Silt Trap humps to permit easy passage of water
A silt trap of suitable dimension is created flowing through the toe drain.
in the watercourse just near the entrance iv) Clearing silt trap: The silt accumulated
of the inlet to check the bed load entering in the silt trap should be removed
the pond. The length of such silt trap can periodically, and preferably as and
be slightly greater than the width of the when it gets filled up after a few runoff
watercourse and the depth may be about events.
0.75 to 1 m with side slopes of 1:1.
v) Fencing of the farm pond: Barbed wire
Cost: The average cost of construction of fencing of 4 to 5 strands barbed wire
storage works out to Rs.90=00/cum and this may be provided around the farm pond
includes formation of spoil bank, inlet, out to prevent human beings and animals
let and silt trap as per the present rates. from slipping or falling into the pond.
Provide wicket gate with bamboo/
wooden sticks wherever required. Bio-
Maintenance of Farm Ponds fencing with local materials is another
i) Desiltation: The farm ponds constructed alternative.
in deep black soils get silted up @ 5 to 6
vi) Maintenance of depth gauges: In order to
t/ha per year. Hence, periodic desilting
know the depth of water and thereby
to restore the original storage capacity is
volume of water stored in the pond,
required. In the case of drinking water
depth gauges are installed. Repainting
ponds, desilting may be necessary once
and rewriting the scales should be done
in 2 years, where as in the case of ponds
periodically to maintain them.
meant for supplemental irrigation,
desilting may be done once in 5 to 10 vii) Control of water pollution: Drinking water
years, depending upon the volume of ponds should be chlorinated periodically
silt accumulation and decrease in the to prevent waterborne communicable
storage capacity. diseases. The water should be periodi-
cally tested for quality.
ii) Maintenance of inlet and outlet:
Construction of any structure in the viii) Control of aquatic weed growth: With the
black soil requires specific attention and deposition of silt/sediment from the
care, owing to the excessive swelling runoff some aquatic weeds like reeds
and shrinkage properties that develop and other obnoxious weeds do come up
and ultimately the structure collapses. and thrive well under such conditions.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ix) Efforts should be made to remove them, also be developed for growing horticultural
or else these weeds/plants not only and vegetable crops, which would further
transpire large quantities of water but make the system more viable. Thus, water
also induce decaying, thereby affecting harvesting and runoff recycling helps to
quality of water in the pond. stabilize and support a large proportion
of agriculture in the semi arid tropics. It
further brings awareness in the farmers on
Brief Results the benefit of conserving the twin natural
Recycling of Pond Water resources soil and rainwater.
Rabi crops are, in general, grown on residual
moisture conditions, as there is practically
Strategies for Up-scaling
little or no rainfall after sowings. The success
or failure of early sown rabi crops depend on Water is the most attractive part for dryland
October rains. Experience shows that crops agriculture. Farmers are accepting this water
suffer from moisture stress right from 30th harvesting technology. However, the Imple-
day of crop growth. The potential of stored mentation of farm pond on watershed basis
water as a source of supplemental irrigation must be done through farmers watershed
to save the crops was, therefore, studied committee/watershed societies. Because it
since 1972 and its economics evaluated. The involves huge cost, it must be financed by
results show that providing protective ir- state, central agencies NGOs, etc. Poor farm-
rigation to sorghum in small quantities of ers of the dryland areas cannot afford the
5 cm over large areas at the start of mild cost of construction. Once implementation
stress is more paying than at higher levels is made in one watershed successfully then
of irrigation. The cost benefit ratio varied this technology may be adopted swiftly in
between 2.5 to 3.4 for sorghum crop in this other watersheds.
region. This means, harvested water should
be given as a life saving practice to tide References
over moisture stress during critical stages
namely, at or between grand growth period Chittaranjan S, Ram Mohan Rao MS and
and boot leaf in case of sorghum. Selvarajan S. (1980). Runoff Harvesting
and Recycling on Black Soils for Increas-
ing Crop Production. Bellary Extension
Lessons Learnt Bulletin No.3 CS&WCR&TI, RC, Bellary.
The areas around the farm pond could (Karnataka).


On-farm Testing of Lining Materials in Small
Experimental Tanks for Supplemental Irrigation
CR Subudhi
Dryland Agriculture Research Project, OUAT, Phulbani, Orissa

Abstract ates the movement of underground water.

Four tanks with full storage capacity of 11.31 The district of Kandhamal is on a centrally
cubic meters were excavated at Sudreju vil- located plateau and mostly comprises of red
lage of Kandhamal district of Orissa near laterite soil whose water retentive capacity
Dryland Research Station, Phulbani during is very poor and seepage loss is very high.
2003-2005. Out of four, three tanks were The district has the irrigation potential of
lined by soil-cement mortar (6:1) of 6 cm only 10 per cent of the total cropped area. It
& 8 cm thickness, concrete plaster (8:4:1) receives an average annual rainfall of 1393
of 4 cm thickness and the fourth was kept mm. The farmers grow a single crop in a
unlined. Observations on seepage loss were year due to lack of irrigation water. The
recorded in all the tanks. The unlined tank water table is very deep. Most of the lands
had recorded a seepage loss of 936 lit day-1. are undulating. Nearly 80 per cent of the
Observations from three other lined tanks cropped area belongs to high lands. Under
indicated that the seepage loss was 78.15 such situation, tank irrigation is an impera-
lit/day in soil-cement (6:1) mortar with 6 cm tive means for water resource development.
thickness, 12.26 lit/day in soil-cement (6:1) The major limiting factor to such water re-
mortar of 8 cm thickness & 39.48 lit/day in source development is the seepage loss.
concrete plaster (8:4:1) of 4 cm thickness.
The cost of construction of the soil-cement Methodology
(6cm) lined tank (Rs.1950/-) was nearly 21
This experiment was conducted from 1998-
per cent cheaper than that of soil-cement
99 to 2000-2001 (3 years) in the Dryland
(8cm) lined tank (Rs.2362/-). The economic
Agriculture Research farm, OUAT, Phulbani,
loss due to seepage was lowest (2.03Rs/day)
Orissa with an objective to study the perfor-
in soil-cement (6:1) mortar of 8 cm thick-
mance and economics of selected lining ma-
ness. Thus soil-cement (6:1) mortar of 8 cm
terials for tank irrigation. Three tanks were
thickness is economical in all respects and
excavated with following dimensions:
is the only means of storing water in the
laterite regions of Orissa. Top width: 3.8 m x 3.8 m; bottom width:
0.8 m x 0.8 m; side slope: 1:1; depth of the
Introduction pond: 1.5 m; wetted area: 20.144 m2; capac-
ity of the pond was 11.31 m3
Orissa comes under high rainfall region of
the country. It receives annually an average The type of soil in all the cases was sandy-
rainfall of 1500 mm. Nearly 40 per cent of loam. The treatments were T1- lined by soil-
it is lost through deep percolation and is cement mortar (6:1) of 6 cm thickness, T2-
never available to crops. Porous soil acceler- soil-cement mortar (6:1) of 8 cm thickness,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

T3-concrete plaster (8:4:1) of 4 cm thickness the soil-cement (6cm) lined tank (Rs. 1950/-)
and T4- with no lining. The seepage loss was nearly 21 per cent cheaper than that
was measured immediately after a heavy of soil-cement (8cm) lined tank (Rs. 2362/-).
rainfall. The method adapted for measuring The economic loss due to seepage was the
the seepage loss was, volume of water lost lowest (Rs. 2.03 /day) in soil cement (6:1)
daily from the pond. mortar of 8 cm thickness.

Thus soil-cement lined tanks are economi-

Results cal in all respects and are the only means
The results showed that the unlined tank of storing water for irrigation purposes in
had a very high seepage loss of 936 litre the lateritic region of Orissa.
day-1 (Table 1). Panda and Bhattacharya
(1983) have reported the seepage loss in Acknowledgements
the unlined irrigation channel of 420 m3 The authors wish to acknowledge the help
week-1. It is established that the soil had of Dean Research, OUAT, Bhubaneswar for
very low water retentive capacity and thus his guidance and PI, NATP, RRPS-7 for his
tanks need lining for water storage for ir- guidance & financial help to conduct this
rigation. Observations from the three other trial.
lined tanks indicated that the seepage loss
was 78.15 lit/day in soil-cement (6:1) mortar
of 6 cm thickness, 12.26 lit/day in soil cement References
(6:1) mortar 8 cm thickness and seepage loss Panda RK, Bhattacharya RK. (1983). Lining
was 39.48 lit/day in concrete plaster (8:4:1) of of small irrigation channels. J. Irrigation
4 cm thickness. The cost of construction of and Power: 83: 385-391.

Table 1. Seepage loss in different treatments

Seepage loss Cost of Cost of pond
Cost of lining Total cost of loss due to
Treatments from the tank storage (Rs. with lining
(Rs. m-2) the tank (Rs.) seepage loss
(lit day-1) m-3) (Rs. m-2)
(Rs. day-1)
T1- lined by 78.15 196.4 92.13 107 1950 15.35
soil cement
mortar (6:1) of
6 cm
T2- soil cement 12.26 165.82 114.8 130 2362 2.03
mortar (6:1) of
8 cm thickness
T3-concrete 39.48 164.13 75.08 90 1640 6.48
plaster (8:4:1)
of 4 cm
T4-No lining 936 27.53 0 15 275 25.77


Factors affecting the adoption of farm ponds in drought
prone areas of Gujarat: Sharing Experiences of AKRSP (I)
Vitthal Kakaniya & Shailja Kishore
Agakhan Rural Support Program, Gujarat

Abstract with relatively high frequency of its occur-

The experience gained on adoption of farm rence. Human responses can exacerbate the
ponds among the farmers in the drought impact of drought. Recent droughts in both
prone areas of Gujarat are discussed in the developing and developed countries and
present paper. A case study of Surendra the resulting economic and environmental
Nagar district of Saurastra region of Gujarat impacts and personal hardships have un-
on farm ponds construction and manage- derscored the vulnerability of all societies
ment were carried out. The selected area to this hazard.
had the issue of less rainfall, soil erosion
due to deforestation and grazing, uncon- Issues of the Region
trolled ground water exploitation and rain-
fed agriculture to name a few. The AKRSP • Surendranagar district, located in the
working in the area adopted the drought Saurastra region of Gujarat, is the most
coping measures namely soil and water con- drought-prone area in the state. Average
servation, water resource development and annual rainfall is about 450 mm.
alternate livelihood development through • Uncontrolled water use exceeds ground-
SHGs. A total of 416 farm ponds, 105 bori- water recharge.
bunds, 132 check dams, 18 tanks and 6 water
• This hilly, semi-arid area has no peren-
recharge system were constructed spread
nial rivers and streams. The problem of
over 46 villages. Significant improvement
thin, rocky soil is compounded by soil
on livelihood were observed in the area
erosion due to deforestation and over-
under study.
• About 25% of the population is com-
Introduction prised of Rabari and Bharwad communi-
Drought is a normal, recurrent feature of ties that are engaged in animal rearing,
climate. It occurs almost everywhere, al- whose interest often conflict with those
though its features vary from region to of farmers. Their migratory nature has
region. Drought should not be viewed as made them difficult communities to
merely a physical phenomenon or natural work with.
event. Its impact on society results from
the interplay between a natural event (less • Scarce water as well as poor soil
precipitation than expected resulting from conditions have led to low agricultural
natural climatic variability) and the demand productivity.
people place on water supply. However, • Only 10% of the region is irrigated.
some areas are particularly drought-prone
• Acute scarcity of drinking water has


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

affected livelihood security. Rajkot covering 204 villages of 7 taluka’s

and provided benefit to over 22300 house-
• The scheduled castes constitute 11 per
cent of the total population against
7.4 per cent for the state average. The Under Sustainable community based Ap-
feudal social structure with rigid caste proaches for Livelihood enhancement
and occupational divisions makes it dif- (SCALE) we are using multi pronged strat-
ficult to work with village institutions. egy to address the issues of the region. The
focus areas are:
• The social structure imposes many
restrictions on women. 1. Drought coping
 Soil and water Conservation activities.
The Programme Area
 Water Resource Management
Surendranagar district, located in the
Saurastra region of Gujarat, is the most  Agriculture Extension & irrigation facili-
drought-prone area in the state. ties.

The population is primarily dependent on  Special Wadi Package Programme for

rainfed agriculture with only 10% of the small farmers.
region being irrigated. Rain fed agricultural  Training centre as Rain Centre with focus
crops includes cotton, millet, sesame seed, on Drought coping.
pulses and some vegetables.
2. Drinking water facilities
Drought Coping Measures  Facilitating communities to plan, con-
adopted by AKRSP (I) under struct, operate & maintain their own
SCALE (2002-2012) drinking water facilities.
Under the Drought coping theme, we are  Providing support in constructing Indi-
working in 2 districts: Surendranagar and vidual & community-based RWHS.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

 Water Quality Testing Laboratory to Activities under WRM in

support the stress on drinking water Surendranagar Area
quality & providing remedial /preven-
The successful production of rainfed crops
tive measures for the same.
largely depends on how efficiently soil
 Focus on safe drinking water & envi- moisture is conserved in situ or the surplus
ronmental sanitation issues. runoff is harvested, stored and recycled for
supplemental irrigation. AKRSP (I) has pro-
3. Alternate livelihood development moted simple and low-cost water harvesting
 Understand the needs of the landless, structures, evolved water-sharing methods,
poor and women & help them to help community regulation of water use, which
themselves through SHG. Sub village, helped in up-scaling the models to a certain
village & Supra village level structures extent. On-farm water harvesting through
help in the same cause. farm ponds on individual holdings was em-
 Increase the involvement of poor women phasized and cost benefit data generated
in the development of income-generating on use of harvested water.
activities by providing loans and linking
Since 2002, 677 WRD interventions have
them with banks for various activities.
been undertaken in 70 villages of Sayla
 Enabling the development of robust project area. The details are as follows:–
methods for developing successful mi-
416 Farm ponds.
cro enterprises, tool kit library, cheese
plant, brass bead, etc. 105 Boribands.
132 check dams & UCGD
Besides this, AKRSP is also running Comput-
er Training & Learning Centers (CTLC) that 18 Tanks
provide education, information, networking 6 Well recharge.
and linkages to the outside world. Potential Irrigation Area of these structures
is 1312.07 ha


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Potential Storage Capacity is 140.40 MCFT, Farm pond is generally constructed at the
providing direct recharge to 440 wells. tapering end of the field to reduce soil ero-
sion and conserve water for recharge or
A total of 3047 households and net 2379 irrigation purpose.
households have been benefited by the
interventions. Dimension of the structure
The average size of the structure is 20 m x
Focusing on Farm Ponds 20m x 1.5 m. However, it may vary based
The demand for farm ponds has been in- on the landholding and farmer’s capacity
creasing as it has emerged as a low cost to invest.
viable option to harvest rainwater in the
drought-prone areas. Along with increased Cost of the structure
recharge, it also provides support irrigation. In 2003, the cost was Rs 15000 and increased
After excess rain, it also copes with the prob- to Rs 20,000 in 2009.
lem of excessive waterlogging in the fields.
It is more so beneficial in this area because Subsidy
even if the first spell of the rainfall is de-
AKRSP (I) provides 45% subsidy and now
cent, then the water storage is sufficient to
reduced it to 35 % grant to better off farm-
irrigate crops and can cope with the late
ers and reduced from 90% to 70 % for the
second spell of the rainfall. The late and
poor farmers. This classification is based on
lower second spell of rainfall is normally
a village PRA exercise. The definition of the
the trend in Surendranagar. Hence, farm
term vary from village to village based on
ponds act as source of support irrigation
the local conditions.
for crops, thus assuring for farmers of a
decent livelihood.
Factors Augmenting the Cause
416 structures have been constructed in the a. Shift from Community based
programme area benefiting 416 household Intervention to Individual based
& farmers in 46 villages. Of these, 101 struc- Intervention
tures have been constructed in one par-
To address the scarcity Issue of water, es-
ticular village.
pecially for agriculture, the geographical


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

condition of the area, most of the times his land. As the monsoon arrived he had
does not provide better options for big struc- to wait for at least 20 days for recharging
tures. This opens the option of individual of his well after one of the ponds in the
based structures in the villages. Navagam village was filled.
Bavadiaya was a classic case.
Season after season this continued for
In village Navagam Bavadiya, big structures him and then in year 2005 AKRSPI staff
were not feasible on public land hence the discussed with the villager about the
VDC members (100% women) decided to construction of farm pond (a pond con-
focus on the individual basis. Hence farm structed in the direction of slope were all
ponds on individual lands were planned the rainwater from that catchment area
and constructed. Now 101 farm ponds have gets collected, and directly results in quick
been completed in the village. The demand recharge of the well). Following this dis-
is for more such structures because of the cussion, around 25 people were taken on
benefits. an exposure visit to another programme
village to see the farm pond and talk to
1. The farmers whose crops were affected farmers. After the exposure visit, farmer
during harvesting time due to lack of constructed the farm pond on his land
water now get good production. The and from there on there is no looking
farmers who had not taken any winter back for him.
crop during his entire life now have
started taking crops in the winter. The intervention has brought many fold
changes for Deva bhai, i.e.
2. 50% of the soil excavated from the pond
is used in the bund and the remaining is • The command area of the well has in-
spread in the fields. Hence due to good creased from 2 acres to 7 acres, as water
soil there was increase in production. level has gone up by 20 feet

3. The damage to the crop due to the • The timely availability of irrigation facil-
problem of waterlogging has been ity has increased the productivity and
tackled. the cultivation of cotton in majority of

b. Sharing the Impact of the Farm pond • The fertile soil which used to runoff is
deposited in the farm pond will be used
Impact of the benefits when shared and as fertilizer in the coming years.
analyzed by the beneficiary himself has a
greater impact on others. Here is one such These three changes had a positive impact
case study. It’s also known as “the spread in the net income of Deva bhai as shown in
effect“. the table containing comparative analysis of
income and expenditure in the context of ag-
A Case Study: Deva bhai ghusa bhai Jamph- riculture before and after the intervention.
adia is a resident of Khintla village in Sayla
taluka of Surendranagar district. He has a The net profit in 2004 was Rs. 8450 (41000-
land holding of 17.5 bighas and owned a 32550) and in 2005, it was Rs. 33510 (79700-
well to irrigate the land. But due to irregular 46190). Thus, there was a four fold increase
monsoons and drought every third year in the net profit in one year due to avail-
he could not take a very good yield from ability of water to irrigate the land.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

S.No Activity Expenditure in 2004 Expenditure in 2005

1 Pesticides 8000 5700
2 Fertilizers 6400 13000
3 Seeds 2380 4200
4 Land preparation 2900 3750
5 Weeding 3300 3400
6 Irrigation 6000 9000
7 Harvesting 3570 7140
Total 32550 46190
S.No Crop Qnt.*market price 2004 Qnt.*market price 2005
1 Cotton 70*425 29750 148*450 66600
2 Bajari 45*100 4500 60*135 8100
3 Tal 10*500 5000 - -
4 jowar 35*50 1750 100*50 5000
Total 41000 79700

This increase in the net profit has given construction of house can wait for year
confidence to Deva bhai to further invest or so as it is unproductive expenditure,
in the agricultural infrastructure, which right now investing in agriculture will be
will increase the efficiency and reduce productive and increase the income. I will
the cost. He has already invested his first think what can be done with the income
year ’s profit in the maintenance of his in the coming years.)
well. As he says “Ghar banavva ma paisa
nakhva thi koi aavak thavani nahi ghar c. Special focus on Training and capacity
to be varah pachhi pan bani sake aatyare building of the villagers and village
kheti ma paisa nakhis to aavak vadhse leaders
aane pacchi aa paisa ma thi vichari ne This was undertaken through various types
baddhu karsu.” (Investing the money in of project training, institutional training,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

mass awareness programmes, internal & the developmental activities in the village.
external exposure The farmers were interested in undertak-
ing a farm pond, and put their demand to
In this particular village, the following ac- their VDC. The VDC approved the demand
tivities were undertaken: and sent it to AKRSP (I) for implementa-
• Project training was provided to 40 mem- tion through the E.V. (Extension Volunteer).
bers A strong VDC can plan and bring in pro-
• Institutional Training was provided to grammes from various agencies.
• Mass awareness programmes were un- F. Focusing / promoting Gender
dertaken. In all the Village Development Committee
• Internal exposure was provided to 48 (VDC), there are women members. It’s man-
members datory to have 1/3rd female members. The
point worth noting is that the VDC of the
• External exposure was provided to 54 village Navagam Bavadiya was not able to
members resolve the problem of drinking water in
• Total villagers trained was 182, of these the village. After rounds of debates and dis-
net household covered were 111, of these cussions the women of the villages decided
34 are poor, 76 medium and 1 rich. to take the responsibility of village devel-
opment in their hands. Today the Village
D. Special Focus on Poor Development Committee (VDC) comprises
In all the development programmes despite of all female members.
subsidy, the real poor or the needy are al-
ways left out. The condition becomes even Secondly, priority for the construction of
more serious when the member is from the farm ponds or other WRD structures or
lower segment of the society (SC, ST, and SWC activities are given to those women
OBC). Special subsidy amount was paid who are owners of agricultural land / farm
for the poor who are identified based on over male beneficiaries. 32% of all the farm
a village wealth ranking PRA exercise. The pond beneficiaries across the programme
definition of the terms varies from village area are women.
to village based on the local conditions.
Thirdly, the payment in case of all WRM
Secondly, the time spent in motivating the & SWC activities are made in the name of
poorest especially from the weaker section women members of the family to empha-
is four times greater than the normal ben- size that along with the labour work she
eficiaries. According to the field staff “If we does on the farm, she also has a say in its
construct 50 farm ponds a year in the general planning and future development.
category, with same resources, we can construct
12 to 15 ponds from the poor category , as they G. Specific benefits perceived by the
require more follow-up and more support / confi- people based on the local conditions
dence in undertaking the particular activity. ” particular to the area
“The rain pattern in Sayla area is very pe-
E. Role of community Institutions culiar, the gap between the first spell and
In every village there is a Village Develop- second spell of rain are often more. The
ment Committee (VDC), which looks into second spell is low and spread over in few


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

days. So we lose. But with the construction Increase in the water holding capacity of
of this farm pond I have been able to manage the well: The duration of water availability
the situation and saved my crop from being in the well has also increased. People who
a failure. I have 3 acres of land and could had never taken a second crop have started
take only cotton crop as the water in my 60 getting a second crop.
feet well would dry up. Earlier, the water in
the well would come at the end of the mon- Despite the success in the construction of
soon and would last only 2 months. Now individual farm ponds in village Navagam
with the construction of the farm pond, the Bavadiya, we have not had the same suc-
water in the well comes within a week of cess in other villages (> 50%) even with
the rains and last for more than 4 months. focused efforts in training & support. The
The production is almost doubled. Further, reasons for this are –
I could grow wheat for first time. This year • Non availability of proper geographical
I have taken an additional 4 acres of land conditions likes –
on lease for agriculture.”
- Availability of hard rock in excava-
- Devabhai Laxman bhai, village - tion. Ex. Gadh, Kotada, Dhandhalpur,
Pipaliya taluka - Kamlapur. Vatavachh, etc.
Excessive waterlogging: Excessive water - Non availability of recharge strata.
causes waterlogging in the farms, which
- Availability of saline soil, which
causes extensive damage to the crop. With
increases the salinity of the water,
the construction of the farm pond, water
stored in the farm pond and even
diverted to the pond.
seeps into the well. Example villages,
Late and Low second spell: Seeds of cotton Dhamarasara, Mota Sukhpar, Sukhda
are costly and farmers sow them after the etc.
first spell of rain. If the second spell of rain • Small Land holding: Farmers having
is delayed, the young crop dries up. With
small land holding are skeptical of
the construction of farm ponds, water can
giving away 400sq mts of their land.
provide the life- saving dose.
It’s really tough convincing people
Use of 50 % excavated soil in field: People that “something is better than noth-
use 50% of the excavated earth on the bund ing”. People are moving towards it.
and the remaining 50% are spread out in but the process is slow.
the field. This new layer of soil in their field
has helped in increasing the productivity
of the land. Conclusion
For scaling–up the adoption of the farm
Increase in the rate of percolation in the well: pond we need to be flexible and have
With the construction of the well, the per- a supportive programme with a degree
colation of the recharged water in the well of commitment from the implementers.
is fast. The water is available within a week, Focus on capacity building, exposure and
which earlier took nearly a month. gender.


Harvesting and effective utilization of rainwater
in diked rice fields of medium lands in eastern
region – A case study
Atmaram Mishra
Water Technology Centre for Eastern Region (ICAR), Bhubaneswar

Abstract to its overexploitation. Significant amount of

The present study deals with the interven- rainfall is lost as surface runoff during the
tion to enhance the land and water pro- monsoon, causing substantial loss of soil.
ductivity and cropping intensity through Due to this, the sedimentation of reservoirs
multiple-use management of the harvested is taking place at a faster rate. Rainwater
rainwater. The research was focused on the harvesting not only reduces runoff and soil
conservation of rainwater and adoption of loss, but also facilitates groundwater re-
integrated rice-based farming systems at charge. It also prevents early sedimentation
five farmers’ fields, located in the medium of the reservoirs. The rainwater harvesting
lands at Sadeiberini village of Dhenkanal and groundwater recharge enables farmers
district, Orissa (Lat. 20o58/ N and Long. to provide supplementary irrigation to the
83o51/ E) for three consecutive years (2001-02 kharif crops and also to go for the second
to 2003-04). Each plot was provided with crop during the dry season. Therefore, it is
broad-crested rectangular weir as partition desirable to harvest as much of rainwater
dike between farm pond and rice field to to avoid water scarcity.
allow excess rainwater to spill from rice field The eastern region of the country is blessed
to farm pond. The method attributed to with a plenty of rainfall. Bulk of this rain
significant improvement in rice yield with (about 80%) occurs during monsoon. Dur-
BC ration of 2.65 to 2.70. ing this period, about 50% of the annual
rainfall comes from a few intense storms
Introduction (Pisharoty, 1990). Water received from such
intense storms is subjected to high runoff
Rainwater harvesting is an age-old tech-
losses (Pal et al., 1994). Added to this, is the
nique practiced by our ancestors since ages.
erratic nature of the onset, distribution and
This practice of rainwater harvesting can
the withdrawal of rains, which increases
be felt from the existence of farm ponds in
the probability of water stress at various
every villages of our country. The require-
crop growth stages of rice (Bhuiyan and
ment is to properly design and manage these
Goonasekera, 1988). Therefore, the rainfed
ponds in a scientific manner. The impor-
rice ecosystems (upland, mid land and low
tance of rainwater harvesting has increased
lands) have common characteristics of un-
very much with ever increasing demand for
certain moisture supply. Field may have too
water from different competing sectors like
much water, too little water or both within
agriculture, domestic and industry. Further,
the same cropping season. This is one of
the importance of rainwater harvesting is
the major reasons for which the average
gaining importance as in certain pockets
productivity of rice crop of eastern region
there is depletion of groundwater level due
is much less than the country’s average rice


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

productivity (Mishra et al., 1998). Further, the rabi and growing of horticultural crops
this region is prone to frequent occurrences on the embankment of the farm pond.
of natural calamities such as flood, drought
and cyclone, which repeatedly weaken the
financial backbone of the farming commu- Methodology
nity. Therefore, to ensure continuous flow of The study was carried out in five farm-
income throughout the year and minimize ers’ fields, located in the medium lands at
the risks associated with natural calamities Sadeiberini village of Dhenkanal district,
affecting mono-cropping system, rice-based Orissa (Lat. 20o58/ N and Long. 83o51/ E) for
farming system through multiple/cascading three consecutive years (2001-02 to 2003-04).
use of water seems to be promising and In the mid lands, each rice plot was provided
viable technological option. Rice-based in- with a brick masonry broad-crested rectan-
tegrated farming systems are less risky due gular weir at the partition dike between the
to their efficiency, derived from synergism farm pond and the rice field. The length
among other components, their diversity of the weir was kept at about 1 to 1.5 m.
of produce and environmental soundness. Three weir heights of 15 cm; 20 cm and 25
Although various combinations of integrat- cm were considered as treatments with two
ed farming systems have been introduced replications each (total six plots) for in-situ
worldwide, integrated rice-fish system has conservation of rainwater in the rice fields.
shown greater potential, feasibility and ef- In this process, a portion of rainwater was
ficiency to improve the use of agricultural conserved in the rice field up to the weir
resources (Mishra and Mohanty, 2004). crest level (weir height). The excess rain-
water above the crest level, was allowed to
In the backdrop of this, the research effort spill over the weir for further conservation
focused here on the conservation of rain- in the farm pond. Though the design area
water and adoption of integrated rice-based of the farm pond was kept at 10% area of
farming systems in the mid lands. The objec- the rice field, farmers initially did not spare
tive of the intervention was to enhance the that much area for farm pond. Therefore,
land and water productivity and cropping at the downstream end of each plot, a farm
intensity through multiple use management pond was constructed, approximately oc-
of the harvested rainwater. The rainwater cupying 5-8% of the individual plot size to
immediately falling over the rice field is harvest the excess rainwater during heavy
conserved through strengthening of bund downpour. The average depth of the farm
height around the rice field and providing pond was kept at 1.75 m with a side slope
a surplus weir at the down stream bund of 1:1. The top width of the embankment
of the rice field at an optimal height. The of the farm pond was kept 1 m. The excess
excess rainwater spilling over the weir is water from the farm pond was drained out
further harvested through the provision of through a hume pipe (fixed at weir crest
a small farm pond constructed in the rice level) with fine-meshed net to prevent es-
field at its downstream portion. The har- cape of fish (Mishra et al., 2003). Schematic
vested water in the farm pond is utilized diagram of the farm pond with rice field
for providing supplemental irrigation in dry and surplus weir is shown in Fig. 1.
spells to the kharif rice, rearing of a short
duration fish culture of about four to six During the rainy season, ‘Saruchinamali’
months, cultivation of light duty crops in (farmer’s choice, a traditional local variety),


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

about 180 days (3rd week of August – 3rd

week of February).

Results and Discussion

Rainwater Conservation and
In 2001, rainfall of 1535 mm and 1420 mm
were received during the entire year and
rainy season, respectively. In this year, an
unusual rainfall during July amounting to
719 mm (2.2 times than that of 20 years
average value) had occurred. In spite of
heavy rainfall during July and subsequent
scanty rainfall during August and Septem-
ber, water levels in the farm ponds were
Figure 1. Schematic diagram of water harvesting observed to be sufficiently high till the end
through farm pond and optimum dike height in rice
of February 2002 (Table 1). In the year 2002,
fields of rainfed medium lands.
rainfall of 728 mm and 543 mm was received
during the entire year and rainy season,
‘Jagannath’ and ‘Moti’ (high yielding) cul- respectively. Similarly, in 2003, rainfall of
tivars of rice were grown. Transplanting of 1572.5 mm and 1451.5 mm was received
the rice was carried out during 3rd to 4th during the entire year and rainy season,
week of July with a spacing of 20 x 10 cm. respectively. Twenty years average annual
Chemical fertilizer at 80:40:40 (N: P: K) kg/ rainfall and rainy season’s rainfall are 1415
ha was applied in three split doses along and 1226 mm, respectively. Thus, the first
with bio-fertilizer (Azosprillum). On the em- and third years’ experiments were excess
bankment of the farm pond, horticultural rainfall years and the second year was a
crops such as Banana, Papaya, drum stick, drought year. Amongst these two excess
French bean etc. were grown. During the rabi rainfall years, the monsoon rain was well
season, farmers grew winter crops such as distributed in 2003 and was poorly distrib-
rabi rice (‘Lalat’ and ‘MW-10’), ladies finger uted in 2001. However, in all these extreme
(Hibiscus esculentus L.), greengram (Phaseo- cases, the water levels in the farm ponds
lus radiatus L.), blackgram (P. mungo L) and were observed to be sufficient enough (>1 m
watermelon, etc., using the harvested rain- most of the period) till the end of February.
water from farm ponds. Fish and prawn This enabled the farmers to successfully rear
were reared in the farm ponds seven days the fish for a period of about six months.
after first manuring and fertilization. Early After the harvest of fish in February, on an
fingerlings (<1.5 gm size) of Catla, Labeo average 1 m depth availability of water in
rohita, Cirrhinus mrigala and Cyprinus carpio the farm pond (farm ponds occupying 5
were stocked with a species composition of to 8% area of each field) provided about 7
30:30:20:20, respectively. Stocking density of cm depth of irrigation water to rest of the
20,000 fingerlings/ha was maintained in all area for the rabi crops. Out of the three
the treatments and rearing continued for experimental years, 2002-03 being a drought


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 1. Average depth of standing water (m) in the farm ponds in different years
Weir Year August Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
15 2001-02 1.70 1.70 1.71 1.69 1.66 1.62 1.63
2002-03 1.10 1.08 1.07 1.05 1.02 1.03 1.02
2003-04 1.21 1.20 1.20 1.19 1.16 1.17 1.15
Average 1.34 1.33 1.33 1.31 1.28 1.27 1.27
20 2001-02 1.58 1.43 1.45 1.31 1.24 1.17 1.18
2002-03 1.28 1.24 1.09 0.89 0.79 0.74 0.65
2003-04 1.62 1.57 1.54 1.53 1.43 1.40 1.36
Average 1.49 1.41 1.36 1.24 1.15 1.10 1.06
25 2001-02 1.62 1.61 1.59 1.54 1.47 1.39 1.38
2002-03 1.22 1.16 1.05 0.93 0.87 0.81 0.74
2003-04 1.60 1.59 1.58 1.56 1.48 1.40 1.38
Average 1.48 1.45 1.41 1.34 1.27 1.20 1.17

year, the farmers could grow paddy during Kharif crop Growth and Yield
the monsoon using the stored water from Table 2 presents the treatment wise and
the farm ponds as life saving irrigations. variety wise average yields and yield attri-
They could also successfully carryout fish butes of the rainy season’s rice crop. Highest
culture in the farm ponds. In this drought grain yield of 5.3 t/ha was obtained in 20
year, the stored water depths in all the farm cm weir height plots. Highest panicle/m2
ponds and pond were lower in comparison was observed in 15 cm weir height plots,
to other two experimental years. followed by 20 cm weir height. Similarly,

Table 2. Average yield attributes and yield of kharif rice (2001-02 to 2003-04)
Weir height No of filled grains/
Panicles/ m2 Grain yield (t/ha)
(treatment) panicle
15 cm 272.1 140.8 4.59
20 cm 267.6 143.9 5.30
25 cm 257.9 150.3 4.83
CD (0.05) NS NS 0.556
Rice variety
Saruchinamali 238.4 131.2 4.12
Moti 272.3 147.4 4.7
Jagannath 286.8 156.4 5.91
CD (0.05) NS NS 0.382


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the highest-filled grains per panicle were Horticulture on the Embankment

obtained in 25 cm weir height, followed by On the embankment of the farm ponds,
20 cm weir height. The variation of both dwarf variety of papaya, banana and drum
the yield attributes at different weir heights stick were grown at a spacing of 1 to 1.5
were found to be statistically non significant. m. Irrigation to these plants was given us-
Perusal of individual years’ yield data infers ing the harvested rainwater from the farm
that due to sufficient rainfall in first and ponds. Among these three horticultural
third years of experimentation, maximum plants, banana performed the best in terms
yield of rice was recorded in the 20 cm of yield and survival. These plants (specifi-
weir height plot. However, in the second cally drum stick) were subjected to severe
year (drought year) the highest yield was damage by cattle grazing in the rabi and
recorded in the 25 cm weir height plot. This summer because of adjacent fallow fields
clearly indicates the effect of in-situ conser- of other farmers in that locality. The yield
vation of rainwater as a function of weir of banana and papaya was 1600 kg/ha and
height on crop growth and yield. Among 200 bunch/ha, respectively.
varieties, Jagannath recorded the highest
grain yield (5.91 t/ha), followed by Moti Cropping Intensity
(4.7 t/ha) and Saruchinamali (4.12 t/ha). This
Before the intervention, the kharif rice was
was primarily due to the highest number
the only crop grown in the study site. The
panicles/m2 and filled grains/panicle. Thus,
harvested rainwater from the farm pond
from highest grain yield point of view, 20
was utilized for growing a second crop
cm weir height may be considered as the
which has resulted in increasing the crop-
optimum height for the study site to have
ping intensity of the site from 100% to
two-stage rainwater conservation.
131%, 176% and 200% in the 1st, 2nd and
Rabi Crop 3rd year of the experiment, respectively. In
the very first year of experiment, the farm-
In the first year (2001-02 rabi), two rice va-
ers were not much interested to go for a
rieties i.e. MW-10 and Lalat were grown
second crop. Motivation and benefit from
and they recorded yield of 2.34 t/ha and
the second crop, gradually developed inter-
2.70 t/ha, respectively. Ladies finger was also
est among the farmers to bring more area
grown in the same year, which resulted in
under cultivation during the rabi. That is
a productivity of 1.85 t/ha. In the second
how in the third year of the experiment,
year, the rice variety MW-10 recorded 3.5
the entire area was brought under double
t/ha grain yield. In this year, rationing was
practiced in Savitri and Durga varieties of
rice. Savitri resulted in good productivity
(2.73 t/ha). Pulses such as black gram and
Growth Performance and Yield of
green gram were cultivated in the second Fish
year, which registered pod yield of 0.34 t/ Irrespective of stocking density, faster
ha and 0.45 t/ha, respectively. In the third growth rate was recorded for C. carpio fol-
year, rice varieties MW-10 and Lalat yielded lowed by Catla and C. mrigala during 180
1.23 t/ha and 1.3 t/ha, respectively. Black days of culture. Average daily growth rate
gram and green gram were also grown in decreased with increase in weir height that
the third year, which resulted in better yield reduces water availability in the farm pond.
compared to that in the previous year. Overall survival rate (inclusive of all spe-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

cies) was high in the farm pond with 15 Water Productivity

cm weir height, while species-wise, no such The total water utilized per ha (average of
trend was observed among the treatments. three treatments) was estimated at 8204.5
Fish yield in terms of production (kg ha-1 m3. Considering the selling price of rice,
180 days-1) in 15 cm weir height farm pond fish, banana, papaya, black/green gram and
(1693.6) was however, significantly higher ladies finger at Rs. 4, 40, 50/bunch, 4, 15 and
(p<0.05) than the yield in the 20 cm and 7/kg, respectively (in the base year 2004),
25 cm weir height farm ponds. However, the net returns from mono-crop rice, rice +
there was no significant difference between fish, rice + fish + embankment horticulture
yields of farm ponds of 20 cm (1265.3) and and rice + fish + embankment horticulture
25 cm weir height (1279.4) (Table 3). + rabi crop were calculated. The economic
index of gross water productivity was com-
Rice Equivalent Yield puted as 2.76, 2.94, 4.94 and 5.87 Rs/m3 for
Considering the sale price of rice as Rs. 4.00/ mono-crop rice, rice + fish, rice + fish +
kg and fish as Rs. 40.00/kg, the rice equiva- embankment horticulture, rice + fish + em-
lent yield (REY) for all three treatments in bankment horticulture + rabi crops, respec-
medium land was calculated (Table 4). The tively. Similarly, the economic index of net
highest rice equivalent yield was recorded water productivity for different farming sys-
in 20 cm weir height plots (5.74 t/ha), fol- tems were computed as 2.06, 2.17, 3.07, and
lowed by 25 cm weir height plots (5.44 t/ 3.76 Rs/m3 for mono-crop rice, rice + fish,
ha). The bench mark survey of the study rice + fish + embankment horticulture, rice
site revealed that before the interventions, + fish + embankment horticulture + rabi
the average yield of rice was 1.8 t/ha. Thus, crops, respectively. The percentage increase
there is a 3.2 fold increase in the land pro- in net water productivity for rice + fish, rice
ductivity due to efficient and multiple use + fish + embankment horticulture and rice
of the conserved rainwater and scientific + fish + embankment horticulture + rabi
crop management practices. crop over mono-cropped rice was 5.34%,

Table 3. Fish yield (kg/ha) from farm ponds in different years

Weir height 1st year 2nd year 3rd year Pooled
15 cm 1232.40 1988.80 1859.60 1693.60
20 cm 1004.8 1553.00 1238.10 1265.30
25 cm 1109.90 1478.35 1250.00 1279.40

Table 4. Rice equivalent yield

Rice area Farm pond Total area Rice yield Fish yield
Weir height REY, (t/ha)
(m2) area (m2) (m2) (t/ha) (kg/ha)
15 cm 3202.4 171 3373.4 4.6 1694 5.23
20 cm 4595.2 294 4889.2 5.3 1265 5.74
25 cm 2217.2 184 2401.2 4.83 1279 5.44


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

49.03% and 82.52%, respectively. Thus, the harvested water have been successfully
highest water productivity in rice + fish demonstrated in the farmers’ fields. Supple-
+ embankment horticulture + rabi crop mental irrigation to the kharif rice during
combination indicates the most efficient and dry spells, short-duration pisciculture in
multiple use of conserved rainwater, which the farm ponds, horticulture on the farm
has almost doubled the water productivity pond embankment and cultivation of light
over mono-cropped rice. duty rabi crops have been successfully tried
in the farmers’ field. This has resulted in
Economics significant increase in the crop yield, crop-
The highest gross returns of Rs. 46,238 and ping intensity and net return. The dual pro-
net returns of Rs. 29,617 were recorded with duction system (rice and fish) in the kharif,
20 cm weir height, followed by 25 cm weir perennial horticulture and light duty rabi
height (Table 5). The highest benefit cost crops generate additional income, employ-
ratio of 2.78 was obtained with 20 cm weir ment opportunity and nutritional security.
height, followed by a ratio of 2.70 with 25 In addition, this also minimizes the risks
cm weir height. The cost difference between due to natural calamities. The system is eco-
different weir heights was not significant; friendly and promotes synergism between
hence it was not taken into consideration. different components.
The gross returns were calculated by add- This technology can be successfully imple-
ing the returns generated from kharif rice, mented in large areas. Selection of the ap-
fish and rabi crops. The returns from ba- propriate area (medium and shallow low
nana and papaya were also included. The land) for its implementation is extremely
above cost benefit was calculated for the important. Sporadic application of this tech-
base year of 2004. nology will lead to problems like cattle graz-
ing in the rabi season and poaching of fish
Lessons Learnt from farm ponds. Hence, it is recommended
In the rainfed medium land, in-situ and to adopt this technology in relatively large
ex-situ conservation of rainwater through patches to avoid these problems. Further,
provision of optimum dike height and if high duty crops are to be grown in the
farm pond, respectively observed to be a rabi, then more area needs to be put under
viable solution in harvesting the rainwa- farm pond.
ter in diked rice fields. Individual farmers
can make this intervention (construction) in
their own field with a little training. This Strategies for up scaling
is suitable for small and marginal farmers. Individual farmers can implement this
Efficient and multiple use management of technique of rainwater harvesting in their

Table 5. Benefit cost ratio of the farming system (three year’s average)
Weir height Gross returns Cost of cultivation Net returns (Rs./ B:C ratio
(Rs./ha) (Rs./ha) ha)
15 cm 43,990 16,620 27,370 2.65
20 cm 46,240 16,620 29,620 2.78
25 cm 44,830 16,620 28,210 2.70


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

own field. In the state of Orissa, this tech- servation technique”. Agricultural Water
nology has been given to the Watershed Management, 67:119-131.
Mission, Government of Orissa which is
Mishra A, Mohanty RK, Kannan K, James
implementing it in large scale through vari-
BK and Nanda P. (2003) “Rainwater
ous watershed development schemes. This
conservation and management for in-
has become one of the very popular water
tegrated rice (Oryza sativa)-fish farming
conservation measures in the watershed
in the rainfed medium and low land eco-
development schemes. Other states having
systems”. Indian Journal of Agricultural
similar areas can implement it through vari-
Sciences (ICAR), 73(11): 605-608.
ous watershed development schemes.
Pal AR, Rathore AL and Pandey VK. (1994)
“On-farm rainwater storage systems for
References improving riceland productivity in east-
Bhuiyan SI and Goonasekera K. (1988) ern India: opportunities and challenges”.
“Rainwater management for increasing In: On-farm Reservoir Systems for Rain-
production of rice and upland crops.” fed Ricelands (S.I. Bhuiyan eds.), IRRI,
Paper presented at the International Rice Los Banos, Philippines, 105-125.
Research Conference, IRRI, Los Banos, Pisharoty PR. (1990) “Indian rainfall and
Philippines. water conservation. Proc. of the All In-
Mishra A, Ghorai AK and Singh SR (1998) dia seminar on modern techniques of
“Rainwater, soil and nutrient conserva- rainwater harvesting, water conserva-
tion in rainfed rice lands in Eastern In- tion and artificial recharge for drink-
dia.” Agricultural Water Management. 38: ing water, aforestation, horticulture and
45-57. agriculture”. Directorate of Groundwa-
ter Surveys and Development Agency.
Mishra A and Mohanty RK. (2004) “Pro- Rural Development Department, Govt.
ductivity enhancement through rice-fish of Maharashtra, India, 55-53.
farming using a two-stage rainwater con-


Rainwater harvesting through farm ponds & shallow
dug wells and reuse through paddle operated low lift
pump in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh
SK Patil, DS Thakur, D Khalkho and RK Naik
S. G. College of Agriculture and Research Station, Jagadalpur
Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Chhattisgarh

Abstract six ponds. The model helped in bringing

The tribal-dominated Bastar region of 1.5 to 2.0 acres of land with each pond un-
Chhattisgarh, has only 2.5 % double- der vegetable cultivation in the rabi season,
cropped area whereas the rainfall is quite which was previously left fallow besides
high (1200-1400 mm) with excellent poten- stabilizing rice yield in kharif season (12-15
tial of water harvesting (550-650 mm sur- % yield increase). Most of the farmers have
plus). The harvesting of water is attempt- shown interest in intensifying the work of
ed through several government schemes water harvesting and reuse in the future.
(DPAP, IWDP, NREGP) with limited success. The quantity of water harvested became a
Site selection for pond construction is one limiting factor. Linking pond-low lift pump
of the major issues for the limited success model with low-pressure drip system can
of this technology. It is important to have be very effective in this regard.
a series of ponds in proper places, so that
soil the moisture and water availability in Target Domain
relatively large areas (25-50 ha) can be en-
The work is carried out in the Bastar region
hanced and the effect sustained. Further,
of Chhattisgarh. The state of Chhattisgarh
the utilization of harvested water remains a
occupies 13.77 Mha with a gross cropped
critical issue as most of it is not being used
area of 5.8 Mha. It is divided into 16 ad-
for cultivation. Major issues are lifting of wa-
ministrative districts and three agro-climatic
ter, adoption of suitable irrigation methods
zones namely Bastar plateau, Chhattisgarh
and selection of crops/ cropping systems, as
plains and northern hills. Bastar, where the
the quantity of water is limited in ponds.
work is carried out is located in the south-
We established a model, of series of ponds
ern part of Chhattisgarh, occupying 39.06
to harvest runoff in considerably large area
thousand sq. km area and divided in to
(50 ha). Dug wells were made in between
five districts.
these ponds and are used for trapping the
seepage water and using it for irrigation / The area is situated between 170 46’ to 200 34’
storage in ponds. Peddle operated low lift North latitude and 80015’ to 82015’ East lon-
pumps were provided to farmers for lifting gitude with altitude ranging from 550-760m
the water from ponds and plastic pipes for above mean sea level (MSL). The zone is sur-
water distribution. The financial support of rounded by Koraput district of Orissa state
NREGP was provided to farmers through on Eastern side, Warangal and Khammam
zilla panchayat of Bastar for construction of districts of Andhra Pradesh on southern


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

with no or a little use of fertilizers and plant

protection measures. Irrigation facilities are
negligible (about 3% of the cultivated area)
hence mono cropping “rice-fallow” is in

Climate and Rainfall

The climate is sub-humid type with an aver-
age rainfall of about 1400 mm. The rainfall
in Bastar is the highest with stability (Table
1). There is a considerable spatial variability
in the distribution of coefficient of varia-
tion in different districts. The highest coef-
ficient of variation (%) of annual rainfall is
in Kanker.

Climate Water Balance

The actual evapotranspiration shows spatial
variability in different districts. The surplus
water is highest in Bastar. This variability
of surplus water is due to soil and rainfall
Figure 1. Location Map of Bastar Plateau
variability. The period of surplus water be-
gins in mid July. This gives a general idea
side, Chandrapur district of Maharashtra about the time and amount of rainwater
state on western side, Rajanandgaon, Durg that can be harvested in different cropped
and Raipur districts of Chhattisgarh state area to alleviate the drought conditions. The
at Northern boundary of the zone. water deficit conditions start from the mid
About 97 percent-cultivated area of Bastar
plateau is rainfed. The cropping intensity
of the region is 104 per cent. Its elevation
Water Availability Periods
ranges from 300 to 600 above MSL. It re- The water availability periods are the peri-
ceives rainfall mainly through southwest ods where the rainfall is balanced against
monsoon. The rainfall varies from 1200-1600 the evaporative demand of the atmosphere,
mm. The zone is dominated with tribal pop- which is called “potential evapotranspira-
ulation, which accounts about 67% of the tion”. When rainfall is more than potential
total population. The economic condition of evapotranspiration, it is called humid pe-
the tribal farmers is very poor, in general riod. When rainfall is less than potential
and most of them are small farmers with evapotranspiration but it is more than half
fragmented land holdings. Rice is the major of PET is called moist period. The moist
crop of the region. Other important crops period occurs twice in a year, that is, prior
are minor millets, maize, horse gram, niger, to and immediately after the humid period.
toria, vegetables and fruit crops. Farmers The highest LGP is observed in the Bastar
adopt traditional methods of cultivation district.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 1. The district wise annual rainfall, seasonal rainfall, annual rainy days and
seasonal rainy days in Bastar
Station Annual CV (%) Seasonal Annual rainy Seasonal CV (%)
name rainfall (mm) rainfall (mm) days rainy days
Kanker 1371 28.6 1061 68 53 12.6
Bastar 1570 20.4 1218 83 63 13.8
Dantewara 1412 23.5 1172 76 62 17.8

Table 2. Dates of beginning of water surplus, water deficit period and annual
amount of AET, surplus and deficit in Bastar region
Water surplus Water deficit
District AET (mm) Starting Starting
(mm) Amount Amount
period period
Kanker 1371.0 739.4 586.7 17 July 733.2 15 Oct.
Bastar 1570.4 823.6 652.3 21 July 649.0 20 Oct.
Dantewara 1412.2 754.1 577.0 19 July 718.5 12 Oct.

Table 3. Water availability period for different stations in Chhattisgarh

Station name Moist-I Humid Moist-II L.G. P.
Kanker 10-25 June 26 June-24 Oct 25 Oct-10 Nov 154
(16) (121) (17)
Bastar 6-18 June 19 June-28 Oct 29 Oct-20 Nov 168
(13) (132) (23)
Dantewara 18-30 June 1 July-26 Oct 21 Oct-5 Nov 147
(13) (118) (16)

On Farm Site uplands consist of 55% area, followed by

The site is located in Village Tahakapal in 25% mid and 20% lowlands. Due to lack
Tokapal block of Bastar district. It repre- of in-situ moisture conservation measures
sents the typical undulating topography of like deep ploughing, contour cultivation,
the region (Fig 2). Bastar plateau Zone has inclusion of cover crops, use of organic
peculiar land topography. On the basis of manures, etc., most of the precipitation is
land topography, soil types and its phys- not conserved properly. Approximately 70
io-chemical properties, five major farming to 75% precipitation is being flown through
situations are identified. On top is upper drainage lines in the form of runoff. This
upland (Marhan), followed by lower uplands results in severe erosion in the uplands.
(Tikra), midland (Mal) and lowland (Gabhar) This excess flowing water is to be trapped
at the valley bottom. When upper upland is by formulating such technologies by which
protected, it is called homestead garden the water can be reused through sustain-
(Badi). The forest is on the upper side. The able approach.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 4. Farming situations of Bastar region of Chhatisgarh

Sl. Farming Area (% of Characteristics
No situation Cultivated)
1. Homestead 5 Protected, situated on the top of landscape close to homestead.
garden (Badi) Have light and well-drained soils, rich in organic matter. Early
maize-mustard (toria) is the most common crop sequence;
tuber crops. Sulphi-palm, vegetables are also grown.
2. Upper upland 28 Situated down the slope next to Badi. Have coarse textured,
(Marhan) shallow and infertile soils. Extra early varieties of paddy, small
millets like kodo, kutki, sama and mid season crops like niger
and horse gram are grown.
3. Lower upland 26 Situated next to Marhan down the slope. Have relatively better
(Tikra) and moisture retentive soils. Upland paddy, small millets, horse
gram and niger are grown.
4. Midland (Mal) 21 This occurs below Tikra lands. Suitable for rice (generally
5. Lowland 20 Occurs on valley part of topo sequence. Fields are bunded and
(Gabhar) have fertile soils. Rice is the main crop.

Figure 2. Farming Situations in Bastar Plateau Zone

Technology line of the area with the aim to conserve

A series of eight farm ponds were con- surplus flowing water (Fig 3). The size of
structed in lowland situation so that the the farm ponds varied from small to large
runoff water can be trapped and stored in depending upon the runoff contributing
different points following the natural drain area and area spared by the farmer. In


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the region like Bastar where rainfall and surplus water and outlet for discharging
surplus water is high it is not possible to of excess water. The embankments of the
determine the pond size only on the basis excavated farm ponds were maintained at
of water availability. Series of 8 ponds were 1:4 side slopes and were neatly dressed.
constructed following the natural drain line
and covering a command area of 50.0 ha. The dug wells were used in between and
The total cost of excavation was Rs 6.317 near the ponds so as to tap the seepage water
lakh with the support from National Rural from the excavated farm ponds (Fig 4). The
Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) dur- farmers were given paddle operated low lift
ing the financial year 2007-08. Shallow dug pumps for use in ponds and dug wells. This
wells were also constructed to harvest the tool is very economic and can be afforded
seepage water from the ponds and thus by most of the farmers. The cost of low lift
trying to conserve and utilize the maximum pump is Rs 1929/- only with appropriate sub-
amount of rainwater in the harvested form. sidy from the government under different
The average depth of shallow dug wells schemes. The water harvesting techniques are
was kept 15 feet. The total volume of water adopted by various developmental agencies
stored in 7 ponds of 30X35X3 M3 size and through watershed and other panchayat ac-
one pond of 65X60X3 M3 with total water tivities but without the proper implementa-
harvesting capacity of 33750 cum. The ponds tion of reuse technologies of this harvested
were scientifically constructed with proper water, it is treated as waste of precious land.
designing of inlet opening for tapping the So for encouraging double cropping system

Figure 3. Series of ponds and Dug wells for Water Harvesting

Figure 4. Shallow dug wells and Farm ponds following the natural drain line


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

by promoting low cost irrigation system in paddle operated low lift pump is a low cost,
the rainfed areas like Bastar, paddle-operated maintenance free, manually operated pump
low lift pump was distributed among the with a discharge capacity of about 3000-4000
farmers. After decline in the water level of liters/hr from a suction depth of 10-12 ft.
pond an innovative idea of two-stage lifting The pump is very lightweight and easy to
was also tested. The farmer lifted water from install and operate. One woman or even a
dug well to pond in first and in second stage child of above 14 yrs of age can operate this
the water is lifted from pond for irrigating pump for more than 2 ½ hrs/day, leading
vegetable crop. to a supply of about 0.7 acre-cm of water
per day for eight hours of working.
Results and Discussion With farm pond and low lift pump, the
Runoff from cropped and fallow lands is farmer is able to grow crops in the rabi sea-
harvested in small farm ponds in the low son, which was otherwise left fallow. He
lands of a marginal farmer, Sh. Sampat of could cultivate 1.5 acre of land to grow cau-
village Tahkapal, Post- Chhaparbhanpuri, liflower, tomato (Pusa ruby), onion (Royal
Tehsil-Tokapal, District-Bastar (C.G.). A Selection), radish, coriander (Selection-81),
pond of 30 X 30 X 3 m size was dug in spinach palaksag and lalbhaji) in the rabi
the field of Sh. Sampat with water storing season after the crop of paddy. A yield of
capacity of About 3150 m3 in one season 22274 Kg/ha of cauliflower, 12302 kg/ha of
from the runoff collected from the upper tomato, 12129 kg/ha of onion, 6738.5 kg/ha of
side of the farmland followed by a exist- radish, 1752 kg/ha of spinach palaksag, 1617
ing shallow dug well near to the pond for kg/ha of lalbhaji and 1887 kg/ha of corian-
tapping the seepage lose from the farm der were obtained. Growing of vegetables
pond. Paddle operated low lift pump was in the rabi season could give returns of Rs
provided to him for encouraging to take 65765/- from 1.5 ac of land by efficiently
up second crop cultivation by reusing the utilizing harvested water through paddle
stored water from the farm pond (Fig 5). The operated low lift pump. A 12.5% increase in
the yield of paddy (2.25 q/ha) is also expe-
rienced due to better moisture availability.
The net returns obtained by adoption of
this technology are 10.44 times higher.

Lessons Learnt
The technologies used in this case like farm
ponds, dug wells, low lift pumps and veg-
etable cultivation are already available and
are not new. However, it is important how
these technologies are linked in an area into
a successful model. Further, water harvest-
ing structures require initial capital invest-
ment and hence farmers are reluctant to
adopt. The government has started several
Figure 5. Irrigation from Pond-Low lift pump schemes but most of the farmers do not


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 5. Yield data of different crops at the project site (0.55 ha cultivated area)
Crop Yield (kg) Yield (kg) With Income (Rs)
Without farm farm pond- Before using low After using low
pond-Low lift Low lift pump lift pump lift pump
pump Technique
Paddy (Kharif) 964 1102 8194 9367
Cauliflower -- 5230 -- 41840
Tomato -- 155 -- 775
Onion -- 1800 -- 23400
Radish -- 250 -- 2000
Spinach --- 70 --- 1750
Lalbhaji -- 65 -- 520
Coriander -- 60 -- 480
Total Output -- 8194 80132
Cost of -- 1000 5000
Net income -- 7194 75132
Additional income -- 67938
* Excluding labor cost since family labor is involved.

know about these schemes. It is observed area is mono cropping of rice, millets and
that the financial institutions (zilla panchayat) maize, the Rabi season being fallow. There
have funds but do not have technical ex- are perennial streams and good soil mois-
pertise for program planning. Similarly, ture availability in lowlands. The lowlands
the extension departments are not able to have great potential of water harvesting and
mobilize communities for large-scale adop- utilization. However, due to lack of suitable
tion of technologies as an area action plan. technology and awareness farmers are not
Establishment of synergy between financial able to take advantage.
institution, extension agencies and research
organization is very essential.

Strategies for upscaling

The technology can be adopted / upscaled
in Bastar, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur
and Kanker districts of this region where the
landscape is undulating plateau with high
rainfall in the kharif season. This technol-
ogy can be used in midland and lowland
farming situations. Existing practice in this


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

The financial support from NREGA was to have a large impact on net income of
used with the help from zilla panchayat, tribal farmers.
Bastar, for digging the ponds. It was en-
sured that human resource from the village References
itself is employed. This helped in mobilizing Bhuiyen SI and Ziegler RS. (1994) On-farm
the village community towards adoption rainwater storage and conservation sys-
of water harvesting structures. The low lift tem for drought alleviation: issues and
pumps are available on subsidy from the challenges, in S.I. Bhuiyan (ed), On-farm
department of agriculture. If these funds Reservoir Systems for Rainfed Ricelands,
are properly tapped and social communi- IRRI, Los Banos.
ties are made aware of such facilities, water
harvesting and reuse can be given consid- Garrity DP. (1992) On-Farm research
erable boost. methods in the uplands: selecting an
experimental approach in Rice Farming
This technology is suitable for lowland, Systems Technical Exchange 2(3), Asian
which is 20% (182800 ha) of cultivated Rice Farming Systems Network (IRRI)
area in Bastar region. If this technology and Farming Systems and Soil Resources
is up-scaled even to 5% area, it is likely Institute (UPLB).


Experiences of Water Harvesting
through Farm Ponds in Alfisol and
Other Related Soil Regions

Farm ponds for a Viable and Profitable Dry Land
Agriculture – Experiences in Alfisols of Karnataka
GN Dhanapal, MR Umesh, H Mariraju, MH Manjunatha and
BK Ramachandrappa
University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, Karnataka

Abstract Introduction
The arable lands in the micro-watersheds Soil and water are the two important critical
in Alfisols are more prone to runoff and inputs in dry land agriculture. Land is fixed
nutrient losses leads to the degradation of in supply, which can not multiply but can
resources and land becoming barren in a be managed properly for optimum utiliza-
few years. Harvesting and recycling of rain- tion. Water is another scarce input owing
water in dry lands is important in order to to erratic and poor distribution of rainfall,
improve water use efficiency. Restoration which limits the production of crops. In this
and maintenance of resources in the long- direction, there is a need to emphasize the
run in micro-watershed requires holistic conservation of these limited resources with
and continuous management strategies. appropriate practices. Harvesting and recy-
Dry land Research Center, University of cling of rainwater in dry lands is important in
Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore evaluated order to improve water use efficiency (Shan-
the alternate use of harvested rainwater for kar and Shivakumar, 2005). Farm ponds are
soil and moisture conservation, crop pro- small storage structures used for collecting
duction, and fish farming in predominant and storing runoff water. The research cum
Alfisols of dry lands. The technology has demonstration plots were maintained at Dry
great influence on the local farmers leading land Research Center, University of Agri-
to swift adoption by many of them. cultural Sciences, Bangalore to evaluate the

Figure 1. Normal rainfall (1972-2007) received in different months at GKVK, Bangalore


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

alternate use of harvested rainwater for soil was 927 mm of which 18.1 per cent (166.7
and moisture conservation, crop production, mm), 55.6 per cent (513.1 mm) and 24.9
and fish farming. per cent (229mm) was received during
pre rainy (March- May), rainy (June- Sep-
Restoration and maintenance of resources tember) and post rainy seasons (October-
in the long-run in micro-watershed requires December), respectively. The rainfall was
holistic and continuous management strate- fairly well distributed from March to Octo-
gies. In watershed areas, natural resources ber with two peaks one in May (97.5 mm)
were conserved through soil and water and another in September (203.9 mm). The
conservation methods, compatible crops average number of rainy days is about 62
and cropping systems, inter-terrace man- days in a year.
agement practices and agro-forestry etc.
The arable lands in the micro-watersheds The experimental results (mean of eight
in Alfisols are more prone to runoff and years) indicated that the biomass yield of
nutrient losses leads to the degradation of horse gram was higher in the lower reach
resources and land becoming barren in a as compared to the upper reach in both
few years. Keeping these facts in view, a the live barrier blocks. However, Nase grass
long-term research cum demonstration ex- proved as effective live barrier in reducing
periment was planned at the Land Center, runoff and soil loss than compared to Khus
GKVK, Bangalore grass (Table 1).

The grain yield of finger millet was influ-

Methodology enced by inter-terrace management prac-
The soil and water conservation experiment tices in Alfisols of Dryland centre, GKVK,
was laid out in non-replicated permanent Bangalore. Relatively higher grain and
blocks with varying plot size (2640- 5610 m2). straw yield of finger millet was recorded
Horse gram was sown during early Kharif in lower reaches in both the live barriers
and it was incorporated in situ as a green as compared to upper reaches. While, Nase
manuring crop, followed by a short duration grass live barrier is found to be effective in
finger millet (100-105 days). In addition to reducing soil loss and improving grain yield
other biometric observations, horse gram of finger millet. The maximum soil moisture
biomass yield, finger millet grain yield were retention was observed in Nase live barrier
recorded at the upper and lower sides of and Khus live barriers as compared to the
the each block. Each block is separated by untreated block. The decrease in grain yield
about ten years old well established Khus of finger millet in untreated block was up
(Vetivera zizinoides) and Nase grass (Pennis- to 35 and 43 per cent over Khus and Nase
etum hoenickeri) live barriers along contour grass live barrier, respectively during eight
bunds compared with no live barrier (con- years (Table 2). The long-term experimental
trol). The number of runoff events and soil data indicated that Nase grass, as live bar-
loss were recorded in each block. rier is effective to reduce runoff and soil
loss. In-situ incorporation of early Kharif
sown horse gram followed by short dura-
Results tion finger millet is considered as sustain-
The average annual rainfall (1972-2007) able practice for improving soil and crop
received at dry land agriculture project productivity in drylands.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Results indicated that the soil + cement the combined seepage and evapora-
(8:1) lining with 5 cm thickness was tion losses were of the order of 28.5-26.2
found to be better in reducing seepage mm/day for 0-1 m head of water, 63.6
loss even though initial cost was high- mm/day in 1.0 to 2.0 m head of water
er (Somashekara et al., 2003). Further, (Table 3).

Table 1. Horse gram Biomass as influenced by inter-terrace management practices

Treatments Horse gram biomass yield (kg/ha)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Mean
Khus grass live barrier
Upper 7000 8000 17330 12590 11100 11210
Lower 7800 9930 22470 14430 12800 13480
Mean 7400 8970 19900 13510 11950 12340
Nase grass live barrier
Upper 7000 6630 20600 13870 11300 11880
Lower 8200 9970 20330 16450 13600 13710
Mean 7900 8300 20470 15160 12450 12860
Control 5600 6000 15530 8690 9600 9080

Table 2. Grain and straw yield of finger millet as influenced by inter-terrace

management practices (1999-2008)
Treatments Grain (kg/ha) Straw (kg/ha)
Khus grass live barrier
Upper 2530 4700
Lower 2720 6370
Mean 2630 5540
Nase grass live barrier
Upper 2530 4450
Lower 2980 6060
Mean 2770 5250
Control 1930 2570

Table 3. Seepage losses in field size farm ponds

Combined seepage and evaporation losses in
Head (m)
lined farm Pond (mm/day)
0.0-1.0 28.5
1.0-2.0 63.6
2.0-3.0 96.0
Small catchment (Cultivated area)
0.5-1.0 26.23
1.0-1.5 36.56
1.5-2.0 47.87
2.0-2.5 91.33


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Double Cropping System with protective irrigation during the dry spells
Protective Irrigation improved the system productivity under
rainfed eco-system.
Alfisols in the dry lands of Karnataka are
‘thirsty and hungry’ for natural resources A field experiment to study enhanced crop-
and suffer from intermittent drought. The ping intensity was conducted from 2000
rainfall received in two peaks is maximum to 2007 during Kharif at Dry Land Center,
during south-west monsoon (Aug-Sept) GKVK, Eastern Dry Zone of Karnataka. The
with an average annual rainfall of 927 mm experiment was laid out in split plot de-
distributed in 62 rainy days. The number of sign involving three forage crops and two
rainfall events, which cause runoff, varied chilli varieties at two fertility levels. The
from 25-30, depending upon the intensity results showed a high palatability of sweet
and duration of continuous rainy days. The sorghum as compared to other fodder
runoff water collected in farm pond could species. Chilli crop was transplanted soon
be utilized for protective irrigation during after the harvest of forage crops (65-70
the dry spells. We found that early sowing days old) during last week of July or first
of the fodder crops, followed by chilli with week of August. Two protective irrigations

Table 4. Double cropping of forage crops followed by transplanted chilli under

Kharif rainfed situation with protective irrigation during dry spells utilizing farm
pond water (Mean of 8 years)
Treatments Green forage Mean fruit Mean fruit No. Fruit length Dry chilli yield
yield (t/ha) yield (g/plant) per plant (cm) (kg/ha)
Main plot (Forage cropping) A
S.A. Maize (M1) 21.6 24.8 14.3 7.1 920
Sweet 13.4 21.6 13.1 7.5 830
Sorghum (M2)
Giant bajra 28.2 27.8 15.7 7.9 760
S.Em.+ 0.56 5.82 0.83 0.55 30
C.D. (p=0.05) 1.55 NS 2.30 NS 90
Sub plot (Chilli varieties) B
Samrudhi (V1) 26.3 13.6 7.7 960
Guntur-4 (V2) 23.2 15.1 7.3 720
S.Em.+ 2.67 1.21 0.40 40
C.D. (p=0.05) NS NS NS 90
Sub-Sub plots (Fertilizer Dose) C
Rec. Fert. 26.0 15.1 7.2 900
Dose (F1)
75% Rec. Fert. 23.5 13.6 7.8 780
Dose (F2)
S.Em.+ 2.16 0.71 0.41 25
C.D. (p=0.05) NS 1.56 NS 55
CV % 16.3 14.9 16.5 9


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Figure 2. Giant Bajra Figure 3. Chilli cv. Samrudhi

(approximately 5 cm depth) were provided on the efficient utilization of rainwater with

during the dry spells in August and Sep- a prime objective “better crop for every rain
tember using water from farm ponds. drop”. The Alfisols of the region are more
prone to all types of erosion, resulting in
The results (means of eight years) indicated loss of soil and nutrients accumulated in
that excess runoff water collected in farm the water storage structures. Thus, the nu-
ponds was utilized to take up double crop- trient rich runoff water could be utilized
ping system under dry land conditions. Sig- for production of crops, rearing of fish and
nificantly higher forage yield was recorded livestock under dry land condition. Keeping
in Giant Bajra (28.2 t/ha) as compared to these facts in view, a study was initiated
sweet sorghum and South African maize. in 2007-08 to determine the profitability of
The quality parameters of forage crops viz., fish production in farm ponds along with
neutral detergent fiber (77%), acid detergent crop production activity. The composite
fiber (57.4%) and silica content (9.83 %) were fish culture scientific technology for get-
higher in giant bajra whereas, crude protein ting maximum fish production from unit
content (15.64%) was higher in sweet sor- area through stocking of compatible spe-
ghum. Significantly higher dry fruit yields, cies of fish for rational utilization of natural
fruit number per plant and fruit length fish food resources and farm management
were recorded in chilli cv. ‘Samrudhi’ as techniques (Senthivelu et al., 2008).
compared to Guntur-4. Application of the
recommended dose of fertilizers out yielded Fish production in ponds was studied
both in forage crops and chilli varieties as with different breeds of fishes viz., Com-
compared to 75 per cent of recommended mon Carp, Catla, Rohu and Grass Carp fish
dose of fertilizers. The technology has been fingerlings were released in 4:3:2:1 propor-
accepted for inclusion in the package of tion, respectively to big (3200 m3) and small
practice book of UAS, Bangalore. The tech- ponds (180 m3) (Table 5). It is possible to
nology could be adopted by the dryland collect about 32 and 1.8 lakh litres water in
farmers wherever there is a facility of storage big and small farm ponds respectively and
structures to collect runoff water. could be stored up to four-five months. Wa-
ter samples were analyzed for sesquioxide
Fish Production and mineral content before and after the fish
The success of rainfed agriculture depends production. The catchment area for farm


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 5. Different sized Farm ponds and lining material

Small Farm pond
Particulars/Pond dimensions Big Farm pond
Top dimensions (m) Length – 35 m Length – 10.5 m
Width – 33 m Width – 10.5 m
Bottom dimensions L x W – 27 m x 26 m L x W– 6 m x 6 m
Pond depth 3.5 m 3m
Farm pond capacity 3200 Cubic mt 180 Cubic mt
Water storage capacity 32 lakh litres 1.8 lakh litres
Lining Kadapa slab Soil + Cement (8:1)
Height of lining material 1.2 m 3.0 m
Area of lining Bottom - 901 Sq. m Bottom - 36 Sq. m
4 Sides - 155 Sq. m 4 Sides - 138 Sq. m
(34.2 x 2 sides= 68.4 Sq. m & (34.26 x 4 sides)
43.2 x 2 sides= 86.4 Sq. m)
Total area lining 1056 Sq. m 175 Sq. m

ponds is from both arable and non arable and width, fish weight were recorded at
land. The different lining material tried in different intervals.
small farm ponds are stone slabs, bricks,
cement + soil (1:8) and frame work. A successful fish rearing is possible up to
three months in the big farm ponds (35 m
Application of lime, organic and inorganic x 33 m). Further, the runoff water use ef-
fertilizers is essential to improve the soil ficiency is possible to enhance by adopting
condition and supplement the nutrients in drip irrigation and other improved irriga-
the soil and water to ensure adequate and tion methods to add value to the harvested
continued supply of fish food organisms. water. Results indicated that the growth
Rate of lime application depends on the soil and development of all types of fishes was
status. For normal soils lime was applied at normal and each weighed 40-110g during
40 kg in 2-3 days before fingerlings released 2007-08 but was harvested before attain-
for both the ponds. Initial dose of 120 kg ing physiological maturity due to recession
cow dung, 5 kg of super phosphate and 5 in water level in the pond (Table 6). By
kg of urea were applied about 8-10 days adopting scientific method of fish produc-
before stocking the fingerlings. Thereafter, tion, about 50-60 kg in small farm pond (180
10 kg of cow dung, one kg of single super m3) and whereas, 400 kg in big farm pond
phosphate and one kg of urea were applied (3200 m3) fully matured fishes (6-8 months)
every month to maintain good growth of depending upon the maintenance of pond
plankton. Every day, ground nut cake and water could be harvested. So that, on an
rice bran were applied at the rate of 4 % average Rs. 2400/- would be the additional
of the body weight of fishes (Basavaraju, income from the activity (Table 7).
2002). For crop production activity, corn
was grown with two protective irrigations During 2007-08, as the water level in the
from harvested farm pond water during pond depleted earlier, fishes were harvested
the dry spells. Observations on fish length before attaining maturity. (Seenappa and
Khadar Khan, 2008)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 6. Mean weight of different breeds of fishes reared in farm pond.

Fish Breed Feeding zone Weight range (g) Mean weight (g)
Common carp Bottom 76.8 to 153.4 113.0
Catla Surface 20.4 to 67.4 40.2
Rohu Middle 30.6 to 60.4 44.8
Mrigal Top (grass) 9.6 to 27.3 17.3

Table 7. Economics of fish production: (225 sq. m. area)

Particulars Rs.
Farm pond preparation (lime and cow dung) 100
Fish fingerlings 150
Fish feed 940 kg@ Rs.7.5/kg) 300
Cow dung 300 kg (Rs. 500/ tonne) 150
Maintenance 200
Total 900
Fish yield 60 kg (Rs.40 /kg) 2400
Net profit (Rs.) 1500

Figure 4. Fish production in farm ponds


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Lessons Learnt Scarcity of fodder could be overcome by

Rainwater harvesting is a technology of growing fodder crops in the early kharif
runoff farming, which is most feasible in and chilli/vegetable crops could be raised
dry land areas. The technology of rain- by giving 2-3 protective irrigations using
water harvesting is highly location specific. water stored in the farm pond.
In very low rainfall areas, there is a need Different lining materials for farm pond
to induce runoff by treating the unculti- construction could be used from the locally
vated catchments with the objectives of its available resources in order to reduce the
collection in the cropped micro watershed. cost of construction.
Nase grass as a live barrier was helpful in
reducing runoff and soil loss in the micro
watershed. Runoff harvesting in reservoirs References
and its subsequent recycling for crop pro- Basavaraju Y. (2002) Potential for fish cul-
duction is an essential component of dry ture in water harvesting structures in
land agriculture. The profitable fodder watersheds, in: workshop on watershed
crops and chilli-based double cropping development programmes in Karnataka,
system is possible with protective irrigation April, 30, 2002 pp: 74-81
with water from the farm ponds. The results
are well accepted by farmers at the Opera- Shankar MA and Shivakumar HR. (2005).
tion Research Project sites. The fish culture Sustainable cropping systems for the
in dry land areas is technically viable and Deccan Plateau, Symposium on sustain-
economically feasible and could be adopted able agriculture for dry land on the Dec-
by marginal and small farmers. All the fish can plateau, knowledge for application
breeds performed better in growth and Bangalore. 214-222.
development. Effectiveness of Pisciculture Seenappa D and Khadhar khan H (2008).
depends on the period of water availability Jalaanayana Krishi Hondagalli Meenu Saa-
in farm ponds. Normally an area receiving kane (Kannada), technical leaf let, Direc-
rainfall more than 650 mm annum would torate of Extension, UAS, Bangalore.
be sufficient for fish production.
Senthivelu M, Surya Prabha AC and Sri-
kanth M. (2008). Farm ponds: A boon
Strategies for Up-scaling
for sustainable dry land agriculture,
Realizing the importance of farm ponds, the Rashtriya Krishi Technical Magazine, 3(20):
Karnataka state government in its golden ju- 55-57.
bilee celebrations has announced a scheme
popularly known as “Suvarna Krishi Hon- Somashekara K, Murukannapaa and Pan-
da” to motivate farmers by giving 50 per duranga. (2003) Rainwater management,
cent subsidy. In: Three decades of dry land agricul-
tural research for Alfisols of South Kar-
Farm ponds are the effective water storage
nataka (1971-2000). Pub: Chief Scientist.
structure to collect the excess runoff water,
Dry Land Agriculture Project, Editors:
in the areas receiving 650 mm or more rain-
Shankar, M.A., Manjunath, A., G.N.
fall and pisciculture could be successfully
Gajanan, Pandurangaiah, K., Lingappa,
taken up so that farmers were benefited by
B.S., Mariraju, H. and Indrakumar, N.,
additional income of at least Rs. 2,000/- to
Pp: 33-63.


Talaparige: A unique traditional Water bodies
Shree Padre and Mallikarjuna Hosapalya

Abstract Mat– sized Water Body that

Talaparige, a unique traditional water Irrigates Acres of Land
body was once very popular and found Consider a water body of the size of a mat
predominantly in Tumkur region of irrigating 5 to 100 acres of land. Recalls Dr.
Karnataka. Water from talaparige was Nagaraj of Akkirampura. “Talaparige used
widely used for drinking as well as ir- to provide water that would equal the out-
rigation purposes. By virtue of construc- put of a ten HP motor.” This water body
tional and locational uniqueness, talaparige situated near the cremation grounds of Ak-
can provide water after the normal tanks kirampura catered water up to 8 kilome-
dry off. As such, it comes in very handy and tres distance, up to the fields of Rayavara
useful during summer when entire village village.
experiences acute water shortage. In this
chapter the near extinct talaparige has been Though concentration of talaparige is high
thoroughly discussed with an essence of its in Pavagada, Madhugiri, Shira and Korat-
historical background and efforts made to agere taluks of Tumkur, it is prevalent in
rejuvenate it. adjacent districts like Chitradurga, Koodligi
taluk of Bellary and Kolar districts. In some
parts of Kolar, it is known as Ootekunte. Ac-
Introduction cording to some sources, similar structures
Talapariges, the small traditional water bod- are found in Ananthapur and Kadapa dis-
ies of Karnataka that saved many lives dur- tricts of Andhra Pradesh.
ing drought years barely quarter century
ago are today by and large forgotten. When According to the geology textbook of 6th
mention is made about the traditional water standard of fifties, “In Pavagada taluk of
bodies of the state, talaparige rarely finds a Tumkur district, farming was done by using
place. Unfortunately, no printed documents water from talaparige.” Recalls Chaluvaraj,
are available on the life-saving tanks. elderly historian of Pavagada: “In fifties and
sixties, at many points of Pavagada town
Though talaparige looks like a small tank, like the shandy street, bus stand etc. had
it is neither a tank nor a well. For a casual water springs that oozed out clean water.
onlooker hurried look, it looks like a small Nallamudda’s spring that was in the heart
pond. Not deep or wide as an open well. It of the town provided drinking water to all
is a unique structure. It is the only source of the population. The spring near the foothills
irrigation for summer crop. Water is taken of Pavagada hills is century old.”
through a channel and by gravity – without
using a motor. Ask Doddanna, 82, of Chikkasamjeevegow-
danapalya about presence of the massive


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

talaparige in the nearby Soolekere tank, Talapariges are considered as holy places
recalls he, has kept all the villagers alive too. People don’t walk in that area with
during severe droughts of early part of the chappals on, nor do they spit or throw
last century. Fresh in his memory is the wastage in the vicinity. Ancestors who have
drought of the seventies, which saw 6 to developed these water bodies have made
7 successive scarce rain years. Even now it strict rules as to who can use this water
provides water for irrigation. “At one time, and what is their collective responsibility
when our villagers tried to dry the talaparige towards that. Each talaparige has a gamkaara
for cleaning, it required 6-7 kerosene engines (water distributor) who decides and keeps
to pump out the water”, he recalls. The track of the water allowed to individual
Karnataka Irrigation Act, 1957 has reference properties.
to talapariges that were providing water for
less than hundred acres. K.M.Shankarappa At Hosapalya, Marammana jathra is con-
(80), a farmer from Siddapura was growing ducted once in every three years. During
paddy in hundreds of acres by using water the festival, Maramma, the goddess is taken
from talaparige. in procession for a ritual called ‘going to
jaladhi.’ The procession goes to the local
talaparige and elaborate pooja is conducted
The Foothill Spring
there. Devotees take this theerth before re-
Talapariges are situation specific and found turning from the holy water body.
in the areas of shallow topsoil beneath which
there is a rocky stratum. The rainwater that
falls on the land and the nearby hills slowly Three Types of Locations
gets percolated in the topsoil. The rocky Depending upon the location where tala-
stratum doesn’t allow water to go very deep. parige is found, it can be classified into three
As such, it finds out a lateral route. This types. The first one is situated in the floor
low-pressure flow of water comes up in of the tank. In the Tumkur district, con-
some points where soil is pretty sandy. siderable number of tanks has talapariges.
Second category is in the command area of
Our wise elders used to identify such
a tank. Third type is found on the banks
marshy spots and develop it into a water
of large streams or rivers.
body. To avoid the surrounding soil collaps-
ing into the pond, stonewall was built. The For the talapariges located in the tank floor,
pond with round-shaped retaining wall is rain percolated in tank’s catchments and the
called gerandi bavi and the ones with square nearby hill is the main source. For those in
walls as chowka bavi. Protection wall serves the command areas of the tanks, tank itself
another purpose too. It prevents the ‘eye is the source. For the third category, nearby
of water’ getting buried when the tank is river or stream is the feeder.
filled with water.
In a few cases, talapariges are dug in the
The retaining wall served two purposes – riverbed itself. For example, a big stream
one is protecting the spring. Secondly, it flows in Roppa village of Pavagada. About
provided clean water as the cattle and other three decades ago, farmers used to dig three
livestock didn’t have access to water. The talapariges in a gap of five kilometers. Re-
oozing water was taken in a channel to the calls Maruthi Prakash of Roppa. “They used
lands below for irrigation. to identify points where water still oozed


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

in the stream in summer. From this water ments, diminishing community spirit – all
body, they used to take water to the lower have contributed in their own way. Near
fields through a long channel. After a certain Koratagere town, a talaparige has been en-
distance, another talaparige was dug.” croached by an influential person who has
had a bore-well dug there. Madhugiri town
According to G.P. Choudhury who hails also has a similar example.
from Pavagada, “except for the talapariges
situated in the floor of tanks, a lot of plant Sand plays an important role in the func-
diversity also co-exists. Since sufficient mois- tioning of this water body. Rampant sand
ture is available in talapariges and on both mining that is going unabated from the
sides of its water channel, a good number rivers, tanks and even fields of late is also
of various trees like tamarind, pongamia, posing big threat. Latest addition to the list
jamun, etc., can be found there. As grass of threats is granite and blue metal–jally-
grows in their vicinity, sheep and cattle come mining. Mining activities are systematically
there for grazing. That area also attracts damaging the hills which are the main water
birds and wildlife”. feeders for talapariges. The recent crisis in
farming front seems to be the proverbial
These water bodies were maintained under last straw on the camel’s back.
community ownership. Maintenance, regu-
lar desilting of channels, etc., was carried
out by the local beneficiaries. Very rarely Slow Realization
talapariges are kept under individual own- A ray of hope is the slow realization of
ership. importance of talapariges is creeping in
the mind of communities. Pavagada and
Most interesting aspect of talapariges is that
Madhugirui taluks in Tumkur have very
they can provide water after the normal
high rate of fluoride in bore-well water that
tanks dry off. As such, it comes in very
goes around thousand feet deep. Quite in
handy and useful during summer when
contrast, the talaparige water is sweet and
whole village experiences water shortage.
safe without high fluoride content.
This is why, it can be termed as a ‘back-up
tank’ or ‘reserve bank for water.’ Nature Recently, there was an interesting develop-
plays a very contrasting role in the case ment in Basavanahalli village of Madhugiri
of talapariges located in the tank floors. As taluk. Jalasamvardhana Yojana Sangha (JSYS)
and when the tanks get filled with water, it drew a master-plan for the rejuvenation of
heaps upon silt on the tummy of talaparige. the local tank. Though the womenfolk had
If and only when this silt is cleared off, the demanded repair of talaparige too along
‘tank-in-tank’ provides clean water for the with the tank, it was not included in the
rest of the year! draft plan. Women weren’t ready to leave
the matter there. They tried to convince
Total ‘Death’ the District Collector as to how important
this water body is to them. An impressed
Unfortunately, most of the talapariges are
DC endorsed their views. Finally, two ta-
in a pathetic state today. Only a few are
lapariges that were buried under the tank
in good condition. Reasons for the de-
got a new lease of life. The channels were
cline are many. Introduction of bore-well
also desilted. This summer, the villagers took
technology, successive droughts, encroach-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

this water to their fields and protected their cash incentives, it might work. Compared
sixteen hectare paddy crop. to the tank desilting work that’s massive,
talaparige desilting is easy and within the
Till date, JSYS has rejuvenated more than local communities reach. If JCB – is used,
19 talapariges. Community demand at Kar- it might cost around Rs. 25,000.
ekyathanahalli, Tumakunte, Koththooru,
Devalakere, Magadalabetta, and Byalya Mahanthesh recalls a very interesting
have resulted in the rejuvenation of their happening at CK Pura three years ago.
talapariges. As there was severe water shortage else-
where, people started using talaparige
Madurai based NGO, DHAN Foundation water. Many of them were surprised to
has rejuvenated 8 talapariges in Tumkur realize that the leg and joint pains have
district and one in Kolar in the last five subsided after they had shifted to this
years, according to their Project Executive water. This was because the bore-well
Mahanthesh H.K. “We realized the impor- water they were using earlier had high
tance of these structures during the drought fluoride content and this water was safe.
periods, amidst the PRA sessions, the villag- Water shortage in the summer is acute and
ers took us and narrated the importance of a pot of sweet water sells for two rupees.
talapariges”, he reveals. Following their own If not for any other purpose, to provided
realization and rejuvenation programmes, safe cooking & drinking water in the heavy
DHAN Foundation had included talaparige fluoride areas, talapariges can be main-
in their awareness agenda. tained and water distribution can be
Mahanthesh has an interesting experience entrusted to local committees.
to narrate. At Kannamedi in Pavagada, a
farmer maintained a talaparige and used the People’s Initiative towards
water by lift irrigation. When DHAN Foun-
dation went to the village, he was happy
and offered that he too would contribute, if Dhanya, a Tumkur-based NGO has now
they are taking up the rejuvenation work. taken interest in sensitizing the communi-
He paid Rs. 5,000 as his contribution out ties about the need for rejuvenating tala-
of Rs. 67,000 total expenses. pariges. Latest issue of Jalasiri, the NGO’s
water newsletter has carried features with
Instead of going on digging bore wells, regard to this. As a first step towards this
why can’t Karnataka government rejuve- objective, they did a one day workshop,
nate selected talapariges wherever there ‘Come, Let us save talapariges’ at Madhugiri
is water scarcity? Notable is the fact that on August 10th 2008. For the first time, a 130-
talapariges give safe water that doesn’t have page book containing articles from grass-
harmful fluoride levels. If only the near- roots writers were released on that day. Re-
by villagers can be inspired to rejuvenate source persons from different areas shared
their talapariges with the provision of some their experiences and observations.


Farm pond for Income and Livelihood security :
A case study from Anantapur district of AP
B Shivarudrappa
BIRD-AP, Hyderabad

Abstract and fodder. The soil depth is approximate-

Harvesting every drop of rainwater in-situ ly 30-50 cms and the slope of the land is
is very crucial for promoting sustainable 2-6%. The soil is mainly red sandy loam
agriculture in the semi arid regions (GNS with patches of black soil with moderate
Reddy et al., 1999). The traditional concept of nutrients content. The total area selected
locating dug out structures (locally known for the project was 361 ha of which fallows
as KALYANI) at strategic locations was re- and wastelands constitutes 51 ha and the net
vived and promoted as farm ponds. This cultivated area was 304 ha. The major crops
was introduced for rainwater harvesting in grown during the kharif were groundnut,
the soil and water conservation measures pigeon pea, sorghum, castor, pulses, papaya
taken up under the DFID-NRSP Project and sweet lime, while paddy, groundnut,
R8192, implemented by BAIF in collabora- horsegram and vegetables were grown in
tion with CRIDA, ANGRAU, UAS (B) and the Rabi. The irrigation sources in this area
ICRISAT in 3 districts namely Anantapur & consists of tanks-2 Nos. (55 ha), dug and
Mahabubnagar districts in Andhra Pradesh borewells – 25 &100, check dam – 1 No
and Tumkur district in Karnataka during (50 ha). There were no percolation tanks
2002-05. This case study deals with the or farm ponds existing in this area prior
success story of two farm ponds executed to the project.
under the project at Pampanur Thanda in
Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. Identified Issues
• Low rainfall with uneven distribution,
Target Domain
• Poor crop yields due to moisture
The climate of the area is semi-arid. The stress,
mean annual rainfall is 520 mm with LGP
90-120 days. The summers are hot and • Non-availability of water harvesting
winters are mild. The area receives rainfall structures,
from both southwest and northeast mon- • Mono cropping of groundnut and lack
soon. Out of the total rainfall, only 10-15% of alternative choices and
water is utilized for agriculture, while the
remaining is wasted as runoff. There was • Inadequate fodder supply to milch ani-
not enough water harvesting structures in mals.
this area. Groundwater level is alarmingly The project site typically represents the semi
depleting (below 200 ft depth) and there arid areas and is characterized by frequent
was acute scarcity of drinking water, fuel droughts due to failure of monsoon. The


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

rainfall distribution is primarily uni-modal Although there was reluctance in the begin-
and results in heavy rains in a short period, ning, many farmers adopted farm ponds
causing high runoff and soil loss. Prolonged during the course of the project and used
dry spells between two rains during the them successfully for supplemental irriga-
monsoon occurs often, resulting in drying of tion. Two types of farm ponds were ad-
the sown crops. The soils are also poor and vocated and adopted by the farmers for
degraded. Farmers report that groundwater harvesting the runoff in the farmers’ field
is over exploited, resulting in the drying viz., farm ponds with lining and farm ponds
of open wells (PRA Findings, DFID-NRSP without lining. The unlined ponds are dual
(U.K) Project R8192). Crop cultivation is purpose, serving both as percolation ponds
restricted to a single season. This situation for groundwater recharge and as an irri-
called for strategies for harvesting and gation source. This case study pertains to
storage of rainwater for later use as well the success story of Mr. Govindu Naik of
as in situ conservation of the rainfall and Pampanur Thanda in whose field 2 farm
moisture. ponds were excavated during this project in
2003. By observing this success, the interest
The major crop in this area is groundnut of farmers in construction of farm ponds
and the productivity of groundnut is as has increased.
low as 400 kg/ha under rainfed condition
due to frequent dry spells during the
critical growth stages. Often, the economic Case Study
yields are not realized. It has been reported 1. Name of the farmer : Mr. P. Govindu
that increase in yield to the tune of 33% S/O. Meetya Naik
could be achieved with 1 supplemen-
tal sprinkler irrigation of 10 mm at pod 2. Total land holding : 8 acres (3.24 ha)
development stage (AICRPDA, 2003). 3. No of farm ponds : 2 (1 with lining +
Critical irrigation can be given to crops 1 without lining)
by harvesting and storage of runoff water
in dug out ponds and trench cum bunds 4. Dimensions : 10m x 10m x 3m
at suitable locations. 5. Type of lining: Gravel based with
cement and sand lining
Methodology 6. Cost of pond:
The intervention choices for cluster villages a. Pond without lining : Rs. 8000
to address water scarcity in agriculture were b. Pond with lining : Rs. 12000
construction of trench cum bunds, farm
ponds, water diversion structures, mini per- 7. Water storage capacity: 300 m3
colation tanks, check dams and gully plugs. The ponds were excavated in a partici-
During this project, a number of farm ponds patory cost sharing basis where in the
were excavated in the selected locations of farmer contributed 10% of the total cost.
the farmers’ field with 10% contribution by The ponds filled up by rainfall of 90 mm
farmers as labour or cash. The number of in 2 consecutive days. The unlined farm
ponds excavated in Pampanur was 7 +1 pond dried up in 4-10 days due to the
(lined) and 19+1 (lined) in Kothapalli. porous nature of the soil, indicating that


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

the potential for recharging the ground- The farmer has made use of the stored
water is good, but the water holding ca- water for life saving irrigation of mango
pacity is poor. This was clearly indicated plants and has established a 2-acre mango
by the increasing groundwater table. The plantation by pot watering with water from
groundwater depth prior to the excava- the lined farm pond. This way, farmer has
tion of farm pond was 90-150 feet. The managed to plant 150/200 mango saplings.
water level measuring device was used The water from the lined farm pond is be-
in a participatory way to sensitize the ing exclusively used for mango cultivation
farmers about groundwater table. After using drip irrigation.
the farm ponds were excavated (total
6 farm ponds in and around area), the
groundwater level has reached an average
depth of 35 feet. The unlined pond was
not much useful for supplementary irriga-
tion during the dry spells, but it helped
in recharging the groundwater (Currently
at 28 feet). The farm pond with lining
retained water from June to January.

The well, which was earlier defunct in the

farmers’ field, has now become recharged
and the water was used by the farmer
for irrigating the remaining 6 acres of his

Before executing the farm ponds, the farmer

had been cultivating groundnut only in the
Kharif and horse gram in the Rabi and the
productivity was as low as 4 q/ha. After


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

farm ponds were executed and water table monitoring groundwater level in the
improved, he was able to cultivate ground- presence of/with the involvement of
nut in 2 seasons. The groundnut produc- the farmers.
tivity was also enhanced to 7.9 q/ha be-
2. Sensitization makes the farmer more
cause the farm ponds provided water for
willing to adopt the farm ponds
irrigation during dry spells and his income
and other groundwater conservation
from groundnut was almost doubled. The
recharging of the existing defunct well has
enabled him to cultivate groundnut in the 3. Water for critical irrigation can be made
Rabi, producing 10 q/ha. available by excavating farm ponds to
harvest the rainwater.
Seeing the rise in the groundwater table,
(current level of groundwater at 28 ft.), the 4. Productivity can be enhanced by
farmer has drilled a bore-well in his field adopting farm ponds for soil and water
during 2006. Now he has started cultivating conservation
bananas, sweet orange, vegetable (tomato) 5. Crop diversification and cultivation
and paddy in addition to groundnut from of perennial crops – promoting agro
2007 onwards. Mango plantation started forestry can be effectively done by
yielding fruits from 2007. In 2007-08, the introducing farm ponds with lining.
farmer earned Rs. 1000/- from the sale of
6. Nutritional needs of the rural poor
mango and in 2008-09 he is expecting an
can be addressed by enabling them to
income of Rs. 8000-10000 through selling
cultivate vegetables through irrigation
of mango. Income from the other crops
from farm ponds.
namely banana, sweet orange, groundnut,
vegetable, paddy during 2007-08 is given 7. Farm ponds are means to achieve
below: increased income by farmers with low
Lessons Learnt A need for upscaling the success of farm
1. Farmers can be sensitized about the ponds is very essential, to bring about sus-
need and importance of rainwater tainable rural development. The strategies
harvesting using farm ponds through needed to be adopted for upscaling the
participatory learning approach by success of farm ponds are:

S.No Crop Area (Acre) Earnings (Rs)

1. Banana 1.0 1,00,000
2 Groundnut 2.0 30,000
3 Vegetables (Tomato) 1.0 30,000
4 Paddy 0.5 10,000
5 Mango 2.0 1,000
6 Sweet Orange 1.5 -
8.0 1,71,000


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

1. Exposure visits, Hyderabad, India: Central Research In-

stitute for Dryland Agriculture.
2. Regional workshops,
DFID-NRSP (U.K) Project R8192, Final
3. Policy briefs and
Technical Report. (2002-05) CRIDA,
4. Convergence with NREGS for Hyderabad, India
implementing farm ponds.
Reddy GNS, Doreswamy C, Raghunath K
and Basanth Kumar S. (1999) “Network-
References ing of Farm Ponds – A Novel Method for
Rainwater Harvesting and Management”.
All India Coordinated Research Proj-
Paper presented at National Workshop on
ect for Dryland Agriculture (AICR-
Watershed Management held at Trivan-
PDA). (2003) Annual REPORT 2002-03,
drum from August 15-16, 1999.


Farm Pond - A Means for Poverty Reduction-
Experiences from Chittoor district of AP
B Sada Siva
DHAN Foundation, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Abstract Tank-based Watershed

Chittoor district, located at the Southern Development Programme
end of Andhra Pradesh very often faces The watershed approach has been accepted
drought due to failure or late onset of as a means to increase agricultural produc-
the monsoon. Low and irregular rainfall tion. It can arrest the ecological degrada-
combined with poor soils have been iden- tion in rainfed and resource poor areas. It
tified as major challenging issues in this would at the same time, improve the level
region as far as earning livelihood from of living of the poor by providing more
agriculture is concerned. Tank-based wa- sustainable employment. The main thrust of
tershed program is being implemented in the programme relates to soil conservation,
the Punganur mandal of this district since water resources conservation, pasture de-
April 1998 by DHAN Foundation, a NGO. velopment and vegetative bunding. These
In this chapter, a case study has been pre- activities would be undertaken on both pri-
sented, where farm ponds have been ef- vate and government lands available in the
fectively used to alleviate poverty level of watershed area. In Watershed Development
a poor farmer and gradual improvement Programmes, the Government and many
of his socioeconomic level. NGOs ignore the existing traditional small-
scale water resources (tanks) because these
Introduction structures are considered by them as irriga-
tion sources. But in tank-based watershed
Chittoor is, one among the districts, located
programme, tanks are also considered and
in the Southern end of Andhra Pradesh
treated on a cascade basis. For each work, the
covering 15,152 Sq. kms. and very often
beneficiaries contributed 25 per cent of the
faces drought due to failure or late onset
expenditure as cash or labour or kind.
of the monsoon. It is situated between 120
37” of Northern latitude and 780 55” of the
About the Village
Eastern longitude and an altitude of 2386
feet (MSL). Penchupalle is a small hamlet with 42
households in the Kummaranatham micro
Low and irregular rainfall combined with watershed. The watershed was sanctioned
soil fatigue have proven the immediate need by district watershed development agency
to address this issue. As a part of that tank- (DWMA), Chittoor, during 2001-02. Except
based watershed program is being imple- 10 families, all are landholders. Only eight
mented in the Punganur mandal since April households are fully engaged in agriculture
1998 by DHAN Foundation. and all others work as wage labourers. Though
one tank exists, bore wells act as the major


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

source of irrigation in the hamlet. Majority of tective irrigation in times of delayed mon-
the population belong to SC community. soons in a small area. Here is a case study
of Mr. Ramaiah, who belongs to Penchu-
Environment palle, a small village in Punganur mandal
Red loamy, red sandy and white sandy soils of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. He
coexist in the village. Just before the inter- excavated a small farm pond as a part of
vention, groundnut, ragi and samulu were tank based watershed development pro-
the major crops grown in the drylands. Dry gram implemented by DHAN Foundation
paddy and sugarcane were grown under the during 2001–02. This project was funded
tank ayacuts. Due to severe drought for the by DWMA (Erstwhile DPAP), Rural Devel-
past four years, most of the bore wells and opment Department, and Government of
open wells dried up (Table 1). Agriculture Andhra Pradesh. After excavating the pond
was fully dependent upon the monsoons, and subsequent developments changed his
which often fail. The farmers with bore- lifestyle drastically and he has got good rec-
well mostly used to grow paddy and sug- ognition in the society. The cropping pat-
arcane. Migration was predominant among tern on agriculture land underwent suitable
the landless, marginal and small farmers. changes and he is happy with the crops
Though land is available, it was kept fallow growing in his farm.
due to the fear of loss of investment on
agriculture. Hence, the marginal and small History and Family Background
farmers also leave their lands fallow and Ramaiah (51 years old) is a native of a
join the labour force. small hamlet called Penchupalle in Kum-
maranatham panchayat of Punganur mandal
Rainfall in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. He be-
During the last five years, annual rainfall longs to scheduled caste community and is
was significantly higher only in 2001 as com- a marginal farmer with a land holding of
pared to the average rainfall during last 10 5.06 acres without any water source. He
years (Table 2). But late arrival of monsoon is living with his wife and two children.
in August, instead of June-July, was of little 30 years back, former Prime Minister, late
use to farming community. Either late ar- Smt. Indira Gandhi declared that those who
rival of monsoon or long dry spells during belong to scheduled castes could take hold
the cropping season made agriculture more of the land, which they are cultivating or
vulnerable in the mandal for the last five willing to cultivate. At that time, Ramaiah
years, where cropping season starts in June- cleared some wasteland near his village,
July and ends in November- December. which was around 9.5 acres. At the same
time, he also got a colony house. After tak-
Farm Pond: A Means of Poverty ing hold on that land he has struggled for
more than twenty years to get the registra-
tion. He had given four acres of land to his
Farm pond is a small scale water harvest- brother. It is a rainfed land with a slopy
ing structure constructed across the slope topography (2-6%slope).
of the land to hold rainwater for livestock,
groundwater recharge through infiltration During the year 2000, he approached
and life saving irrigation of the crops or pro- DHAN Foundation, Punganur, a volun-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

tary Developmental Organisation working he came forward to excavate the farm pond
towards bringing significant changes in the existing small dugout pond.
among poor farming communities in Chit-
toor district of Andhra Pradesh to excavate Implementation (Land Treatment)
a farm pond in that field through tank The pond was excavated with manual la-
based watershed development programme bour and the sectioning work was done.
and showed his field. The staff visited the In no time quarter of the pond was filled
site and advised him to excavate the exist- up with seepage water and it became the
ing pond and increase the pondage. The turning point of his destiny. He did bunding
Penchupalle Dryland Farmers Association work for his entire field under ‘Food For
(D.F.A.), a user group promoted by DHAN Work Programme’ to harvest the maximum
Foundation for the benefit of the villagers water with in his fields and received 280
asked him to deposit the Rs.1,000/- as contri- kgs. of rice and Rs. 1,560/- cash.
bution for an estimated cost of Rs. 4,000/- but
when he couldn’t pay that amount, it was Then, he came forward to excavate a small
reduced to Rs. 500/- as cash and remaining farm pond on upstream side of the existing
through kind. pond under ‘Food For Work Programme’ at
an estimated cost of Rs. 5,000/- and got 662
Only Ramaiah and his wife used to work kgs. of rice and Rs. 1,247/- as cash. He also
on the land because of fewer returns while realized that the harvested rain water, could
his other family members were engaged as be used to cultivate mulberry or paddy.
daily wage labourers in neighbouring vil-
lages. To cultivate the lands, he brought Rs. Agriculture Pattern Before the
5,000/- credit from private money lenders
Farm Pond
and purchased a pair of cows. Some amount
of money was engaged in silkworm rearing Before excavation of the farm pond, he used
and he got some income from there too. to cultivate the land once in a year on his
With this money he completed registration own without engagement of any labour-
of his lands, but he had to stop silkworm ers. Ramaiah used to grow Byrodlu (local
rearing as mulberry trees dried up because traditional variety of paddy) by broadcast-
of lack of rains. And it was the reason that ing method.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

I Phase - Agriculture Pattern After Farm Pond (during 2001-02)

Just after excavation of the farm pond, it got filled leading to many positive changes in
his agricultural ventures and even in his life.

First crop
Area under
Crop Expenditure (Rs.) Yield in kgs. Returns (Rs.)
cultivation (ac)
Groundnut 2.50 4000.00 2000 5000.00
Paddy IR-64 0.50 1000.00 900 4050.00
Paddy-Byrodlu 0.25 - 400 2000.00
Horse gram 1.00 500.00 200 2000.00

II phase - Observations of Family of M. Ramaiah on Farm Pond

(during 2002-03)
The stages of economic development of a poor farmer, Mr. Ramaiah, were very con-
spicuous and convincing. A small water harvesting structure called “Farm Pond”, which
worked excellently as means of poverty reduction.

Different crops were grown in patches all over his land around the farm pond are as
follows. He used common sense to grow multiple crops making good use of land and
also water available in that farm pond.

Name of the Extent (Per Investment Output Out put Profit

crop cent) (Rs.) (Quantity) (Rs.) (Rs.)
Paddy 25 750.00 7 qtl 3,150.00 2,400.00
Tomato 75 1,280.00 --- 4,100.00 2,820.00
Tomato 25 400.00 --- 7,700.00 7,300.00
Coriander 10 1,040.00 --- 3,000.00 1,960.00
Coriander 10 600.00 --- 1,500.00 900.00
Tomato 30 500.00 --- 8,000.00 7,500.00
Paddy 13 700.00 3.5 qtl 1,700.00 1,000.00
Total 5,270.00 28,950.00 23,880.00
(Note: The investment made for labour, ploughing and intercultural operations were met by him.)

Expenses made from the income/output

• Rs. 4,100.00 – Rs. 2,000.00 – household expenses
Rs. 2,100.00 – clothes for the family members
• Rs. 7,500.00 – utilized for paying the debts and got back his pair of cows which were
taken away by money lenders.
• After getting back his cows, he sold them and purchased a diesel engine to irrigate
his lands from the farm pond.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• Immediately he began cultivating earned additional Rs. 10,000/- (apart

tomato without hiring labourer. He from his own use)
also decided to utilize the water more
effectively. Inference
Farm pond is really a means of poverty
• For Rs. 8000/-, he purchased a pair of reduction, because by investing just Rs.
milch animals (cows) 5,270/- the farmer earned a profit of around
• He got 10 liters of milk per day, which five times more than the investment. The
he sold and earned about Rs. 70/- to important factors that contributed to the
80/- per day. So far he earned said changes are –
Rs. 4,500.00/- from selling milk alone • Hard work
after deducting the investment made • Common sense
for labour and fodder.
• Dedication
• He purchased a house near by for • Memories of the problems he suffered
Rs.1,500.00/-. in the past
• He gives the diesel engine for rent and • Above all the “farm pond”

III phase of Farm Pond - M. Ramaiah (2003 - 2004)

• Sold out a pair of cows (because now he has pair of bullock) for Rs. 7000/- in Oct -
2003 and purchased 9 sheep worth of Rs. 12000/-.
• Began cultivation of mango in 6 acres of land.

Value of out Month of

Crop Extent (ac) Investment Out put
put sowing
Paddy - Byrodlu 0.50 1450.00 5 qtl 2250.00 Aug - 03
Paddy - Tella hamsa 0.50 1000.00 8 qtl 4800.00 Sep - 03
Ragi 0.50 500.00 2 qtl 950.00 Sep - 03

IV phase of Farm Pond - M. Ramaiah (2004 - 2005)

Details of cultivation in his lands near the pond
Extent Investment Out put Value of out Month of
Crop Cropping
(ac) (Rs.) (kgs.) put (Rs.) sowing
Paddy 0.25 Rainfed 630.00 70 1,330.00 June - 04
Paddy 1.00 Irrigated by pond 2,000.00 900 7,400.00 July - 04
Tomato 0.25 Irrigated by pond 1,000.00 1,000 4,000.00 June - 04
Field bean 0.25 As inter crop in Tomato 360.00 800 6,000.00 June - 04
Groundnut 5.00 Rainfed 4,650.00 1,200 4,100.00 June - 04


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Details of cultivation in the land taken for lease

Paddy 1.00 Irrigated 2,500.00 400 3,300.00 July - 04
Ragi 0.75 Irrigated 1,420.00 300 1,050.00 June - 04
Tomato 0.50 Irrigated 2,050.00 1,750 3,500.00 June - 04

Other Activities Impact of Farm Ponds

• Taken Rs. 7,000/- loan from a micro fi- Farm pond is a small water harvesting
nance group for all the above mentioned body made by either construction of em-
agricultural activities. bankment or excavating pit/dug out in
the lowest point of the field where wa-
• Purchased 16 sheep. ter tends to accumulate. The ideal loca-
• He took 2.25 acres of land (having bore- tion for a farm pond is the lowest point
well as water source) on lease from a of the private field in middle and lower
large farmer of the same village. reaches so that any excess water from the
field can be stored. It facilitates recharge
• Provided wage employment to many
of the groundwater through infiltration
labourers of the same village through
and provides protective irrigation in times
agricultural activities.
of delayed monsoons.
• He planned to go for a holy visit to Shaba-
rimalai in Kerala and visited twice. Tomato and mulberry are the most pre-
ferred crops by the farmers with farm
Success of the Programme ponds. Seepage caused by the presence
of pond increased the moisture level in
• Stakeholdership on assets created: Con- the field and prompted farmers to go for
tribution from the user (25% of the total moisture loving crops. In this village, hor-
estimated cost paid as contribution) ticulture was extensively promoted under
• Direct stake holders participation in the farm ponds. They take the water from
works execution the pond and use it for the irrigation of
the crops. Thus, 14 acres of mango planta-
• Need-based trainings and exposure vis- tions were established through the farm
its to the suitable locations to the stake pond water.
• Need-based works implementation Details of Groundwater Recharge
• Other civic activities intervention In the Penchupalle village, groundwater
recharge was observed at a nearby farm
• Creation of endowment fund for the pond. In an open well, belonging to a farmer
sustaining the farmers associations named C. Krishnappa, the water level in-
• Availability of credit through micro fi- creased to six feet and the area under ir-
nance to the farming communities for rigation increased by 0.5 acre and able to
agriculture and allied activities support their mulberry crop. These ponds
also have considerable impact on the mi-
• Technical support through Agriculture gration pattern.
Development Centres


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Strategies for Up-scaling this inputs for the farm ponds purpose. The
Initiative existing projects under NABARD, CAPART,
Rural Development projects can be fine
The stakeholders need to involve in the
tuned towards this end and new projects
activity from the planning stage itself. In
in the relevant departments like National
order to make the farmers/beneficiaries un-
Rainfed Areas Authority (NRAA), etc., can
derstand, we need to make them aware
be developed towards fulfilling the require-
about the activity through capacity build-
ment of the farmers in rainfed and drought-
ing events or by organizing exposure visits.
prone areas. In the existing programmes
The respective farmer needs to contribute
like National Rural Employment Guarantee
at least a part of the total cost in the total
Scheme (NREGS), farmers can plan where
amount of work without fail in order to get
to take up the activity and involve in the
the stake. In addition, the farmers needs to
activity throughout the implementation pe-
get the financial assistance through some
riod. The will help in the asset creation in
mechanism (in this case, it was facilitated
the farmer’s field. But, we need to ensure
through micro finance group formed for the
the involvement by the respective farmer.
purpose) for agricultural activities. The tech-
nical support regarding agriculture and its
allied activities also need to support through Conclusion
the agri clinics. In the field of Mr. Ramaiah, after excavating
the pond, it changed his lifestyle drastically
Innovations in Financing and he got good recognition in the society.
The farmers can be provided incubation The cropping pattern on his agriculture land
fund with interest free loan / with mini- changed. All in all, he is a happy man with
mum interest to those who are interested to the crops grown in his farm.
take up the activity with more technological


Rainwater Harvesting and Supplemental Irrigation
through Farm-ponds and Evaluation of Lining Materials
B John Wesley, R Swamy, T Yellamanda Reddy
Agricultural Research Station, Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University,
Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Abstract (Reddy et al., 2003). However, the rainfall

Water harvesting and supplemental irri- occurs in high intensity and induces runoff.
gation through dug out farm ponds with Chittarangan et al (1996) reported that runoff
different lining materials were studied at events mostly occur in July, September and
Agricultural Research Station, Anantapur October in the semi-arid tropics of South
during 2003-2007. The treatments included India and could be harvested into dug out
lining material, sodic soil; cement + sodic ponds. The adverse effect of drought can
soil (1: 10); cement + soil (1: 8); cement + be overcome by application of stored water
murrum (1: 6); cement + soil + murrum during dry spell.
(1: 3: 5); cement + cement bricks; cement
+ sand + bricks and Kadapa slabs. Greater Materials and methods
amount of runoff water was retained by
A field experiment was conducted at the
cement + murrum as the lining material of
Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural Univer-
the pond. The length of cracks developed
sity, Agricultural Research Station, Anan-
in the cement + murrum lined farm pond
tapur, Andhra Pradesh, India during 2003
was minimum as compared with other treat-
to 2007. The experiment consisted of two
ments. Four runoff events were recorded
major components. Lining of farm ponds
during the crop season and crop yields were
and supplemental irrigation,
increased by 120 per cent by giving two
supplemental irrigation of 10 mm each for 1) The treatments for lining farm ponds
breaking the dry spell of 43 and 37 days dur- were:
ing vegetative and pod development stages, T1: Sodic soil
respectively. The haulm yield increased by T2: Cement + sodic soil (1: 10)
50 per cent. T3: Cement + soil (1:8)
T4: Cement + murrum (1: 6)
T5: Cement + soil + murrum (1:3:5)
Introduction T6: Control
Groundnut is cultivated on 14 million ha
2) The treatments under supplemental
area during the kharif under rainfed con-
irrigation were:
dition. Anantapur district is the largest
T1: Control
groundnut growing district in India with
T2: Supplemental irrigation with
an area of 0.65 to 0.85 million ha in different
10 mm of water with sprinkler
divisions with rainfall as low as 250 mm. The
whenever the dry-spell was more
length of the dry spells in the district ranged
than 10 days and water was
from 15 to 55 days. Rainfall is the most
available in the farm ponds
limiting factor in groundnut production


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Climate of the region is classified as arid different types of material. Each farm pond
tropics with decennial rainfall of 550 mm, was filled with 1000 liters of water. Evapo-
mainly received from June to October. The ration and seepage losses were measured
mean annual open pan evaporation is 2050 regularly until end of the experiment.
mm. The soils are shallow in depth (20 cm),
low in available N, medium in available A farm pond of size 11 m x 11 m x 2.5 m was
phosphorus (32 kg/ha) and available potas- constructed and lined with Cuddapah slabs
sium (20 kg/ha) and have a pH of 6.5. (locally available slabs with a size of 1 m x 1
m with thickness of 5 cm). The fields were
Small farm ponds of size 1.0x1.0x1.0 m (trap- provided with graded bunds and runoff
ezoidal shape) were dug and lined with water was collected in the farm pond. The

Farm pond lined with Kadapa slabs

Farm pond lined with cement bricks

Farm pond lined with bricks


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Farm pond lined with cement + soil (1:8)

Farm pond lined with cement + murrum (1:6)

Farm pond lined with sodic soil

catchment area for the farm pond was 5 ha, Results and Discussion
which was being cultivated with groundnut
Lining of Farm Ponds
during the rainy season (kharif).
The results clearly indicated that the farm
The crop was sown on 20.5.2004 with rain- pond lined with cement + murrum pro-
fall received on 17.5.2004 and harvested duced better results compared to other lin-
on 7.9.2004. The widely grown variety of ing materials. The length of cracks (2 mm
groundnut TMV 2 was used as the test size) developed in the cement + murrum
variety. lined farm pond was minimum as compared


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

with cement +soil, cement + soil+ murrum, Only two farm ponds at field No. 4 and
sodic soil + cement and sodic lined farm 33 were lined with Kadapa slab and the
ponds. In the sodic soil, farm pond lined rest ponds were left unlined. During 2004,
material continuously depleted and settle four farm ponds at the station were lined
down at bottom. Seepage losses were more with different materials like sodic soil, ce-
due to the dissolution of lined material from ment bricks, cement + soil (1:8) and brick
sides of the pond. material. These farm ponds were filled with
runoff water four times on 17-05-04 (43.4
Farm pond lined with cement + sodic soil mm), 25-05-04 (53 mm), 13-07-04 (41 mm)
recorded low seepage losses and cracks com- and 04-09-04 (42 mm) during the kharif,
pared to sodic soil lined material. The farm 2004. The quantity of runoff water filled
ponds were filled up thrice on 29-09-03 (43 in the farm pond in each rainfall event is
mm), 20-10-03 (42.4 mm), and 24-10-03 (18 presented in the Table 3.
mm) and runoff collected during rainfall
events are presented in the Table 2.

Table1. Length of cracks and evaporation losses in farm pond (1m x 1m x 1m)
lined with different types of materials.
Treat- Length of crack Evaporation
Lined material
ments size 2 mm, (cm) losses (cm/ day)
T1 Cement + murrum 115 460 396 12.5 6.0 5.0 3.5 3.2 3.0
T2 Cement + soil 332 592 520 5.5 5.0 4.0 4.5 4.0 3.5
T3 Cement + soil + murrum 200 502 212 4.3 5.5 6.0 5.0 4.7 4.5
T4 Sodic soil 571 638 550 35.4 36.0 ----
T5 Sodic soil+ cement 487 442 429 8.5 11.0 10.5 8.5 6.8 5.7
T6 Control NA NA NA 56.0 ----

Table 2. Farm pond capacity, lining material and quantity of runoff water
collected during kharif 2003.
Shape of Storage No. of times Amount of runoff
S. Lining
Location the farm capacity farm pond collected at each
No material
pond (lit) filled rainfall (lit)
1 Field No.4 Trapezoidal Kadapa 1,75,000 2 i) 50400 ii)29000
slabs iii)1489 iv)6827
2 Field No.12 Trapezoidal -------- 244163 1 i)not dug ii)154000
iii)----- iv)------
3 Field No.16 Square -------- 1,50,000 2 i) 150000 ii)4217
iii)---- iv)682
4 Field No.18 Trapezoidal -------- 429333 1 i)not dug ii)25200
iii)----- iv)------
5 Field No.33 Trapezoidal Kadapa 6,50,000 1 i) no source ii)13663
slabs iii)------- iv)26848


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 3. Farm pond capacity, lining material and quantity of runoff water
collected during kharif 2004.
Shape of Storage No. of Amount of runoff
S. Lining
Location the farm capacity times farm collected at each
No material
pond (lit) pond filled rainfall (lit)
1 Field No.4 Trapezoidal Kadapa 1,75,000 4 i) 1,75000 ii) 1,75000
slabs iii) 39928 iv) 1,75000
2 Field No.12 Trapezoidal Sodic soil 244163 2 i) ------- ii) 162753
iii) ------- iv) 244163
3 Field No.16 Square Cement 1,50,000 2 i) ------- ii) 1,50,000
bricks iii) ------- iv) 1,50,000
4 Field No.17 Trapezoidal Unlined 123050 1 i) Not dug ii) 85211
iii) ------- iv) --------
5 Field No.18 Trapezoidal Unlined 429333 2 i)------- ii) 247000
iii)------- iv)85000
6 Field No.19 Square Cement 2,25,500 2 i) Not dug ii) Under
+Soil construction
iii) 2,25,500 iv) 2,25,500
7 Field No.21 Trapezoidal Bricks 4,13,300 i) ------- ii) -------
iii) ------- iv) -------
8 Field No.33 Trapezoidal Kadapa 6,50,000 3 i) 228708 ii) 6,50,000
slabs iii)------ iv) 17257

During the year 2005, some farm ponds were not given to the crop during kharif 2006 at
lined with different types of materials i.e. the station.
sodic soil; cement + sodic soil (1: 10); ce-
ment + soil (1: 8); cement + murrum (1: 6);
cement + soil + murrum (1: 3: 5); cement
Supplemental Irrigation
+ cement bricks; cement + sand + bricks The experiment was conducted on large sized
and Kadapa slabs. plots of one hectare each treatment. The two
treatments tested were rainfed and irrigat-
During 2006, three farm ponds were con- ed. Supplemental irrigation was given with
structed at the station and another three sprinklers to a depth of 10 mm whenever
farm ponds were constructed at on-farm water was available in the farm pond and
sites in the villages namely Pathacheruvu, when the dry spell was more than 25 days
Siva Puram and West Narasapuram. All the during the vegetative stage and more than
above farm ponds were lined with cement 8 days during the pod development stage.
+ murrum (1:6). Four mild runoff events The supplemental irrigation was given on
were recorded during the crop season. Farm 21.6.2004 and 20.7.2004. Data was collected
ponds were not sufficiently filled due to on water levels in farm ponds, plant height,
low intensity and less amount of rainfall. number of flowers, number of pegs, number
Because of this, supplemental irrigation was of pods, pod and haulm yield.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 4. Farm pond capacity, lining material and quantity of

runoff water collected during kharif 2005.
No. of times Quantity of water at Quantity of water at
Location farm pond Date time of filling (lts), time irrigation (lts),
filled lakh lakh
1 Field No.4 3 30-05-2005 i) 1.50 -------------
16-07-2005 30- ii) 2.40
08-2005 iii) 2.40
2 Field No.12 2 16-07-2005 30- i) 8.40 1.95 (24-08-05) 1.25
08-2005 ii) 8.40 (29-09-05)
3 Field No.13 2 16-07-2005 30- i) 2.44163 Drip Irrigation given
08-2005 ii) 2.44163 to tamarind (22-08-
4 Field No.16 2 16-07-2005 30- i) 1.50 --------------
08-2005 ii) 1.50
5 Field No.17 2 16-07-2005 30- i) 2.23050 1.82 (22-08-05) 1.40
08-2005 ii) 2.23050 (30-09-05)
6 Field No.19 2 16-07-2005 30- i) 2.25500 1.50 (21-08-05) 1.65
08-2005 ii) 2.25500 (04-10-05)
7 Field No.21 1 30-08-2005 1.42000 --------------
8 Field No.33 1 30-08-2005 6,50,000 --------------

The total amount of rainfall received during ing the dry spell of 38 and 34 days during
the crop season was 348.6 mm in 2004. There vegetative and pod development stages, re-
were four rainfall events of more than 40 spectively. Similarly, the haulm yield was
mm, which resulted in runoff and filling of increased by 36 per cent. The cost of the
farm pond took place during those events. construction of cement + murrum farm
There were two prolonged dry spells of 43 pond was reduced to 60 per cent as com-
and 37 days duration during the vegetative pared to cement + cement bricks; cement
and pod development stages respectively + sand + bricks and Kadapa slabs.
and one mild dry spell of 11 days during
pod initiation stage. The soil moisture just In Sivapuram and Venkatapuram villages,
before the first supplemental irrigation was two supplemental irrigations of 10 mm each
2.67% in 0-15 cm of soil depth, which is less were given to groundnut crop using stored
than that at the permanent wilting point water in farm pond during 2006. The yield
of the soil. increase was 35 % in both of the villages
as compared to no supplemental irrigation.
Four runoff events were recorded during The groundnut yields recorded are 722 kg/
the 2005 crop season and crop yields were ha and 756 kg/ha, respectively.
increased by 33 per cent with two supple-
mental irrigation of 10 mm each for break- During kharif 2007, one supplemental


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 5. Farm pond capacity, lining material and depth of

water collected during kharif 2006
Depth of water in farm pond (cm)
Field No.andlining Date 16-9-06 Date 27-9-06 Date 4-11-06 Date 16-11-06
material Rain fall Rain fall Rainfall Rain fall
29.4 mm 32.6 mm 43.6 mm 13.4 mm
1 ( Cement + Murrum 1:6) 0 0 17.5 0
4 ( Kadapa slabs ) 0 45 10.0 0
12 (A) Sodic 0 57.67 0 0
12 (B) Sodic 0 28 0 0
12( C) Cement + Murrum 24.89 43.43 37.35 35.6
21 (Brickes) 0 0 0 0
19 (A) Cement + Murrum 23.67 90.0 55.0 34.5
19 (B) Cement + Murrum 10 63.6 15.0 10.0
18 ( Cement + Murrum 61.3 92.25 53.5 50.0
17 ( Cement + Murrum 45 0 65.0 50.5
30 (Unlined ) 0 0 0 0
27 (A) Cement + Murrum 10.0 16.0 3.0 7.5
27 (B) Unlined 0 0 0 0

Table 6. Farm pond capacity, lining material and depth of

water collected during Kharif 2007
Depth of water in farm pond (m)
Field No. and lining Date 7-6-07 Date 16-06-07 Date 21-07-07 Date 25-08-07
material Rain fall 50.8 Rain fall Rainfall 28.6 Rain fall
mm 20.0mm mm 110mm
1 ( Cement + Murrum 1:6) 1.10 0.90 1.50 0.90
4 ( Kadapa slabs ) 2.50 2.00 1.45 2.50
12 (A) Sodic 1.40 0.82 0.10 2.50
12 (B) Sodic 2.50 1.18 0.10 2.50
12( C) Cement + Murrum 2.50 1.15 0.43 2.50
21 ( Brickes ) 0.30 0.00 0.04 2.50
19 (A) Cement + Murrum 2.50 1.65 2.50 2.50
19 (B) Cement + Murrum 2.50 1.15 1.08 2.50
18 ( Cement + Murrum 2.50 1.20 1.83 2.50
17 ( Cement + Murrum 2.50 1.00 2.5 2.50
30 (Unlined ) 0.80 0.25 0.03 2.50
27 (A) Cement + Murrum 0.32 0.18 0.05 0.17
27 (B) Cement + Murrum 0.70 0.30 0.03 0.64


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 7. Yield attributes and yields of groundnut as

influenced by supplemental irrigation
Parameters Rainfed Irrigated
Filled pod/m 2
50 153
Hundred pod weight, g 43 45
Shelling percentage 68 69
Pod yield, kg/ha 315 698
Haulm yield, kg/ha 1250 1843

Table 8. Yield and yield attributes of groundnut as influenced by supplemental

irrigation during kharif 2005
S. Rainfed Irrigated Per cent
Location Parameters
No. (kg/ha) (kg/ha) increase
1 Field no. 17 Pod yield 515 773 33.37
Halum yield 727 840 13.45
Shelling percentage 59.515 66.25 10.16
2 Field No.19 Pod yield 437 655 33.28
Halum yield 526 832 36.77
Shelling percentage 61.5 65.45 11.14

irrigation of 10 mm was given to groundnut There was marginal increase in hundred-

crop using stored water in farm pond at field pod weight and shelling percentage with
no 3 of ARS, Anantapur. The yield increase supplemental irrigation. Pod yield of rainfed
was 18.4 % as compared to no supplemen- crop was 315 kg/ha compared to 698 kg/ha
tal irrigation. The increase in haulm yield with supplemental irrigation. Similarly, the
and shelling percent were 17.8 and 10.1, haulm yield was higher (1843 kg/ha) with
respectively. supplemental irrigation than rainfed crop

Table 9. Yield and yield attributes of groundnut as influenced by supplemental

irrigation from farm ponds at 2 villages during Kharif 2006.
S. Irrigated kg/ Per cent
Location Parameters Rainfed kg/ha
No. ha increase
1. Sivapuram Pod yield 535 722 34.9
Halum yield 740 860 16.2
Shelling percentage 55 62 12.7
2. Venkatapuram Pod yield 560 756 35
Halum yield 720 810 12.5
Shelling percentage 62 69 11.2


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 10. Yield and yield attributes of groundnut as influenced by supplemental

irrigation from farm pond in field No. 3 during kharif 2007
S. Rainfed, Irrigated, Per cent
Location Parameters
No. kg/ha kg/ha increase
1 Field no .3 ARS, Anantapur Pod yield 1055 1250 18.4
Haulm yield 1650 1945 17.8
Shelling percentage 59 65 10.1

Water harvesting (farm pond) and supplemental irrigation through sprinkler system

(1250 kg/ha). The higher growth and yield regions. Pod yield of groundnut can be
of the crop with supplemental irrigation was substantially increased in drought-prone
due to availability of more soil moisture areas with dugout ponds and supplemen-
for plant growth and development. Plants tal irrigation.
with irrigation had longer leaflets exposed
to sunlight, resulting in longer period of
photosynthesis. In the present study, the References
increase in yield with 2 supplemental irriga- Reddy TY, Reddy VR and Anbumo-
tions was 121 % with 10 mm of irrigation zhi V. (2003) Physiological responses
water during each irrigation. of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) to
drought stress and its amelioration: a
From these results, it can be concluded that review. Acta Agronomica Hungarica, 51
water can be harvested and supplemental (2) pp 205 – 227.
irrigation could be given even in the arid


Farm Pond Technology for Semi-Arid Alfisol Region of
Telengana in Andhra Pradesh
PK Mishra, KV Rao and MV Padmanabhan
Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad

Abstract beyond 75 cm. The slope varies between 1

The effect of combined land uses on the to and 5% with an average of 3%, depend-
behaviour of water yield for designing the ing on the slope, soil depth, graveliness and
storage structure and utilizing the water for erosion inventory. The broad land use pat-
small scale supplemental irrigation has been tern in the watershed is given in Table 1.
carried our at semi-arid Alfisol of Telangana The land capability classes vary from class
region of A. P. The experience at farm level II to class VIII.
has shown enough potential of brick lined
Table 1. Land uses in the watershed
farm pond technology in growing vegeta-
bles in the off-season by satisfying water S. Area
Land Use
requirement at 50% of weekly evaporation. No. (ha)
This technology may be more viable and 1. Crop land 1.47
economical in vertisols where lining is not 2. Vegetables 0.13
3. Horticulture 1.43
4. Natural vegetation (Pasture) 0.92
Farm pond – A Case Study at 5. Fallow(road) 0.05
CRIDA Total 4.00
A micro-watershed (4 ha) on Alfisols was de-
veloped at CRIDA (Hayathnagar Research
Farm) to study the effect of combined land Conservation Measures
uses on the behaviour of water yield for The main conservation measure taken
designing the storage structure and utiliz- up in this micro-watershed was graded
ing the water for small scale supplemental bunding (0.375m2) at a vertical intervals of
irrigation. 1.0m. Two waterways were provided for
channelizing the water to the runoff gaug-
Watershed Site and Land Uses ing site (outlet point). Stone checks were
The watershed is located in Hayathnagar made at 1 m interval in the water courses
at 1702’02” North latitude and 78035’ 08” E to cut down the velocity of running water.
longitude in the Ranga Reddy district of The bunds were strengthened by growing
Andhra Pradesh. The site represents the natural vegetation and Glyricidia planta-
Alfisols of sandy loam textural class (sand: tion all along. Micro-catchment basins
79.1%, silt: 7.6% and clay: 13.3%). A loose were constructed around each plant. At
rock layer or murrum exists at 30-45 cm the outlet point, a farm pond of 500 m3
depth in the horizon; weathered rocks at was made and lined with brick masonry
60-75 cm depth and hard rocks are found for seepage proofing.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Hydrology be harvested in a year. By the end of the

The 4 ha catchment was equipped with a rainy season, the pond would be full to
60 cm H-flume and water level recorder its capacity. It was further noticed that the
assembly for gauging the runoff in time runoff events came in two major spells -
scale. Coshocton wheel with sediment col- one in the beginning of the monsoon, and
lection tank was provided to collect the run- the other towards the end, making it pos-
off water for estimating the soil loss from sible to fill the pond twice (provided one
the catchment. filling is used in the dry spells during the
rainy season) and increasing the effective
The data on different hydrologic parameters storage to 1000 m3. However, to be more
over a period of five years (1990-1994) are conservative and to be sure of the quantity
presented in Table 2. The study reveals that of water, construction of a 500 m3 pond, as
in such red soils, about 60% of the annual mentioned earlier, was justified.
rainfall cause runoff events with an average
of 12 major rainstorms over a period of 5 Development of Generic Equation
to 7 months (Table 2) in a year. The conser- for Pond Design
vation measures (bunding) are very much
In order to minimize the seepage area as
effective in reducing the runoff to about
well as the evaporation losses, a dugout
2% of the total rainfall. The average soil
farm pond (Figure) can be best designed for
loss was 0.7 t/ha. This justifies the adoption
a given storage volume (V), depth (D) and
of conservation measures for resource aug-
side slope Z: 1 (Z horizontal to 1 vertical)
mentation. The analysis of runoff showed
using the following equations (Mishra and
that a minimum of 500 m3 of rainwater can
Sharma 1994)

Table 2. Analysis of hydrologic data of a 4.0 ha micro-watershed at CRIDA research farm,

Hyderabad over a period of 5years (1990-94)
Description 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 Mean
1. Total rainfall. mm 778.8 913.1 766.1 755.2 851.3 813
2. Rainfall events 81 57 58 70 75 68
3. Rainy days(>2.5mm) 54 41 41 48 54 48
4. Runoff causing rainfall, mm 429.7 628.6 504.3 360.8 534.4 492
5. Runoff events 11 12 11 10 14 12
6. Runoff causing rainfall (% of total rain) 55 69 66 48 63 60
7. Runoff, mm 19.2 32.5 13.9 12.1 17.3 19
8. Runoff, m 3
768 1300 557 485 692 760
9. Runoff (% of runoff causing rainfall) 4.47 5.17 2.76 3.36 3.24 4
10. Runoff (% total rain) 2.46 3.6 2.0 1.95 2.03 2
11. Soil loss (t ha )
0.95 1.5 0.18 0.34 0.71 0.7


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

X = (0.5/C) [ √ {DZ (1+C) }2 - 4C {2D2Z2 - (V/D)} - DZ (1+C)] …… (Eq. 1)

Where, X, Y = Two sides of the dug out pond (rectangular) at the bottom and C = Y/X

For a square section (C=1, i.e. X=Y) the above equation is simplified as follows:

X = √ [ (V/D) – D2Z2] - DZ.................... …………… (Eq. 2)

For a square bottom section having side slope 1:1 (Z=1) the Eq.2 can be further simpli-
fied as:

X = √ [ (V/D) - D2] - D ………………… (Eq. 3)

Considering the actual runoff from 4 ha much more from the seepage problem as
micro-watershed as discussed earlier, a trap- time passed. Only the brick lined pond
ezoidal farm pond of 540 m3 (Top: 17mx17m, with cement plaster withstood well in the
bottom: 12mx12m, depth: 2.5m, side slope: field situation and proved to be most cost
1:1) capacity was constructed at the outlet effective in storing water for reuse. Hence
point. The pond was lined with brick ma- brick lining is recommended for Telengana
sonry. By accounting for the annual silt load, region of Andhra Pradesh
the effective storage capacity of the pond
was taken as 500 m3 for the analysis. Use of pond water and economics
The pond water was utilized for growing
Pond Lining vegetable crops during the post rainy and
Loss of water due to seepage from water summer season. Mishra et al. (1993) observed
harvesting structures on Alfisols of the semi- that with stored water from 500m3 pond
arid tracts is a major problem. The evalu- vegetable crops of 4 months duration (No-
ation study by Mishra et al. (1994) shows vember- February) can be grown on 0.1 ha by
that the HDPE (black containment liner, 150 irrigating at 50 per cent evaporative demand
micron) lined pond though initially effec- (open pan evaporation) for achieving the
tive, proved to be ineffective in the fourth maximum water use efficiency. The typical
year of laying and permitted heavy seep- water budgeting of farm pond (in research
age. Other materials like soil-cement and farm) in Telengana area of Andhra Pradesh
asphalt lining were worse: they suffered (Table 3) is as follows (Mishra et al., 1993).


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

The experience at farm level has shown Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and Internal Rate
enough potential of farm pond (brick lined) of Return (IRR) were worked out to as-
technology in growing vegetables in the sess the economic viability of the pond.
off-season by satisfying water requirement The figures on the profitability measures
at 50% of weekly evaporation. Economic are presented in Table 4.
analysis was carried out by cultivating to-
mato in 0.1 ha during post rainy season An economic analysis of the above pond
(Mishra et al. 1998). It is unlikely that the with tomato as test crop shows a pay back
pond would get filled every year before period of 10 years with BCR 1.5 and IRR
and during the season. Hence, supplemen- 19%. This technology will be more viable
tal irrigation to cereal crop for additional and economical in vertisols where lining
returns from the use of pond water may not is not essential. The BCR will certainly be
be always feasible during the rainy season. higher if intangible benefits are quantified
But, the results of the experiment show that and the use of water during the season (if
the pond was always full by the end of any) is also considered.
the rainy season. Hence, in arriving at the
regular benefit flow, the assured net returns Constraint and up-scaling
only from 0.1 ha of vegetable crops was The poor farmers find it difficult to go for
considered in the post rainy season. Both high initial investment to adopt this technol-
the costs and output prices were assumed ogy for which institutional subsidized credit
to increase from the original cost by 10 per support is needed. This program can be
cent every year for 20 years, the expected linked to watershed project and NREAGA.
life of pond. Thus, a cost and benefit flow The banks can come forward for providing
for 20 years was generated for economic loan to the interested farmers for adopting
analysis. The conventional measures of proj- this technology. The policy of the Govern-
ect evaluation on Pay Back Period (PBP), ment should also be favorable for making a

Table 3. Budgeting of farm pond water

Capacity of farm pond (Full capacity by October end) 500 m3
Catchment area 4 ha
Water loss by evaporation and seepage (From November to February) 95 m3
Water available for irrigation 405 m3
Water requirement of vegetable crop (@ 50% open pan evaporation) 349 mm
Area irrigated by farm pond for growing vegetables 0.1 ha

Table 4. Cost benefit analysis of the farm pond

Particulars Measures
Pond size, m 3
Pay Back Period (PBP), years 10
Internal rate of return (IRR), % 19
Benefit cost ratio (BCR) 1.6


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

bankable scheme with liberal subsidy com- • Government intervention for popular-
ponent for up scaling of the technology. ization of small-scale water harvesting
structures and for supporting mechani-
cal measures.
In a watershed, series of ponds may be con-
structed along the water courses/drainage References
channels to intercept runoff, reduce peak Mishra PK, Manjunath BL, Rao JV and
flow, control erosion and store water for Subba Reddy G. (1993). Farm pond- A
supplemental irrigation/groundwater re- potential source for vegetable produc-
charge. This case study generates the fol- tion. Indian J. Dryland Agric. Res. &
lowing issues on water harvesting and use. Dev., 8(2): 171- 72.
This case study generates the following is-
sues on water harvesting and uses in dry- Mishra PK and Sharma S. (1994). Theo-
lands for their generic solution in future retical considerations in design of farm
R&D efforts. ponds for minimising evaporation and
seepage losses Indian J. Dryland Agric.
• Runoff yield potential of the catchment
Res. & Dev., 9(2): 114 –120.
should be carefully studied for designing
small-scale water harvesting structures Mishra PK, Padmanabhan MV and
and for determining catchment- com- Sivaprasad S. (1994). Effectiveness of
mand ratio, ponds may be made lined different lining materials in farm pond
in light soils. J. Water Management, 2(1&2): 55 – 58.
• Prioritization of crops and cropping Mishra PK, Rama Rao CA and Sivaprasad
systems that can efficiently utilize the S. (1998). Economic evaluation of farm
limited water to improve the water pro- pond in a micro-watershed in semiarid
ductivity. alfisol deccan plateau Indian J. Soil Cons.,
• Modern methods of irrigation for utiliza- 26 (1): 59 – 60.
tion of harvested water.


Rainwater Harvest and its reuse for Groundwater
Recharge – A Case Study
DH Mudkavi, PM Salimath and UV Mummigatti
University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, Karnataka

Abstract like nala bunding, check dams, gully plugs,

Present study was undertaken to improve farm ponds, they are being practiced with
ground water through artificial recharge good impact on crop production. However,
and it’s economic viability. The constraints with all this technological advancement, the
in realizing the ground water development scarcity of water in the form of soil moisture
project and lessons learned are also dis- still exists in almost all dry farming situa-
cussed. tions of the country.

As per the Indian Rainwater Budget, an On the other hand, cultivable area is get-
amount of 400 Mha-m of water through ting reduced with time due to urbanization,
precipitation is received every year with colonization, industrialization, etc. With re-
an average rainfall of 1194 mm on 328 Mha duction in cultivable area available for food
area. grain production and the loss of rainwater
(29 per cent) eroding enormous quantity of
With all this, ‘Monsoon’ is a blessing to fertile top soil (on an average 42 t/ha/yr),
Indian agriculture, providing enough wa- the targeted food/crop production in the
ter to harvest two good crops, at present. limited available area, which is mandatory,
However, uncertain rainfall having uneven is difficult to achieve. Hence, the pressure
distribution and varied intensity with re- on demand for water for this and to meet
spect to time and space always cause floods, the domestic, industrial and other require-
droughts and waterlogging at one or the ments is greatly increased. This is resulting
other place. in extensive, continuous and indiscriminate
overexploitation of groundwater resource
Various technologies, for improving the effi- through increased number and depth of
ciency of rainwater and runoff management bore wells. Easiness in bore well digging,
and their use on-farm, are developed to suit due to advanced bore well engineering tech-
different agro-climatic situations, with par- nology, has made an indirect impact on fast
ticular reference to dryland crop cultivation, depletion of groundwater resource avail-
considering rainfall, cropping pattern, soil ability and alarmingly dropping the water
type, topography (Verma, 2005b). Such re- table depth from surface (Verma, 2005a). It
search technologies mainly included terrace is very evident from the number of failing
level practices like contour bunds, graded bore wells/open wells and it is unsustain-
bunds, zingg terraces, border strips; inter able to pump out water from wells without
terrace level practices like compartment recharging the same from the rainwater. To
bunding, scooping, tied ridges/furrows reverse the trend or to reduce the effect of
and runoff storage technologies/practices over exploitation, the groundwater recharge


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

is essential at large scale at agricultural, resi- water level increased from 3.42 m (2000) to
dential and institutional premises. But the more than 45 m (2004). Such situations are
efforts made towards the replenishment or creating socio-economic problems to pub-
augmentation of groundwater resource, are lic, government and other institutions like
very meager (Anon. 2006). corporations and municipalities (Report of
CGWB and PHE Dept.2005). At the same
time, in some sites of the command area
Target Domain like UKP, M & G, TBP etc., the cultivable
On account of frequent / continuous area is waterlogged with very shallow water
drought situations, acute shortage of water table due to inefficient irrigation manage-
for both agricultural and domestic/indus- ment (CADA, 2008). Hence, it is impera-
trial purpose is being experienced. Faulty tive on the part of researchers, extension
soil and water management practices in- workers, farming community, in particular
cluding excess use of irrigation water, crop and public at large, to harvest efficiently
production practices of high water require- rainwater for in situ conservation and store
ment like use of HYV’s inorganics, etc., in it under ground effectively by employing
agriculture, man-made disturbances such as suitable technologies for the future sustain-
encroachments in natural pockets of runoff able water availability. Hence it is high time
storage structures like tanks, non availabil- now, for suitable scientific interventions to
ity of open soil surface due to pavement recharge underground reservoirs through
in 80-100 per cent unbuilt compound area, bore wells / open wells, by artificial methods,
road metalling, drilling of large number of at economic cost using the surplus runoff
new bore wells without maintaining statu- for storage of groundwater. The sub-surface
tory minimum distance of 240 m between geological formations may be considered as
two successive points, etc., particularly, in “warehouse” for storing water that come
urban localities due to increase in area under from sources located on the land surface and
housing and buildings are some of the rea- the sub-surface reservoirs. They are very at-
sons for over exploitation of groundwater tractive and technically feasible alternatives
by increasing population. for storing surplus monsoon run off. These
reservoirs can store substantial quantity of
The groundwater availability is declining
water. The deeper water levels in many parts
very fast. Survey of 3 lakh wells in 72 ta-
of the country may be substantially raised,
luks (17 districts) of Karnataka from 1982
resulting in reduction in the lifting costs
– 2001, indicated that more than 50% of
and energy saving (CGWB 2000).
the wells were dried and in the rest, water
table had declined by 5 m to 8m due to It is, therefore, inevitable at the present to
20 – 59 per cent less rainfall, accompanied enhance the natural phenomenon of rain-
by high temperature up to 430 C during water infiltration into the aquifers through
the period. Average depth to GW level of techno economical artificial techniques. Sur-
the wells/bore wells at various locations in face runoff and roof top water are impor-
Bangalore city was 15.59 m in May 2003 as tant and amply available water sources for
against 10.88m observed in May 2001. Simi- groundwater recharge. With such points in
larly, in Hubli-Dharwar city, out of 17000 view, efforts were made to adopt the project
bore wells, the average depth to ground- with the following objectives:


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Objectives • The underground storage of water

has beneficial influence on the existing
• To improve groundwater resources by groundwater regime and the system re-
artificial recharge. charges the sub-surface storage either
• To know the technical feasibility and below the well under treatment or in
impact of recharge system/unit. other places.
• To know the economic aspects of re- • The structures required for artificial re-
charge techniques. charge of the groundwater through bore
wells / open wells by inverted filter sys-
To address these objectives, an attempt was tem / unit are, generally, of small size
made at the University of Agricultural Sci- unlike other methods viz., check dams,
ences, Dharwad, to design and develop a percolation tanks, surface spreading ba-
technology for enhancing intake rate of sins, subsurface dykes, etc.
runoff with Inverted Filter system/unit by • No gigantic and separate surface
harvesting rainwater available in the form of structures are required to store surface
surplus runoff and its reuse for groundwa- runoff.
ter recharge through bore wells/open wells.
• The structures and methods for artifi-
Such case studies were conducted to deter-
cial recharge of groundwater are cost
mine the impact by recharging bore wells/
effective and may work as economically
open wells existing on UAS farms at the
viable proposition.
Main Campus Dharwad and sub campuses
at Bailhongal and Hebballi and farmers’ • The sub-surface storages, when located
fields at Tadkod village in Dharwad taluk, in technically feasible and hydro geo-
using rainwater surface runoff. logically suitable situations, are environ-
ment friendly.
Methodology • The sub-surface storages are free from
The basic design and development this in- the adverse effects like inundation of a
novative technology was the result of delib- large surface area, loss of cultivable land,
erations of scientific knowledge, expertise disturbance to normal living, substantial
and experience of scientists from research, evaporation loss, etc.
development and extension of agricultural • Results in reduction of water lifting costs
engineering, crop production and several and energy saving and on the cost on
other related aspects. It was then recom- water conveyance system compared to
mended for field adoption on adhoc basis storing elsewhere on land surface.
depending upon the field situations and
techno-economic feasibility (CGWB, 2000). • Results in substantial improvement of
The basis for the design and development natural groundwater quality in brackish
of this technology was the result of dis- and saline areas due to conjunction of
cussions on various concepts/assumptions, rainwater.
approaches, advantages and practical field This innovative technology basically in-
situations pertaining to sub-surface storage cluded the following major design details/
and the artificial recharge structure required specifications with due flexibility for suitable
for this process. The salient outcomes are: modification of types/models/ components


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of techniques to suit to the location-specific in enhanced infiltration within a span 14

situations during the process of implemen- hours after a rainfall of 55 mm during the
tation. (Fig. 1 and 2.) previous night, runoff collected near filter
unit that flowed to groundwater resource
A. Source of rainwater for recharge: through it. But the runoff collected near
- Surface runoff harvest bunds on upper reaches of the filter unit
- Roof top water harvest was still ponding even after a lapse of time
duration (as depicted in photos).
B. Recharge technique: An amount of 118.56 and 102.96 cubic
- Point recharge filter unit surrounding metres of runoff was found ponding/stag-
bore well and perforations on casing nant in two plots on the upper reaches of
pipe the Groundwater Recharge Filter Unit as
- Point recharge filtering unit away from against no collection at the bund near the
bore well and connected by under- system (Table 1). An amount of Rs. 15020/-
ground conveyance pipe and Rs. 16235/- was to be invested towards
expenditure on installation of groundwater
C. Type / Model of filter unit of about 3 m recharge filter units around bore well and
x 3 m x 3 m standard size: away from bore well, respectively (Table 2).
- Inverted vertical type This excludes the cost on the diversion of
runoff to concentrate at the filtering unit.
- Horizontal type
Considering the proposed cost on extension
of farm pond/percolation tank for surface
D. Shape of filter unit of about 9 cubic
storage and to recharge groundwater (Ta-
metres capacity:
ble-3) using surplus runoff, it was noticed
- Cube shape that the cost on this proposal was too high
- Circular shape as compared to that involved the installation
- Semi circular shape of filter units for subsurface storage.

E. Civil Materials for refilling filter unit Constraints

in inverted fashion (top to bottom):
Constraint includes the availability of suit-
- Rubbles/ boulders able material like rubbles, pebbles, coarse
- Pebbles/ jelly sand at the farm itself to make the project
- Charcoal economical/cheap. The cubical structure
- Aqua / metal mesh of 3 m3 (cube) pit, when opened freshly,
appeared very small and hence it was en-
- Rough sand
larged on all sides for which the quantity
- Cement bricks/stones for coping of civil materials required were consider-
wall ably large.

This was important in terms of agriculture

Results as the water from selected bore well or sur-
The impact of technology was surprisingly rounding bore wells was used for agricul-
predominant and quite visible. It resulted tural / crop production purpose.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Lessons Learnt Science and Technology, Bangalore.

The venture appeared successful and was CADA, 2008. Report on achievements of
also adopted by one farmer on his farm M& G and TBPCommand Area Devel-
voluntarily. opment Authorities,
CGWB, 2000, Guide on Artificial Recharge,
Strategies for up scaling Central Groundwater Board, Ministry of
Water Resources Report, New Delhi,
The quality of recharged water (physical and
chemical quality) should be monitored for
its use for domestic or drinking purposes. Report of CGWB and PHE Dept. 2005, Re-
Govt. subsidy should be provided to the port on to Groundwater in Hubli-Dhar-
pilot demonstrations conducted at rural wad cities for planning Water Supply.
and urban sites. Verma, H.N. 2005 a, Multiple and conjunc-
tive use of Rain, Surface and groundwa-
ters for sustained agricultural produc-
tion. (Training Lecture Notes), CSSRI,
Anonymous, 1999, Report of National Com- Karnal.
mission for Integrated Water Resource
Verma, H.N. 2005 b, Watershed Develop-
Development Plan.
ment and rainwater harvesting tech-
Anonymous, 2006, “Amruthavarshini - A niques for enhancing groundwater re-
guide for Rainwater Harvesting” pub- charge (Training Lecture Notes), CSSRI,
lished by Karnataka State Council for Karnal.

Table 1. Volume of runoff at and on upper reaches of

Groundwater Recharge Filter Unit
Runoff Volume collected
Sl.No Particulars Near Bund at Near Bunds on upper reaches
Filter Unit Plot-1 Plot-2
1 Rainfall amount 55 mm 55 mm 55 mm
2 Size of Runoff collection nil 18.0m x 22m x 0.26m 22.8m x 20x 0.26m
3 Runoff volume collected nil 102.96 cub- m 118.56 cub- m


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 2. Approx. Quantities and Cost of important items of

different G.W. Recharge Units
Amount for Filter
S. Qntily
Particulars L(m) B(m) H(m) Rate Around Away
No. M3
bore fom bore
well well
A Construction of thefiltering
system forGW R
1 Excavation of Recharge pit 3.00 3.00 3.00 27.00 267.90 1469.34 1469.34
Depth3.0 m
2 Refilling/construclion of
Recharge pit by rovg
following m aterials
a) Boulder layer (15-25 cm) ) 3.0 3.0 1.0 9.00 364.00 3276.00 3276.00
b) Jelly layer Graded jelly/ 3.0 3.0 1.35 12.15 212.00 2575.80 2575.80
metal(45-63 mm)
c) Sand layer: coarse sand 3.0 3.0 1.00 9.00 69.98 629.82 629.82
d) Charcoal layer (Good 3.0 3.0 0.15 1.35 LS 1200.00 1200.00
quality at market rate)
3 Construction of stone wall 12.0 0.30 0.75 2.70 691.00 1865.70 1865.70
around recharge Biter uiit(3
m x 3m) wrUi stones of about
30 cm size andpointing with
1:5 cement : sand mixture
B Drilling of holesto casing pipe - - - - LS 2500.00 2500.00
at suit able depth for inserting
conveyance pipe as per
C Layout of PVC pipes: 10 10 - - 10 10 55.65 - 556.50
Providing/laying PVC pipes 66.15 661.50
specification of approved
make &withnece ssary
specials/phigs wherever nece
ssary as per requirem ents.
D Other charges/expenditure LS 1500.00 1500.00
(Nylon mesh/iron mesh,
completion’ petty items etc.,)
Total Rs. 15016.66 16234.66
R/.O .Rs. 15020.00 16235.00


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table 3. Quantities and cost Estimates (in Rs.) for Groundwater Recharge though
Extension of farm / percolation ponds
II. Proposed Extension of pond at UAS Campus, Dharwad.
1) Proposed top dimension 40 m
Existing top dimension 15 m
Extension top dimension 25 m
Proposed bottom dimension 15 m
Existing bottom dimension 15 m
Extension top size 25m x 15 m
Extension bottom size 20m x 10.m
Av. dimension 22.5 mx12.5 m
Depth 2.5 m
Side slope 1:1
Av. Area / Av. Capacity/volume 218.25 Sq.m /703.12 Cub m
2) Volume of earthwork excavation: (Average) Rs. 53.23/Cub.m
Rate of excavation for varying depth from 0-30 m
3) Cost of earth work (703.12 x 53.23) Rs. 37427.08
4) Cost on Inlet-outlet silt trap & other charges Rs. 8000-00
5) Total Cost Rs. 45427-08
R/O Rs.45430/-


Farm Pond Initiative in Rainfed Areas in Rajasthan
Ambuj Kishore
Aravali, Jaipur

Abstract perature ranges between 48°C to 17°C and

Present paper discuss the farm pond in- minimum winter temperature ranges 32°C
tervention in order to mitigate the water to 4°C.
crisis in Rajasthan. The standard 10’X10’X2’ Groundwater Availability: Total no. of
pond was constructed which increase the blocks in Rajasthan in 2004 was 237, out of
soil moisture condition of the field, increase which 140 are in the Overexploited category
the water table in the adjacent wells and and 50 critical, 14 semi-critical and only 32
provided opportunity for agro-forestry can be considered safe. Groundwater is the
and orchards and scope of sprinkler irri- major source of water in the state, meeting
gation. 91% of the drinking and 65% of the irriga-
tion needs of the state. The groundwater
Background Information about resources have been gradually getting de-
pleted over years. There has been a marked
the State of Rajasthan deterioration of groundwater quality over
Rajasthan is one of the largest states of India, the past 15 years.
covering nearly 10.4 percent of India’s geo-
graphical area. The state is divided into 33 Water Table: Water table ranges from 2 to 130
administrative districts and 10 agro-climatic meters. In majority of western Rajasthan,
regions. Over 65% of the cultivated area it ranges from 40 to 80 meters, southern &
is rainfed and nearly 60% of the area falls eastern parts 10 to 30 meters, eastern alluvial
under a desert environment. Nearly, two parts 20 to 50 meters and > 80 meters in
thirds of the population of about 6 crores parts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, Churu
depend for their livelihood on agriculture and Jodhpur districts
and animal husbandry, agro-forestry and
agri-business. The average annual rainfall is Drought condition is one of the phenom-
557 mm and there is a considerable degree enal characteristic of the state where rainfall
of variation between seasons and regions is highly variable, irregular and erratic in
within the state. Groundwater is getting nature. State faces drought, which occurs
both depleted and polluted. The economic every 2 to 3 years. In the past, out of 30
well being of a vast majority of the popu- years 26 years have been drought years.
lation depends heavily on the progress in 31 of 32 districts faced drought. These are
agriculture. the challenges the farmers have to face in
sustaining their livelihoods, which is depen-
Climate of the state is mostly arid to semi- dent on agriculture and animal husbandry
arid with high annual evaporation rate. The as the major sources.
rainfall is highly variable, irregular & erratic
in nature. The monsoon season is between Drought: Famine and scarcities are the most
July to September. Maximum summer tem- familiar word of the state, which had af-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

fected 3.2 million people & 40 million cattle. drought are enormous. The small and the
70 % of the population are deprived of drink- marginal farmers are the most affected seg-
ing water. Groundwater level has dropped ment. These segments of farmers also don’t
down by 15-20 meters. have the potential of having life saving ir-
rigation facilities. For them, the initiative of
Water crisis in Rajasthan: The state has farm ponds has been a boon.
limited water resources 1.15 of the coun-
try. Surface water resource is very meager. Farm ponds have been found to be the best
Groundwater resource is highly depleted way of coping with the distress condition
and the state has 50% of fluoride-affected in the region. Farm ponds are not only cost
villages in the country are in Rajasthan. effective for small and marginal farmers,
Groundwater is saline to highly saline in but have also provided the support of life
most western districts. saving irrigation. Farm ponds though look
like a very simple structure, the intrinsic
In the state, the average annual rainfall is value of farm pond is multifaceted.
557 mm and with a total area of 342239 sq.
km, with valuable source of water. Rains are Farm Ponds: Farm ponds are rainwater
the main source of fresh water but gener- storing structures made by constructing a
ally stored runoff water and groundwater dam or an embankment or by excavating
are considered as major sources of water a pit or dugout. Generally, the size of the
for agriculture. farm ponds constructed is of 10X10X2 m3.
The soil extracted from farm pond during
There has been a number of initiatives un- the digging process is used to strengthen the
dertaken by the state government as well embankment of the farm field. The water
as NGOs in the rainwater conservation and stored in the farm pond is used as critical
management in the state. life saving irrigation. Due to farm ponds,
This case on the initiative of farm pond in the moisture content in the field also gets
Rainfed area is being put forward for the enhanced. The water table in the near by
District of Ajmer: wells also increases due to farm ponds. This
also ensures the availability of drinking
Under drought relief operation in the year
water for animals.
2006, there were major initiatives being
taken which are as follows:
• A successful attempt has been made to
Process Facilitation
ensure life saving irrigations for rainfed One of ARAVALI partner organization,
crops. Gramin evam Samajik vikas Sansthan, (GSVS)
Ajmer, initiated the process of dialogue with
• The activity were chosen and executed District Agriculture Department where in
on individual farm fields on a pilot ba- there was a scheme for constructing 10
sis to reduce the risk of crop failure, farm ponds in a village panchayat. GSVS
especially for the small and marginal mobilized the community to participate
farmers. in the scheme. Wherever construction of
The persistent drought condition indicates farm ponds was taken up with individu-
the fragile nature of the rural economy. al farmers, two members of the farmer’s
The financial implications of each year of family and 6 additional labour were de-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ployed for work. Total cost of the farm mation stages of the crop. Terminal drought
ponds was 8000 /- Rs which was given as reduces production of food grains by 80%
labour cost. This also helped in providing and fodder by 20 to 25 %. Farm ponds pro-
employment opportunity. vide critical irrigation facility to the crops
during the terminal drought phase.
Objectives of constructing Farm ponds were
as follows: - There has been increased demand by farm-
ers for the construction of farm ponds in the
 To harvest rainwater.
region and our partner organization, GSVS
 Recharging of wells. is working in many of the villages.

 Increase moisture content in the field. The impact of farm ponds have yielded
several benefits such as:
 Ensuring the availability of drinking
water for Livestock. • Crop production even under terminal
The primary objectives of farm pond con-
structions were to ensure life-saving irri- • Checks soil erosion and retains silt,
gation. In the absence of monsoon rain, • Increased moisture content in the
water from the farm pond could be used field,
to save the crop. Farm ponds also main-
• Prevents excess runoff from the field,
tain micro humid conditions during the
dry spells, replenishes groundwater and • Availability of drinking water for the
most importantly availability of water for livestock.
human consumption as well as for livestock.
Farm ponds also provide opportunity for Major conclusions can be drawn from the
undertaking orchards & agro-forestry and initiative of farm ponds are as follows:
the sprinkler system can be easily run with • Reintroduction of traditional farm ponds
farm pond water. should be included in the regular gov-
ernment schemes
Terminal drought is defined as the inad-
equacy of the rainfall when required i.e. • Farm ponds construction should be in-
during flowering, pollination and seed for- corporated and converged with Swarn-

Supplemental irrigation with harvested water


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Critical irrigation with water from the farm pond during the terminal drought
Water Actual Water available Additionally Available water
Crops Requirement Rainfall in Farm Pond in Farm Pond for Drinking /
(mm) (mm) (mm) Plantation (mm)
Maize 550 350 200 200 0
Jowar 450 350 100 200 100
Bajra 350 350 0 200 200

jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana, National References

Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana pro- Development of Agriculture and Animal
grammes for large scale up scaling. Husbandry in Rajasthan, Report of the
TASK FORCE constituted under the
• With the construction of farm ponds, Guidance of Prof. M.S.Swaminathan,
the small and marginal farmers have Agriculture Department, Government
benefited the most. of Rajasthan.
• Innovative methods such as the use of Presentation on Farm Pond by the CEO,
plastic lining sheet, pitching to control Ajmer.
soil erosion could be incorporated.
Pahal logon ki, Issues: 40, January 2008,
ARAVALI, Jaipur.


Experiences of Water Harvesting
through Farm Ponds in High Rainfall
Hill and Mountain Regions

Water Harvesting in Hilly Areas of Uttarakhand:
Opportunities and Challenges
Anil Kumar
G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology
Pantnagar, Uttarakhand (India)

Abstract is a technically feasible and economically

About 70% population living in mountain- viable option to develop water resources
ous regions of Uttarakhand State mostly and to enhance the irrigation potential in
depend on agriculture for their livelihood. the region. This integrated approach must
But various climatic, geographical and be spread to far-off places in the mid and
socio-economic constraints have led to a high hills, which is a challenge for the de-
dismal low agricultural productivity in the velopmental agencies in the undulating,
region. Agriculture is largely (about 90 %) rugged and inaccessible terrain.
rainfed, and farmers generally face severe
soil-moisture stress at germination stage Introduction
and long dry-spells during the subsequent
About 30% of the total geographical area
growing of winter (rabi) and pre-monsoon
of India is drought prone, primarily, due
crops due to erratic distribution of rainfall
to erratic pattern of rainfall distribution.
amount and distribution. Though the aver-
Out of about 142 million ha total cultivable
age annual rainfall in Uttarakhand is about
land, about 60% is categorized as rainfed
1000 mm, the agricultural productivity is
or drought prone. It is evident from Table
adversely affected by non-availability of
1 that a wide scope to beneficially utilize
sufficient water at critical stages of crop
the available rainwater in the zone of 1000-
growth. Therefore, the only option is to
2500 mm rainfall exists. The mid and high
collect and store water resources available
hills of Uttarakhand fall under this category.
in three forms namely, direct surface runoff,
Water is the single most important element
runoff through roof-tops of houses, and the
for sustaining mountain agro-ecosystems.
discharge from natural water springs. The
Mountains are the major sources of all the
spring water in low quantity goes waste,
natural resources including forest, land, wa-
but its collection in the storage tanks can
ter, animal, minerals, etc. and they are called
be developed into a large water resource
life giver to the biotic means not only to
to solve the problem of drinking water and
the inhabitants residing in this region but
irrigation in the region. The field studies
also to the inhabitants downstream. The
conducted in Garhwal region about 2000
Himalayas have given birth to many peren-
m above mean sea level, revealed that con-
nial rivers and streams for the survival of
struction of a brick-lined cement tank to
living beings in the downstream regions of
store spring-water for drinking purpose,
most of the northern states of India, but the
in combination with a dugout farm pond
inhabitants of the mid- and upper-reaches
lined with 0.25 mm thick low density poly-
in Himalayan region keep struggling for
ethylene (LDPE) sheet to collect the over-
their own survival for want of adequate
flow from this tank and the surface runoff,
water resources at their disposal, food se-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

curity and sustainable livelihood due to crops, and subsequent planting of spring
various topographical and socio-economical crops due to the lack of soil moisture. This
constraints. situation forces the farmers to risk their
winter (rabi) crops at the germination and
Since generations, the inhabitants of Hima- ripening stages of growth. Frequent and
layan region have been depending on the long dry spells retard the growth, size and
natural water springs and streams to meet yield of important fruit crops like apple,
their daily water needs for drinking and do- plum, peach, apricot, etc. If proper irriga-
mestic uses, irrigation, animal consumption, tion facilities are assured, vegetable crop
etc. During recent times, most of the peren- production has a great potential to raise
nial springs and streams have become sea- the economic standard of the hill farmers.
sonal or have dried-up for want of adequate Off-season vegetables (pea, potato, cauli-
recharge due to various natural and man- flower, cabbage, etc.,) can be produced on
made hazards. Women have to walk several a large scale and can be sold at high prices
kilometers daily to fetch a head-load of wa- in the plain areas. Assured irrigation can
ter for drinking and domestic uses. Though also promise cultivation of pea and potato
about 90% of population in the hilly areas crops twice a year.
of Uttarakhand earns their livelihood from
agriculture and animal husbandry, they are Considering all these points, there remains
still in the subsistence class, characterized no option but to appropriately harvest the
by extremely limited capital resources and available water resources at suitable loca-
consistent use of traditional means of crop tions. In the hilly areas, water is available
production. Various climatic, geographical in three forms namely, direct surface run-
and socio-economical constraints have led off, runoff through roof-tops of houses, and
to a dismal low agricultural productivity the discharge from natural water-springs.
from unconsolidated, small and scattered Several authors have emphasized runoff
land holdings in the region. About 90%of harvesting to eliminate the ill-effects of
agricultural lands, mostly in mid and high droughts and low productivity in the arid
hills, are rainfed and vulnerable to severe semi- arid and foothill areas in the country
soil erosion and degradation due to erratic (Chitranjan and Rao, 1986; Grewal et al.1989
rainfall, cloud-bursts and large dry spells and Oswal, 1994). The studies conducted
during the crop growth period. Ever in- by Kumar (1992) suggested the feasibility
creasing population of humans and cattle of cost-effective low density poly ethylene
has resulted into inappropriate cultivation (LDPE) lined dugout small ponds for irri-
practices on the marginal lands and intense gation purpose in mid-Himalayan region.
use of water resources, which cause con- In order to minimize the adverse effects of
siderable surface runoff and soil erosion water stress, particularly at the productive
on one hand, and reduce the infiltration stages of crop growth, the conservation of
and discharge of natural water springs on rainfall in soil profiles and providing irriga-
the other. tion through runoff/spring flow harvesting
in ponds or tanks at suitable locations, are
Though most areas receive good annual the only ways out to solve the drinking
rainfall, its intensity and distribution is quite water problems as well as to enhance pro-
erratic and causes severe drought spells to ductivity of rainfed agriculture on high and
hamper the growth of timely sown winter medium hills in Uttarakhand. This study


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

also analyses socio-economic aspects of wa- system. The probability analysis of rainfall
ter resources planning and management in data reveals that at 80% probability (assured
terms of resource sharing and maintenance level), the expected rainfall during pre- and
of storage structures. post-monsoon periods is almost negligible
for the germination of rabi (winter) crops
creating large moisture stress at the germi-
Study Area nation and reproductive stages of rabi crops
The study was conducted at the Hill Campus and timely sowing of summer crops. Under
of G. B. Pant University of Agriculture & these circumstances, rainfall and/or runoff
Technology, Ranichauri located at the longi- harvesting during rainy season along with
tude of 780 2’ E and latitude 300 15’ N with an spring-water harvesting at suitable locations
altitude of about 1900 m above the mean sea seems to be the only way out.
level. The mean annual rainfall of this region
is about 1176 mm, of which about 75% is Though water requirements of the farmers
received during the monsoon months, from are greater, the size of storage structures has
June to September. The soil of the region to be restricted according to water avail-
is generally sandy-loam type. The surface ability and topography of the location. The
runoff tends to be high due to high slopes capacity of the storage structures depends
and low water holding capacity of the soils. mainly on the availability of relatively flat-
Coarse soil texture and high seepage losses ter land on which these structures could
through the soil do not permit sufficient be made, and the runoff passing through
moisture retention in the surface soil and that point. The small and scattered land
upper horizons of the sub-soil. Because of holdings on different terrains permit the
this phenomenon, the crops suffer badly construction of small water storage tanks
due to moisture stresses at different criti- at the upstream end of a cluster of fields
cal stages of crop growth during pre- and to facilitate irrigation through gravity flow.
post-monsoon periods and long dry spells The experiments were conducted at the re-
during the rainy season. search station and nearby areas to evaluate
the technical feasibility and economic viabil-
ity of lining materials. Out of the existing
Hydrologic Analysis options viz. cement-concrete, brick/stone
The surface runoff, which can be estimated masonry, and LDPE sheet, for lining the
using various methods on the basis of past dugout pond, the LDPE lining has proved
rainfall data and land use, is mostly suitable to be technically feasible and economically
for irrigation. Runoff through roof-tops can viable for the hill farmers. This technique
be estimated using a reasonable value of is the most appropriate for poor farmers,
runoff coefficient for different type of roofs, as it can be implemented and maintained
and this water can be utilized for domestic by the farmers themselves using their own
uses after proper filtration. The flows from labour and locally available resources.
water-springs can also be estimated using
past records and this water can be used
for drinking purpose. The optimum size Design of the Pond
of a lined pond depends on the amount The construction of dugout pond includes
of runoff expected, crops to be irrigated digging of a truncated reverse-pyramid
and benefit-cost ratio for the harvesting shaped pit with 1:1 side slopes. The depth


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of the pond was restricted to 1 to 1.5 m LDPE lined pond is that this system can be
only to avoid upward movement of the constructed, repaired and maintained by
bottom soil due to buoyant force of water. the farmers themselves at a reasonably low
At the locations where stones are available cost, as the only material to be purchased
near the site, the depth of pond may be is the LDPE sheet, which may be available
increased to 2 m by doing the stone pitch- from local markets. As a precautionary mea-
ing all around the surface of the pond. As sure, the LDPE sheet should not be exposed
shown in Fig. 1, a single piece LDPE sheet to the sun light for longer duration as sun’s
(0.25 mm thick) of required size is placed ultra-violet rays can damage the sheet. The
with properly folded corners and buried useful life of such ponds is normally 20 years,
ends on all sides. Before placing the sheet, which can be further extended if special care
the inner surfaces of the pond were plas- and maintenance is ensured. Water from
tered with 5 cm thick mud plaster so that these tanks is taken by siphoning through
the sheet is properly stuck to the surfaces. rubber pipes to irrigate the crops at lower
Another 10 cm layer of mud mixture of elevations through gravity.
soil and wheat straw or chopped dry pine-
needles (4:1) is placed on the sides, and a As an integrated approach, all the available
15 cm thick layer is placed at the bottom. water resources can be combined in such a
In case of harvesting the surface runoff, a way that a cemented tank is used to store
small silt retention trench of 1x 0.5 x 0.5 m spring-water and runoff from roof-tops
size is dug at the entry point to the main for drinking and domestic uses, while the
pond so that debris and suspended par- over flow of this tank and overland surface
ticles along with overland runoff could set- runoff may be stored in the LDPE-lined
tle down and relatively clean runoff water dugout ponds at lower elevations (Fig. 2).
may enter the main pond. The silt retention In this way, the water resources are utilized
trench is not required while harvesting the to the maximum extent and all the needs
runoff through roof-tops or water-springs. of the farming communities are also met
Evaporation losses from the pond can be simultaneously.
minimized by spreading a small quantity of
burnt engine oil or by broadcasting polyeth- Utilization of Water
ylene granules of about 3 mm size on water
The harvested water must be judiciously
surface. Being relatively free from dust or
and efficiently used for irrigating the high
foreign materials, the runoff from roof-tops
value cash crops in the region. It has been
and the flows from water-springs can be
found that the off-season vegetable produc-
stored in closed brick-cemented tanks for
tion is one such option where farmers can
drinking, domestic uses and cattle feeding
fetch high returns for their investments.
after proper treatment or filtration.
Important vegetables like potato, pea, cab-
The cost analysis of the pond is shown in bage, capsicum, etc. along with ginger, gar-
Appendix 1. The construction cost of this lic etc. have shown significant increase in
pond comes out to be Rs. 150 per cubic meter their productivity with the application of
storage of water, which is much less than life saving irrigation at the right and the
the brick-masonry cement plastered tanks earliest opportunity. This water has also
of the same capacity costing more than Rs. been successfully and beneficially used in
1000 per cubic meter. Another advantage of raising other crops such as medicinal and


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

aromatic plants, orchards, and forest nurser- water has to be judiciously utilized for
ies, which are the major sources of income the cultivation of high value off-seasonal
for hill farmers. Efforts have also been made vegetables, medicinal and aromatic plants,
to use this water through more advanced forest nurseries and orchards using the
and efficient methods of irrigation such as most efficient methods of irrigation like
drip and sprinkler in the orchards and other drip and sprinkler irrigation. Dissemina-
cash crops. tion of this technological approach to the
far-off places is being carried out through
Experiments were conducted to utilize the government agencies and the NGOs. Since
stored water for supplemental irrigation the number of available resources (natural
of wheat crop at the critical stages (pre- water-springs and streams) is limited, shar-
sowing, crown-root-initiation, and flower- ing and maintenance of these resources/
ing) and their combinations. The results schemes by local communities pose some
indicate that a supplemental irrigation of 2 difficulties. As drinking water is the most
cm at CRI stage alone increased the wheat vital requirement of all the people of an
yield by 44%; whereas, two irrigations at area, development, conservation and man-
pre-sowing and CRI stages increased the agement of spring water gets the top prior-
yield by 53% as compared to the control. ity, followed by water needs for house hold
Therefore, it is very clear that proper plan- activities, which can be met by roof water
ning and management of available water harvesting. The irrigation requirements can
resources can solve the problem of drink- be met by surface water harvesting as per
ing water shortage and greatly enhance the needs and availability of runoff at a
the crop productivity of large rainfed areas location. Since the farmers of the area are
of the Uttarakhand. poor, some incentives from the government
in terms of supply of raw materials (LDPE
Summary and Conclusions sheet, tin sheet, etc.,) at subsidized rates will
ensure quick acceptance of the technology.
The farmers of Uttarakhand, being mostly
Also, the overall water resource planning on
dependent on rainfed agriculture for their
small watershed basis has to be done by the
livelihood, face a great difficulty due to
scientists, planners and managers together
lack of water availability for drinking and
with the beneficiaries and governmental/
domestic uses and for irrigation at crucial
non-governmental organizations.
times of crop growth. Though the region
receives good rainfall, the farmer’s still face
serious problem of moisture stress during References
pre- and post-monsoon periods. As the
Chittaranjan S and Rama Mohan Rao
farm holdings are small and scattered on
MS. (1986) Runoff Harvesting and Re-
different terrains, the storage of runoff from
cycling on Vertisols for Increasing Crop
land surface and roof-tops, and flows from
Production. In Soil Conservation in In-
natural water-springs in the cemented and/
dia. R.K. Gupta and M.L.Khybri (eds.).
or LDPE-lined dugout ponds is a viable and
Jugal Kishore and Co. Dehradun, pp.
feasible option to stabilize the rainfed farm-
ing in the hilly areas. Such ponds can be
constructed and maintained by the farmers Grewal SS, Mittal SP, Agnihotri Y and
themselves at affordable costs. The stored Dubey LN. (1989). Rainwater Harvest-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ing for Management of Agricultural Himalaya. J. Soil and Water Conserva-

Droughts in the foothills of Northern tion (USA), 47(2): 249-250.
India. Agril. Water Mangt. 16 (4), 309-
Oswal MD. (1994). Water conservation
and dryland crop production in arid
Kumar Anil. (1992). Development and Con- and semi-arid regions. Annals of Arid
servation of Water Resources in Garhwal Zone, 33 (2). 95 -104.

Table 1. Distribution of area and rainwater availability in the country

Rainwater Volume of rainwater received
Rainfall zone Geographical Net sown area
available (M
(mm) area (M ha) (M ha) (M ha-m) (%)
100 - 500 52.07 15.62 29 8.70 55.7
500 - 750 40.26 25.16 22 13.75 54.6
750 - 1000 65.86 57.63 24 29.75 51.6
1000 - 2500 137.24 205.86 44 66.00 32.1
> 2500 82.57 95.73 14 41.15 43.0

Table 2. Observed mean and expected lowest assured

rainfall at various probability levels
Probability Observed Probability levels
levels mean 80 % 50 %
Jan 58.2 7 59.8
Feb 83.3 28.7 80.9
Mar 77.9 33.9 66.5
Apr 52 14.3 39.5
May 83 33.8 77.2
Jun 114 89.1 129.2
Jul 274 163.9 289.3
Aug 263.1 200.1 284.6
Sep 136.9 60.2 133.5
Oct 33.3 - 5
Nov 21.4 - 4.3
Dec 58.5 - 51.9
Spring (Feb-May) 296.4 177.3 296.2
Summer (Jun-Sep) 788 659.6 759.8
Winter (Oct-Jan) 171.4 82.8 135.9
Annual 1255.6 1019.5 1299.8


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Appendix 1

Cost of construction of LDPE lined pond at Hill Campus (G. B .Pant University),
Ranichauri, Tehri Garhwal (Uttaranchal) in the year 1996.
A. Excavation of pit
Total earth work = 20 .30 m3
Rate of excavation = Rs. 25 per m3
Cost of digging = Rs. 507.50

B. Weight of LDPE sheet (0.25 mm) = 13.15 Kg

Rate of sheet = Rs. 55 /Kg
Cost of sheet = Rs. 723.25

C. Plastering the pond

Weight of wheat straw = 80 Kg
Rate of straw = Rs. 1.50 /Kg
Cost of straw = Rs. 120
Labour involved in mixing the soil with straw /pine needle and plastering below and
above the sheet were 4 man-days @ Rs. 35 per day
Labour cost = Rs. 140.00
Total cost involved in
A, B and C above = Rs. 1490.00
Storage capacity of the pond = 15 m3
Cost of pond per cubic meter of water stored = Rs. 99.38, say Rs. 100.00
Assuming a price hike by 50% for 2008, the cost = Rs. 150 per m3 water stored

Figure 1. Details of LDPE lined tank suitable for hilly areas.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Figure 2. Appropriate Water Harvesting Model for Hilly Areas


Farm Ponds for Supplementary Irrigation to
Plantation Crops in Goa
S Manivannan
ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Ela, Old Goa, Goa

Abstract irrigation. Then, there were tanks, ponds,

Goa falls in a high rainfall zone of the diversion structures, bhandharas and wells.
country. The agriculture in Goa consists Except for a few diversion structures, which
of both irrigated and rainfed components. were constructed and maintained by the
As the possibility of launching new major Government, the community of villages
irrigation projects in the state is minimum called the ‘Communidade’ managed all
due to lack of vast continuous stretches of other irrigation structures. The irrigated
agricultural land in an undulating topogra- area increased from 9860 to 13,273 ha by
phy. Hence, water harvesting and recycling 1980 and 23,230 ha at present. The total
through construction of farm ponds bear the cultivable area in the state is 1,96,618 ha.
scope to mitigate the problems of drought There is a scope to bring an additional area
and may enhance the agricultural produc- of 29,332 ha under irrigation by developing
tivity in the region. Both small and large new irrigation projects. At the same time, the
farm ponds can be constructed, depending possibility of launching new major irrigation
on the localized factors. Harvested water projects in the state is minimum due to
can be utilized for irrigation of plantation the undulating topography of Goa, which
crops like coconut, cashewnut and mango does not have vast continuous stretches of
using micro irrigation systems to bring in agricultural land to permit gravity flow for
higher water use efficiency. irrigation. Though, the Goa state receives
higher rainfall, still many places experience
severe water scarcity during the summer
Introduction months as the maximum amount of rainfall
Goa state covers 3702 Sq. km of geographi- is received during monsoon period (June to
cal area of the country and receives an- September). The resultant moisture stress
nual rainfall averaging from 2800 mm in the and drought adversely affects the produc-
coastal belt to 3800 mm in the high ranges tivity of horticultural crops like cashew,
of Western Ghats along the eastern border of mango, arecanut, coconut, etc. Hence,
Goa. Nearly 95% of rainfall, which is spread water harvesting and recycling techniques
over four months from June to September, bear the scope to mitigate the problems of
is received in 122 rainfall events. The wa- drought and may enhance the agricultural
ter resources of Goa have been assessed productivity in the region. The term water
at 8570 million cubic metres. Of this, the harvesting is defined as the collection and
utilizable water resource is only 1465 million storage of any form of water; either runoff
cubic metres. At the time of its liberation or creek flows for irrigation use. In many
from the Portuguese rule on 19th December parts of world, the collected rainwater from
1961, Goa had about 7860 ha of land under the natural precipitation is the only source


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

of water supply and it is considered as an aged. After completing the earth work, the
economical and useful method. In most of sides of the pit has to be lined with paddy
the places in Goa, the soil type is laterite in straw or any other grass materials to offer
nature with high infiltration rate and low cushioning effect to avoid possible physical
water holding capacity. Hence, it is sug- damages to the plastic sheets. To place and
gested to construct small to large size farm fixation of the cushion materials, wooden
ponds, depending on the situation, with nails and threads can be used. Termite con-
plastic lining, which can serve the purpose trol powder should also be applied over
of irrigation during the summer months for the paddy straw or cushion materials to
plantation crops. avoid damages caused by termites to the
plastic sheets. Over the cushioning materials
the plastic silpaulin sheets should be laid
Smaller Farm Ponds from one end to the other end. One should
Smaller farm ponds are designed to har- make sure that it does not have any folds
vest the rainwater from the self-catchments left with. The excess portion of the plastic
area of pond during the rainy season. The sheet should be buried in to the trench exca-
harvested water can be used to irrigate the vated along the border. Various thicknesses
mango, cashew and any other similar type of of silpaulin sheets were evaluated and the
plants for their initial establishment. Smaller results revealed that Silpaulin 200 GSM thick
size ponds having the dimension of 2m (L) plastic material was the best lining material
x 2m (W) x 1m (D) or 4m (L) x 1m (W) to store rainwater. Hence, 200 GSM Silpaulin
x 1m (D) can be excavated in the center poly film is recommended for lining the
of the area having about 8 to 10 plants at smaller farm ponds and these sheets are
the field. The dimensions can be decided available in Goa itself. These smaller farm
based on the soil depth. If the soil is deep ponds store water about 4 cu. m or 4000
and enables to excavate up to 2m deep, liters per season and can be used to irrigate
the ponds dimensions having 2m X 2m X 8 to 10 horticultural plants. The number of
1m may be adopted. If the soil is shallow ponds to be dug can be decided based on
and the soil above one-meter depth is too the number of plants in the field.
hard, it is better to go for 4m X 2m X 1m
size pond.
Cost of the Farm Pond
The total cost for construction of each pond
Method of Construction varies from Rs. 1,923/- to Rs. 2,924/- and
After deciding the site and dimension of the depends on the dimensions and type of the
pond, the pit has to be excavated in proper soil. The construction cost under various
shape. Any sharp corners of the pit should types of soil and different dimensions is
be removed and surface of the sides should furnished in Table 1. Item-wise expenditure
be smoothened. The excavated soils should to construct a pond in ordinary soil with
be distributed uniformly around the pit and the dimension of 4m X 1m X 1m, is given
to make bund having the width of 0.3 m below:
for a height of 0.3 m to avoid any surface
flow and silting. Then dig 20 cm width and 1. Cost for earthwork
20 cm deep pit around the bund to hold excavation for 4 Cu. M
the plastic sheet so that it will not get dam- @ Rs. 48.75/- per Cu. M - Rs. 195/-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

2. Cost of 200 GSM, summer months, arbitrarily @ 10 liter per

7 m X 4 m size silpaulin week per plant. The pond has to be cov-
films - Rs.1608/- ered with suitable vegetation or lids and
neem oil can be applied to avoid evapo-
3. Cost of Paddy straw,
ration losses. The study conducted at the
termite control powder,
ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Old Goa,
nails and threads – Rs. 60/-
indicated that the utilizable harvested rain-
4. Installation charges - Rs. 60/- water varies from 3.0 to 3.2 Cu. M per pond.
5. Total Cost per pond - Rs.1923/- The capacity and dimensions of the ponds,
and the amount of utilizable rainwater are
furnished in Table 2.
Table 1. Cost of the construction of a
smaller farm pond in various soil types The irrigation should be done along with
Cost / pond (Rs.) mulching. For efficient utilization of har-
Soil type vested water, irrigation should be done
4m x 1m x1m 2m x 1m x 2m
through mud pots or bamboo poles.
Ordinary soil 1,923 2,479
Hard soil 1,975 2,531
Laterite rock 2,368 2,924
Larger Farm Ponds
Larger farm ponds are designed to harvest
the rainwater from the catchments area
Water Management of pond during the rainy season and to
Harvested water can be used to irrigate 8 irrigate plantation crops in one ha area
to 10 cashew or mango plants during the during summer. Larger farm pond in

Table 2. Utilizable rainwater from different sizes of smaller farm ponds

Dimensions of the Designed capacity Amount of water to be Utilizable rainwater
pond L X W X D (m) (Cu. m) harvested (Cu. m) (Cu. m)
4X1X1 4.00 4.00 3.2
2X1X2 4.00 4.00 3.0

Application of termite control powder before Paddy straw is used as cushion material
placing the cushion material


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Lining of a smaller farm pond with 200 GSM Direct rainwater harvesting in
Silpaulin poly film smaller farm ponds

designed dimensions has to be excavated in Water Management

trapezoidal manner with steps on all four Harvested water can be utilized for
sides. After the spray of herbicide, fine sand plantation crops like coconut and mango
has to be applied to a depth of 10 cm on in one ha area (approximately 156 plants)
bottom of the pond. Plastic silpaulin sheets for six months period. It is advisable to
should be laid from one end to the other irrigate using micro irrigation systems
end. The poly film has to be fitted with for efficient utilization of the harvested
cooks systematically. In the steps, the poly water.
film has to be laid under applied weight by
placing sand or smooth boulders pockets. Acceptance of Technology
Smaller as well as larger farm ponds lined
Specifications of Farm Pond
with silpaulin poly films were accepted by
Length : 40 m
farmers and it has been adopted under wa-
Width of farm pond : 22 m
tershed development project.
Depth : 3.0 m
Side slope : 1.5: 1
Capacity : 3500 cum
FTL : 2.8 m In case of larger farm pond, the cost of sil-
Free Board : 0.2 m paulin poly films varies from Rs. 1.10 lakhs
Losses : 0.8 m to 1.30 lakhs and small farmers are not able
Available water for recycling : 2750 cu. m to adopt due to lack of finance.
Cost of farm pond : 3.02 Lakhs
Lining material : 250 GSM Silpaulin Strategies for up-scaling
poly film
Half-life period of poly films : 6 years Seventy five percent subsidies can be given
on the cost of poly films for larger farm


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ponds to farmers by the State or General rate, the farmers may adopt this technology
Governments. With further rise in subsidy at a larger scale.

View of a larger farm pond lined with 300 GSM silpaulin poly films


Rainwater Harvesting through Cost-effective Water
Storage Structures in Mid Hills of Himachal Pradesh:
A Success Story
IP Sharma and OP Sharma
Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni-Solan, Himachal Pradesh

Abstract the closure of rains. This erratic behavior

The farmers of hilly region of Himachal of rainfall badly affects the sowing of crops
Pradesh face the problem of acute water and other associated agronomical practices.
shortages during non-rainy period though The state of Himachal Pradesh of North-
the region receives adequate rainfall. To west Himalayan region, lies between 32°
overcome the problem of water for agri- 29’ N and 75° 10’ E .
culture, low cost water harvesting structure The region receives precipitation mainly
using LDPE film lined ponds were demon- through rains. However, the districts of
strated at various locations and compared Shimla, Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti re-
with the existing alternative of ferro-cement ceives greater proportion of precipitation
tanks. The storage cost of these ponds was through snowfall. The 80% of the rains are
Rs. 0.8 to 1.0 per litre as compared to Rs. monsoon based and confined from July to
3.5 to 4.5 per litre. August months and rest of the rainfall is
received during winter months i.e. Decem-
Introduction and Background ber to February. Hence, there is always a
scarcity of water for meeting domestic, agri-
Himachal Pradesh, receives an average
cultural and livestock requirements despite
rainfall of 1200 mm in a year, still prob-
receiving rainfall more than the national
lem of water scarcity becomes more acute
average. This erratic behavior of rainfall
due to the erratic behavior of monsoon/
in both the seasons results into various
winter rains i.e., early and late onset and
problems related to the agriculture of the
region. To address these problems, work on
the rainwater harvesting and its efficient
utilization that has been taken as a policy
in the state were initialized and is being
demonstrated as low cost technology for
adoption by farmers.

The water harvesting in the state has been
undertaken from two main natural resourc-
es i.e., rainfall and low discharge water
springs and rivulets (discharge as low as
Figure 1 : Location map of Himachal Pradesh 1-30L/mt). About 60% of the total rainfall,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

is lost as surface runoff. Water harvesting brick lining that has water storage capacity
from these resource were realized using lin- of 4 lacs and 1.3 lacs liters.
ear low-density polyethylene lined (LLDPE)
farm ponds (Figure 1 and 2). The water storage cost ranges from Rs. 0.75
to Rs.1.0 per litre. The harvested water ful-
A number of other treatments to minimize filled the water requirement of different se-
surface infiltration including treatment of lected crop under research trials during the
surface soil by sodium salts, bentonite & kao- water scarcity period, which commonly oc-
linite clay minerals were also tried during cur after the receding of the monsoons (Sept-
R&D approach. For harvesting water using December) & after winter rains,( March to
LDPE sheet at the Departmental Research June). In order to use the water efficiently,
Farm of Soil Science & Water Management, water were applied through micro irrigation
a series of trapezoidal shaped water harvest- system under gravity head. Realizing the
ing farm ponds were constructed in the year benefits of water storage, two more water
1995-96 using 250 micron (0.25mm thick) harvesting ponds having storage capacity
black colour LDPE sheet along with loose of 6 lac liters were constructed in the year

Figure 1 and 2. LDPE sheet water storage pond at UHF Nauni, Solan.

Figure 3. Construction procedure of Figure 4. Laying of polysheet and lining of

LDPE lined farm pond pond with bricks


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

2007 for fulfilling the water requirement the Ministry of Water Resources, Govern-
of additional research trials conducted by ment of India, has sanctioned a project
the Precision Farming Development Centre entitled “Farmers Participatory Action Re-
(PFDC) of this department. search Programme” demonstration of effi-
cient techniques under rainfed condition
This technology was demonstrated at KVK’s in Himachal Pradesh, which also aims at
and Regional Research Stations of the uni- the demonstration of same technology all
versity. These water harvesting structure over the state at 100 different sites covering
sites are visited by the progressive farm- subtropical to dry temperate climate having
ers/officers of the state as well as by visi- average rainfall between 900 mm to 2650
tors from other parts of the country and mm, including some sites where the pre-
foreign delegates. The farmers who got the cipitation through snow is only 250mm.
inspiration from the university scientists ad-
opted this low cost technology in their fields. The same technology is being adopted by
The farmers realized the benefits of water different developmental departments as
harvesting in the LDPE storage ponds as a part of their programs. Encouraged the
they were able to save their crops by us- demonstrations of ponds, the farmers have
ing life saving irrigation during the water started thinking of replicating the technol-
scarcity period and increased production of ogy with their own efforts and money. A
fruits and vegetables, etc. This technology visit of farmers interested in learning more
has been replicated in 560 ha of land by about plasticulture applications and adopt-
increasing storage capacity 40 times at the ing the technology, on water harvesting and
farm of the university. its improvement was arranged by the Pre-
cision Farming Development Centre with
Keeping in view the success story of the financial support of National Committee
LDPE lined farm ponds at Dr. Y.S. Parmar on Plasticulture Applications in Horticul-
University of Horticulture & Forestry, Solan, ture, New Delhi during 1.2.09 to 6.2.09 to

Figure 5. LDPE lined farm pond at farmer’s fields


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan technology being adopted at the Research

Sansthan (VPKAS) Almora (Uttarakhand), Farm and demonstrated the construction
a Research Institute of Indian Council of of different types of farm ponds. The VP-
Agricultural Research, New Delhi. The KAS Almora has adopted village namely
Director of institute, Dr. Hari Shankar Gupt Bhagartola, 40 km away from Research
during his inaugural address exhorted Station where the plasticulture technol-
participants for the adoption of the techno- ogy is being adopted by the villagers with
logy and emphasized that it is suitable for the concept that for protective cultivation,
the slopy land as well as valley areas of there must be assured irrigation, which
the hill state. Thereafter, the farmers were can be supplemented by the use of this
apprised with low cost water harvesting technology.

Figure 6. LDPE lined water storage demonstration by VPKAS, Almora

Figure 7. Rooftop rainwater harvesting at VPKAS, Almora


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

On similar lines, rooftop rainwater harvest- success of ferro-cement technology, more

ing in low cost ferro-cement tanks and con- and more Volunteer Organizations are com-
crete block tanks are also becoming popu- ing forward for replicating the technology.
lar in the farming community as these are Farmers are ready to adopt the technology
constructed by various non-governmental at large scale. It is estimated that about 5000
organizations with the financial support of concrete block and ferro-cement tanks are
the Council for Advancement of People’s Ac- functioning satisfactorily, providing life sav-
tion & Rural Technology (CAPART), under ing irrigation to the crops in 200 ha of land,
the aegis of Ministry of Rural Development, in addition to supplementing the domestic
Government of India and beneficiaries’ con- needs of water (Figure 8).
tribution in terms of cash and kind. The
technology of concrete blocks and ferro ce-
ment tank with 3000 and 5000 liters capacity Conclusion
are most popular with their life span of The studies include technology develop-
about 20 years. ment of cost effective water storage through
LDPE lined farm ponds, concrete block &
The water stored in these tanks is being used ferro-cement storage structure to harvest
for kitchen gardening viz. growing garlic, rainwater and its effective utilization for ir-
coriander, etc., besides providing life saving rigation and domestic purpose. The LDPE
irrigation to plants, washing of clothes and lined farm pond with storage capacity of 3-4
drinking water for livestock. This has result- Lakh litres @ at Rs.0.8/litre in valley areas
ed in saving a lot of time being wasted earlier and 0.5 lakh litre in slopy land site with
in bringing water from the far away places, cost @ at Rs. 1 was found more feasible
in addition to providing better opportunity and are being demonstrated throughout the
of livelihood to the artisans involved in con- state for adoption by farmers. To harvest
structing these tanks, the storage cost of roof rainwater, concrete block & ferro ce-
water in concrete block and ferro-cement ment technology with storage capacity of
tanks varies from Rs. 3.5 to 4.5 per liter 3000-5000 litres @ at Rs.3.5 – 4.5 per litre
depending on the distance from road and has been found a success story.
condition of the locality. Encouraged by the

Figure 8. .Rooftop rainwater harvesting ferro-cement tanks/

concrete block in different villages


Water Harvesting for Supplemental Irrigation -
A Case study from in Shivalik Hill Region
AK Tiwari
Central Soil & Water Conservation Research & Training Institute
Research Centre, Chandigarh

Abstract Shivaliks have its share of constraints also.

Rennovation of water harvesting pond at Water scarcity for irrigation is one of the
Mandhala village in Solan Distirct of Hi- critical issues of this region. It receives an
machal Pradesh were studied. The pond average annual rainfall of 1122 mm (Av.
had the storage capacity of 2.0 ha-m which of 1958-2005) (Agnihotri et al. 2005). About
can provide supplemental irrigation to 10 80 per cent of this rainfed is received dur-
ha area. The pond water was applied to the ing monsoon, i.e. June-September, which
field using gravity (4.0 ha) and lift irrigation produces runoff in the range of 30-50 per
(6.0 ha). The pond after construction was cent in untreated watersheds. Vast volume
handed over to water user society which in of runoff inundates low-lying fields and
turn took the responsibility of water distri- causes temporary water excess. Analysis of
bution. The pond helped in increasing the 42 years rainfall data (1958-94) at Panchkula
productivity of wheat by 3-5 folds providing (Haryana) reveals that during this period,
maximum net return of Rs. 9321/ha which the region experiences 8 large and 5 severe
has change the situation of rainfed farming droughts. Thus, one out of every three years
in the region that gave negative net returns. had severe rainfall deficit even in the kharif
95% of farmers approved the usefulness of crops. In the absence of good winter rains
such ponds. It is the recommended that and irrigation facilities, the rabi crops fail
without community involvement and cre- completely twice in every five years. Only
ation of self sustaining local level institution, 18 per cent of the cultivated area in the
the aims of self sufficiency and enhanced Shivaliks is irrigated and rest all is rainfed
productivity in the rainfed areas through (Verma, 2000).
water harvesting and water management The rainfed areas of the Shivaliks have no
programme cannot be achieved possibilities of providing irrigation through
conventional methods. Due to multidirec-
Introduction tional slopes and fragile geology, the region
lacks canals and availability of groundwater
The Shivalik region spread over an area of
in the hilly tracts of the Shivaliks, which is
about 3 m ha represents one of the eight
at a depth > 150 feet below ground level.
most degraded eco-systems in India. The
Groundwater depletion is noticed in some
Shivaliks are characterized with low hills,
patches of the lower Shivaliks, particularly
undulating topography, steep slopes and
in Punjab and Haryana due to over exploita-
easily erodible soils. The region is dissected
tion of the groundwater for irrigation and
by numerous seasonal streams. Like other
industrial purposes. In Punjab and Haryana,
sub-humid region, it has vast water, soil
almost all districts have been experiencing
and biological resources. Vast resources of
a decline in the groundwater level by 20


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

cm per year for the past 10 years dur- Development of Pond

ing1995-2004. A pond having submergence area of 0.4 ha
The participatory process of watershed was renovated in the village. It was an old
management was initiated by Central Soil pond silted up over a period of time. Desilt-
and Water Conservation Research and ation of the pond and increasing the height
Training Institute at village Sukhomajri of the embankment increased its capacity
(Haryana) in 1974 through the Regional from 0.7 ha-m to 2.0 ha-m. The old embank-
Centre at Chandigarh. The immense suc- ment of the pond had the problem of leak-
cess of the Sukhomajri model led to its age, which was intruding in the house of a
implementation at 102, 72 and 30 locations farmer on the down streamside. The centre
in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Hi- of the embankment was dug up to a depth
machal Pradesh, respectively. The analysis of 3-3.5 m and a core wall of clayey soil was
and overall experiences of the project imple- packed for a length of 60 m with a width
mentation in the Shivalik region revealed of 1 m. This could check the seepage from
that the integrated watershed management the old embankment. Also, the plastic sheet
project, where the component of rainwater was provided at more vulnerable points to
harvesting and recycling was successful, re- check the seepage completely. After desilt-
sulted in increased agricultural production. ing the pond the good soil was dug up at
The water resource developed under these the beginning was spread at the base of the
programmes became a common binding fac- pond to reduce the seepage losses, which
tor and the source of income generation. generally increases after the desilting work.
And ensuring people participation from the And now this pond is being effectively uti-
project implementation stage to execution lized for supplementary irrigation of about
stage is the key factor for sustainability 10 ha of land, which was under rainfed
of the projects. But unfortunately, it was farming in the past. Different features of
found that many of the water harvesting the farm pond are listed below:
structures failed in these northern states,
immediately after implementation due to Harvesting Surface Water in the
unscientific planning and they could not Pond at Mandhala
assure a sustainable water resource. It was Catchment area - 4.32 ha
thought over to scientifically plan the wa- Capacity of pond - 2.0 ha-m
ter harvesting structures; refine the water
Command area - 10.0 ha (under sup
harvesting technique to have a sustainable
plementary irrigation)
availability of water.
Gravity irrigation - 4.0 ha
Lift irrigation - 6.0 ha
Case Study of the Renovation
of Water Harvesting Pond at The pond is well equipped with inlet chute
structure, draining the catchment through
Village Mandhala
60 cm dia RCC pipe. Outlet structure has
The project scheme was taken up at vil- been given a rectangular drop structure with
lage Mandhala, in Solan district of Himachal facility of gauging the runoff through au-
Pradesh in collaboration with and partici- tomatic stage level recorder.
pation by farmers/ beneficiaries of the vil-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Embankment Type Storage Water management

The torrential flow during the monsoon in About 5 cm of water is being taken up for
the small choe also provides a good op- single irrigation to wheat crop in the area
portunity of water harvesting. One of the being irrigated by pond. And the crop yield
structures with a height of 4.5 m has been has gone up by 3-5 times the past yield of
installed in the upper Mandhala watershed. the crop, depicting a high range of water
The check dam has been constructed as a use efficiency. Supplying the water through
multipurpose structure to check erosion and under ground pipelines has increased the
retain surface and sub-surface water. The overall efficiency of the gravity and lift ir-
catchment of the structure is 8 ha. This can rigation by preventing losses through the
easily supplement or divert the rainwater seepage. Availability of water for irrigation
to main pond in the case of drought or low has motivated the farmers for leveling their
rainfall. The water from this structure has own fields, which further helped in better
been channelized through a pacca channel water management.
to make the main pond sustainable all the
time to come. A valve at the check dam Water users society
controls the supply as per requirement to After completing all the aspects of water
fill up the main pond. resource development for upper Mandhala
(viz. pond, pump, overhead tank, pipelines,
Recycling of Harvested Rainwater outlets) the scheme was handed over to the
Gravity irrigation water user society, which was formed at the
inception of the work. And presently, the
An inlet box at 96.0 m elevation connects the
society is handling the complete responsibil-
water through 150 mm GI pipe initially and
ity of operation of the diesel pump set and
further transmits the water through under-
the distribution of water. The water users
ground PVC pipeline of 110 mm diameter run-
society has been quite effective in sharing
ning into 400m length in agricultural fields.
the water between the beneficiaries.
The available water between the elevations
of 98.5 to 96.0 m (contour) at the pond can
be used through gravity system. Rainfall-runoff Relationship at
Water Harvesting Structure
Lift irrigation
The irrigation water is being lifted through
8 hp diesel pump to the water tank, which Total rainfall, rainy season rainfall and run-
provides the water to agricultural fields off to WHS were measured in Mandhala
through a complete underground network to study the rainfall-runoff relationships.
system of PVC pipes over 6 ha of land. Storms were categorized in six classes (like,
Thirteen sluice valves have been provided 0-12.5, 12.6-25.0, 25.1-50.0, 50.1-75.0, 75.1-
at suitable locations to provide irrigation 100.0 and >100 mm). It has been found
water to terraced agricultural fields which that runoff was initiated only when rainfall
delivers the water at a discharge rate of 10- event exceeded 25.0 mm.
12 litres/sec. This system has also reduced It was measured that maximum runoff
the seepage and evaporation losses, thus occurred during 2003, (>2 ha-m) as com-
providing additional irrigation water to pared to 2004, 2005 and 2006. Maximum 19
agricultural fields.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Rainy season rainfall and runoff in differ-

ent years of Mandhala are also depicted in
Figure 1. It is clearly observed that maxi-
mum runoff occurred during 2003 followed
by 2006, 2005 and 2004. In 2003, the over-
flow occurred through spillway during

Significant Findings
The project resulted in an increase in
Multi purpose check dam for harvesting surface cropped area to the tune of 27.4 percent
and sub-surface water and diverting to main pond during the kharif and 46.8 % during the rabi
season. The wheat crop which was taken
rainfall events (>25 mm) occurred during under rainfed condition earlier, got supple-
2003, which caused maximum runoff. Even mentary irrigation after the project from
overflow through spillway was noticed dur- the harvested rainwater in the renovated
ing 2003. Number of rainfall events greater pond. Yield of wheat and maize shot up
than 25 mm was 14 in case of 2005 and to 29.8 q/ha and 30.0 q/ha, respectively as
2006. Whereas, in 2004 only 10 events caused compared to the earlier level of 8.8 q/ha
runoff to WHS. It could be stated that the and 9.5 q/ha, respectively.
threshold limit of rainfall event that caused
Economics of growing wheat crop was
runoff in Mandhala was 25 mm and the
worked out under the four situations. It
number of high rainfall events was found
is seen that farmers got the maximum net
to be more important as compared to that
returns from the pond-irrigated crop (Rs.
of the total amount of rainfall causing run-
9231/ha). Next in sequence were the crop
off. This is reflected in the years 2004 and
irrigated through government. tubewell (Rs
2005. In these years, the total amount of
8714/ha) and the that irrigated by private
rainfall was almost the same, but the year
tubewell (Rs. 8471/ha) respectively. Rainfed
2005 yielded more runoff as it received 14
wheat was found to have negative net re-
rainfall events (>25 mm) as compared to
turns (- Rs. 837/ha). Since the major com-
10 in 2004.
ponent (55.2%) in the input cost was that
of family labour and the entrepreneur does
not have to pay for the same in cash, rainfed
farming is done at the subsistence level.

Farmer’s evaluation about appropriateness

of the project interventions was undertak-
en. About 95 percent of the farmers of the
village felt that the pond was very much
appropriate, while 86.8 percent termed the
irrigation system as the most appropriate.
Figure 1. Rainfall and runoff in monsoon for Majority of the farmers were satisfied with
different years at Mandhala the availability of water, production aspects,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

increased income, working of the water us- iii. Channelization of the rainwater to
er’s society, redressal of the gender issues the pond.
and soil conservation measures. Thus the
3. Refinement in water harvesting tech-
research project was highly favoured by the
nique by:
stakeholders in the village.
i. Runoff inducement through diver-
The project demonstrates the techniques of sion from other potential catch-
water harvesting in this region for surface ments.
and sub-surface flow and increasing water ii. Channelization to increase the ex-
yield through diversion from other adja- isting catchment area to have a sus-
cent catchments. The water management in tained water yield.
the crop fields from WHS had been quite
effective as no water is wasted and also 4. Water market governance by the society
only 4-5 cm of each irrigation is given in has to be effective to force the benefi-
the rabi season for wheat corp. Crop yields ciaries to utilize the water judiciously.
have gone up by 3-5 times of the original 5. Increase in water conveyance efficiency
yield, and people have been benefited by by underground pipelines and suitable
the project. Only 60% of water was used valves and improved irrigation technol-
for irrigation rest was left for fisheries and ogy is required for proper water man-
animal and unavoidable losses. The project agement.
has been highly acclaimed by the media.
6. Treatment of the catchment area of the
WHS with appropriate soil conservation
Recommendations Arising Out measures should ideally start before
of the Project Work their construction, in order to reduce
erosion from the degraded hilly areas.
The project presents a proper design for
water harvesting and further refinements in 7. Villagers should be the actors to man-
water harvesting techniques for the region. age the water harvesting systems and
Effective utilization of the stored water for the government, department should be
increasing productivity is the only answer only facilitators. Thus, a village level so-
to combat the low economy of the rainfed ciety is a prerequisite for the effective
areas of the Shivaliks region. Following rec- utilization of harvested water resources,
ommendations arise from the study for the proper maintenance and operation of the
rainfed areas of Shivaliks. system including catchment protection
and common area development.
1. Project is to be taken up in participatory
mode to get the desired impacts of devel- 8. Research investigations are needed for
opment of water harvesting structures developing design procedures/specifi-
and effective water management. cation for surface and sub-surface water
harvesting structures in such areas.
2. Old ponds in the region should be reno-
vated in the following manner. 9. Efforts should be made to generate social
i. Desilting of old pond. funds to the maximum by introduction
of fishery etc, sale of harvested water
ii. Retaining upper layer of the pond by
and by adopting alternative use systems
desilting and spreading at the bottom
in common land/Panchayat land.
after completion of the work.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

It is the recommended that without com- Tiwari AK, Singh P, Aggarwal RK, Agni-
munity involvement and creation of self hotri Y, Sharma Pawan, Ram Prasad and
sustaining local level institution, the aims Bhattacharya P. (2005) Integrated land
of self sufficiency and enhanced productiv- and water management for sustainable
ity in the rainfed areas through water har- production in Shivalik foothills in Mand-
vesting and water management programme hala village, Distt. Solan, H.P. Annual
cannot be achieved. Report, CSWCRTI, Dehradun.
Verma HN (2000) Rainwater harvesting
References and its recycling for crops and fish pro-
duction in Shivaliks. In: Fifty years of
Agnihotri Y, Bhattacharya P, Sharda VN Research on Sustainable Resource Man-
and Tiwari AK. (2006) Weather trends agement in Shivaliks (Eds. S.P.Mittal,
at Chandigarh Bulletin No. T-52/C-12. R.K.Aggarwal, and J.S.Samra). CSW-
CSWCRTI, Research Centre, Chandi- CRTI, Research Centre, Chandigarh pp.
garh. India. pp.8-9. 327 – 334.


Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling for Sustainable
Agricultural Production in North Eastern Hill Region
B Krishna Rao and KK Satapathy
Division of Crop Production, Central Tobacco Research Institute, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh
Division of Agricultural Engineering, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Barapani, Meghalaya

Abstract increased utilization of stream flow through

diversion works at feasible locations; stor-
Present paper describes various methods
ing surplus water at appropriate locations
adopted in North-eastern region of India
by constructing small reservoirs and recy-
in water harvesting and utilization. The uti-
cling it in the same area. Stream flow lift
lization methods namely furrow irrigation
irrigation; conjunctive use of surface and
in bench terrace, zabo system, and bamboo
groundwater on rotational basis; adoption
drip irrigation is discussed in detail. These
of scientific on farm water use and manage-
discussions are substantiated with the case
ment technology (Thansanga and Saxena,
study of water management practice at apa-
2000). The importance of water harvesting
tani valley.
structures, mainly comprising of earthen
embankments with spillways for conser-
Introduction vation of water resources for multiple use
The North Eastern region of India is unique including drinking water supply, irrigation
in its physiographic land characterstics or aquaculture, is well recognized. Rolling
varying agro-climatic condition, land tenure topography of hills and gorges in the North
systems and cultivation practices, distinct Eastern Hill region facilitate the construc-
from the rest of the country. Water is one tion of such embankment type ponds with
of the key resources of the country and high storage- earth work ratio. Some expe-
North Eastern region accounts for about riences related to rainwater harvesting in
40% of the total water resources in the hilly regions are discussed.
country. The region experiences excessive
rainfall and high floods during the monsoon Indigenous Water
months and also suffers from acute shortage
Harvesting Practices
of even drinking water in many areas due
to lack of water management. Irrigation is The traditional method of irrigation in hills
one of the weakest link in the region, only consists of harnessing the hill streams dur-
meager 7.75 per cent of the net cropped ing monsoon by constructing temporary
area is irrigated. Some of the important check dams on streambed for diversion
aspects of rainwater management in the and conveyance of water through earthen
terrain can be envisaged as; management channel. Boulder, timber and earthen dams
of runoff on the slopping land use and in- are built across the stream to raise the level
situ retention of rainfall by the adoption of of water for diversion. There is a tradition
appropriate soil conservation measures and of such irrigation works being done by
land use practices; ensuring safe disposal of village/community as a whole in carrying
surplus water from higher to lower level; water from streams over large distances. A


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

variety of typical water management tech- the Phek district of Nagaland. The system
niques based on local skill and resources is a combination of agriculture, forestry
are prevalent in the region. Based on long and animal husbandry with well-founded
experience under existing soil and climatic conservation base for soil control, water
conditions as well as the availability of large resource development and water manage-
number of hill streams, farmers in certain ment as well as for the protection of envi-
areas have developed typical systems of wa- ronment. The rainwater is collected from
ter management, which are very effective the catchment of protected hilltops of above
under the existing condition of topography 100% slopes in a pond with seepage control.
and terrain. Some of these practices, mostly Silt retention tanks are constructed at sev-
confined to the places of their origin are: eral points before the runoff water enters
into the pond (Fig 1). The cultivation fully
Continuous Flow Irrigation in depends on the amount of water stored in
Bench Terraces the pond. (Sonowal et al., 1989).
In this system the hill streams are tapped
at or near the source of emergence and Bamboo Drip Irrigation
the water is channalised to irrigate a series This system is practiced by the farmers in
of terraces in such a manner that water Jaintia hill district of Meghalaya to irrigate
continuously flows from the upper terraces arecanut and betelvine grown on steep hill
to the lower ones without soil erosion and slopes with rocky soils. In this system small
maintaining a desired level of water in the hill streams from upper reaches are diverted
terraces. In some pockets of Nagaland such into bamboo fitted about 1 to 2 m above the
irrigated bench terraces are seen even on a ground surface with the support of bamboo
very poor land having hardly 10 to 15 cm stands (Fig. 2). The water brought to the
of soil depth, 5 to 8 cm of water is continu- field by these channels gravitationally and
ously maintained in the sources. distributed through secondary, tertiary or
more branches of pipe line with a typical
Zabo System water diversion system at the joint of each
Zabo system of farming is practiced by branch, ultimately drips to the individual
Chakhachang tribe of Mikruma village in plants enabling the system to deliver 15 to

Figure 1. Zabo System of Farming in Phek district of Nagaland


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Figure 2. Bamboo drip irrigation system of Meghalaya

25 lit/min at the terminal of these branches and channels are made in such a way that
(Singh 1989). entire plateau functions as a watercourse.
Bamboo and wooden log pipes of various
Water Management Practices of size used are as pre-fabricated water man-
Apatani Valley agement structures for use as conduit for
This is unique land use and water man- water inlets and outlets, waste weirs and
agement technique is adopted by Apatani energy dissipaters (Sharma, 1991).
tribe in the Subansiri district of Arunachal
Pradesh to irrigate gently sloping lands at Alternative Land Use Model
the foothills by diverting hill streams from The multi-disciplinary research programme
upper reaches. Earth, boulder, brushwood of ICAR aimed at developing alternative
dams are used for the diversion work. The land management practices has identified
stream water brought through the micro several viable land use models for the region
watershed channel is diverted to a network following their evaluation in terms of their
of sub channels to serve as irrigation cum long term runoff, production potentials, soil
drainage channels. The lay out of fields and nutrient losses, yield behaviour, biotic


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

and abiotic changes and so on. Watershed • Subsidiary income from rearing of live-
based farming system, appropriate soil stock by feeding on the by-products of
conservation measures, mixed land use of crops and cultivated fodders, trees raised
agri-horti-silvipastoral system, subsidiary on the terrace risers, bund surface and
source of income through livestock rear- very steep slopes unfit for cultivation.
ing, creation of water harvesting and silt
• Construction of small earthen dams for
retention structure at low reaches-these are
water storage and slit retention at lower
the important distinguishing features of the
reaches of the watershed by utilizing lo-
suggested agricultural strategy on this hill
cal resources-earth, stones and human
slopes (Singh et al ., 1996 and Satapathy,
labour to utilize the stored water for fish
2003). The model developed is based on
production or to recycle back for life
the following distinct approaches:
saving irrigation.
• The watershed, a natural drainage unit,
• By these technologies the crop produc-
should form the basis for planning vari-
tion has increased 3 times and moni-
ous land uses to optimise the use of soil
tory returns has increased 9 times. The
and water resources for sustained pro-
analysis of the hydrological data indi-
duction. This watershed-based farming
cated that the runoff production and silt
system coupled with mechanical soil
yield has reduced substantially from the
conservation measure contour bunds,
bench terrace, half moon terrace; grassed
waterway, etc., at appropriate locations
In-situ Retention of Rainfall
can retain maximum rainfall within the
slope, safely disposing off the excess run- Land uses practiced in micro watersheds
off from the slopes to foot hills with non with appropriate soil and water conser-
erosive velocity. vation measures were found effective in
retention of rainfall. Mixed land use sys-
• Application of Improved production tems with appropriate soil conservation
technology and Increase of cropping measures namely bench terraces; contour
intensity by growing atleast two high trenches etc. were most effective in check-
yielding crops have the possibility to In- ing erosion and retaining 80-100% annual
crease the productivity of rainfed bench rainfall in situ and simulate the effects of
terraces 3 to 5 times more than that of the natural forest. From the observations on
sloppy land with no detrimental effect on annual runoff and, soil it is apparent that use
natural resources. The trials conducted of conservation measures developed from
by ICAR have demonstrated that with local resources (soil, vegetation, manpower)
intensive crop production, one hectare as reinforcement to the desired land use
of terraced land can sustain a family of is capable to perform functions as that of
five, with 60-70 percent of yield meeting forest (or natural vegetation). The water re-
the food requirements and marketing the tained in slopes within the watersheds was
remaining for other needs. Introduction thus made available for use by the crops/
of remunerative horticultural crops can plants and recharge of streams, springs and
instill in the Jhumias’ long term interest groundwater. The contributions to stream
in the land to tie them down to settled flow in the watersheds with substantial area
agriculture. under natural forest is primarily by subsur-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

face flow (base flow). Subsurface flow from to tens of cubic meters per hour, giving
the upper slopes often was a significant pro- rise to numerous stream and rivulets, the
portion of total flow from the catchments. discharge being the highest during mon-
Pipe networks are formed at various depths soons that gets reduced during autumn and
below the surface due to biological activities. reaches at their lowest in summer (Fig. 4).
Rainwater infiltrating into the soil is carried These natural springs continue to be the
laterally by these pipes and delivered into main source of water supply to bulk of
the stream. Where pipes are close to the the tribal population living in the hills for
surface they lead to saturation of soil and meeting their domestic and irrigation needs.
overland flow occurs. Land uses namely Springs water can be used through several
forest, agro-forestry and pine afforestation techniques such as diversion into channels,
during their first 6 years of establishment storage in tanks or even through the de-
yielded 72 to 93%, 76 to 92% of total wa- velopment of artificial spring by excavating,
ter yield as base flow respectively. Annual long sub-terranean galleries. However in
water yield through base flow works out spite of difficult terrains and rugged soil
to be 0.27, 0.28 and 1.76 m ha respectively conditions, there are a number of indig-
against the annual rainfall of 2.58 m. There enous technologies prevalent for the con-
was consistent reduction in peak discharge. veyance and management of such water. Six
In another experiment, water yield potential such springs having water yield potential
of hill slopes was found to vary between of 0.99 to 7.72 ha m /yr. (Table 1) are be-
0.21 and 0.73 ha.m of catchments for ag- ing currently pooled for water supply at
ricultural and agri-horticultural watershed ICAR Complex at Barapani. Construction
(Satapathy, 1996; Rao and Satapathy, 2005 of suitably lined storage tanks of adequate
a, b, 2008). Besides rainfall management, size with protection measure for possible
the approach proved highly effective in pollution by humans and animal is essen-
conserving soil as the loss were negligible tial for effective utilization of these water
in almost all the watersheds, particularly at resources.
Barapani, which received high rainfall.
Dugout-Cum Embankment
Harnessing Hill Springs Type Pond
The rugged hilly terrain supports a large
number of springs, perennial as well ephem- Small earth dams can be used in large scale
eral with yields varying from a few litres for water storage in the North Eastern Hills

Table 1. Water Yield Characteristics of Natural Springs in Barapani

Discharge lit/sec Coefficient of Av. Annual water
Spring source
minimum maximum variation % yield (ha.m)
1 0.18 0.66 40.60 1.10
2 0.10 0.70 54.43 0.99
3 1.51 3.75 24.26 7.72
4 0.12 1.25 49.84 0.99
5 0.07 1.28 65.07 2.10
6 0.16 2.31 56.27 2.07


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

water available for irrigating winter crops

should be used at the earliest opportunity
to reduce seepage and evaporation losses.
Relatively expensive, such structures how-
ever defy standardisation and are normally
built on the basis of past experiences as well
as similar constructions in the area. How-
ever, some of the general features are:
• Adequate storage capacity with least
amount of earth fill; availability of fill
material near the site; adequate scope for
outlet for safe disposal of surplus water;
Figure 4. Water yield behaviour of a hill relatively impermeable strata under the
spring at KVK Tura dam and the water surface; at least 2.5
to 3.0 meter water depth over 15-20% of
Region. Construction of these structures submergence area at normal level- these
involves chiefly manual labour input and are the most important considerations
use of locally available materials- earth for suitability of sites.
stones etc. Experiences on water harvesting
in dugout – cum- embankment type of pond • In general the dams up to 50 ft high
in the hilly region of North East India clearly with average soil the up stream slope
indicate the feasibility of harvesting runoff of 3:1 and the down stream slope of 2:1
from hilly watersheds for beneficial use (Fig would be satisfactory. The up stream
5 & 6). The soil in the area has extremely slope should be protected by a cover of
low water holding capacity and the seepage hand placed rip rap of suitable stones.
losses are very high. Thus water storage The down stream slope may be sodded
may be seasonal or perennial depending with thick layer of grass to protect it
on the site condition. Partial emptying of from erosion.
the farm pond is possible to irrigate crops • To effectively seal all percolations in the
during the dry spells. Stored water however, under earth dam, an impervious cutoff
has more scope for fish production. Limited

Figure 5. Schematic representation of Figure 6. A water harvesting structure

pond inflows and outflows in hilly region


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

wall (cement concrete 1:3;6) extending of 7-8 years. Water harvesting structures can
from the surface to the impervious (rock) be designed on the basis of inter flow. It is
layer is essential along the central axis possible to estimate the inter flow into the
of the dam. The stone masonery core- pond on the basis of a certain probability
wall, built on the cutoff wall, provides level of annual rainfall. For any desired
a perfect barrier to the seepage water probability, runoff volume can be obtained
passing from the upstream side to the as the product of runoff depth and catch-
downstream of the dam. ments size. In general, the capacity of the
tanks increases as the probability of assured
• Removing loose and potentially unstable
inter flow decreases. Further, the volume
materials from the foundation, thorough
of available water per unit tank capacity
compaction of all embankment zones,
increases as this probability level increase
impervious core and cut of walls ad-
for various sizes of tank (Satapathy, 1996).
equate drainage provisions- all the mea-
Fig. 7 presents a monogram, which gives
sures would check the seepage from the
a direct relationship between catchments
water harvesting structures effectively.
size and runoff volume. This graphical form
• As per the experience, generous allow- could be used to estimate the availability
ance of 10% of the designed height is of runoff for water harvesting projects in
essential to be added to the dam top of small hilly watersheds, if annual rainfall
the fill to neutralize the settlement. To records are available.
prevent sagging of the dam top, maxi-
mum fill should be on the natural wa-
ter course with crown sloping at either

Sizing of Farm Pond

Experiences on water harvesting in dug-
out – cum – embankment type of pond
in hilly region of North East India clearly
indicate the feasibility of harvesting runoff
from watersheds to an extent of 38.44% of
monsoon rainfall. Contribution of subsur-
face flow from upper slopes accounts for
82-90% of the annual inflow into the wa-
ter harvesting pond located in the lower
reaches and only 10 – 18% comes from Figure 7. Catchment area and interflow
at different probabilities
direct interception of rainfall and collec-
tion of surface runoff. The soil in the area
has extremely low water holding capacity Plastic Lining of Ponds
and the seepage losses are very high. Thus Construction of small water harvesting
water storage may be seasonal or perennial structures in the lower reaches of micro-
depending on the site condition. The study watersheds to store runoff and intercepted
indicated a decline of seepage rate with the base flow for utilizing the stored water for
age of the pond and stabilizes in a period pisciculture or to recycle back for life saving


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

irrigation provides ample scope for water cations by constructing small reservoirs
resources development in the NE Hills at and recycling it in the same area.
a relatively low cost. This type of ponds
• Stream flow lift irrigation.
generally have a high rate of seepage and
percolation and cannot hold water during • Conjunctive use of surface and ground-
the crucial dry season. Two small ponds with water on a rotational basis.
storage capacity of 0.3 ham (AE pond) and • Adoption of scientific on-farm water use
1.0 ham (FSRP pond) were created in the and management technology.
ICAR Research Farm at Barapani (Megha-
laya). The pond were subsequently lined • Drainage of areas with high water ta-
with LDPE Agri Film of 250 micron and ble.
covered with 30 cm soil on the bed as well • Tackling flood and irrigation in an in-
as sides. The effect of lining and hydrologi- tegrated manner.
cal behaviour of ponds was studied. The
maximum percolation rate through the
AE pond under unlined condition was to References
be tune of 0.040 m3/m2 wetted perimeter/ Rao BK, Satapathy KK. (2005a) Hill slope
day. The percolation rate was remarkably runoff estimation by using Curve Num-
reduced to 0.0029 m3/m2 wetted perimeter/ ber method Indian Journal of Hill Farm-
day after lining pf the pond with Agri Film, ing, Vol. 19. No. (1 & 2).
showing average reduction of about 93% in
the seepage loss (Rao and Satapathy 2005). Rao BK, Satapathy KK. (2005b) The effect
Storage hydrographs of the pond after and of plastic lining on preventing seepage
before lining clearly show an increase in the losses in water harvesting ponds Pro-
water saving efficiency of the pond after ceedings of International Conference of
lining in terms of both quantity and dura- Plasticulture & Precision Farming.
tion of storage
Satapathy KK. (1996) Hill slope runoff
under conservation practices. Research
Some Important Issues bulletin. No. 40, ICAR Research Complex
Some of the important aspects of rainwa- for NEH Region, Barapani.
ter management and the major scope for
enhancing Irrigation facilities in the terrain Satapathy KK. (1996) Hydrological aspects
can be envisaged as follows: of water harvesting tanks in hills. Re-
search Bulletin. ICAR Research Complex
• Management of runoff on slopping land for NEH Region, Barapani4 (2, 3 &4):
use and in situ retention of rainfall by 171 –179.
adoption of appropriate soil conserva-
tion measures and land use practices. Satapathy KK. (2000) Development and
management of watershed: Concept
• Ensuring safe disposal of surplus water
and approach. Journal of North Eastern
from higher to lower level.
Council 20 (2): 1-8.
• Increased utilization of stream flow
Satapathy KK. (2003) Land use plan-
through diversion works in suitable
ning for sustainable development in
North Eastern Hills Region. Processing
• Storing surplus water at appropriate lo-


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

regional workshop on policy framework tem. Research Bulletin, ICAR Research

for efficient management of water and Complex for NEH Region, Umiam
land resources for poverty alleviation for
NE Region. June 2-3, 2003. Tejpur. Pp. Sonowal DK, Tripathy AK and Kirekha
67–78. V. (1989) Zabo – An indigenous farm-
ing system of Nagaland. Indian J. Hill
Singh KA, Yadav BPS and Goswami SN. farming 2(1) : 1-8.
(1996) Farming systems alternative to
shifting cultivation. Journal of soil con- Thansanga R and Saxena RS. (2000) Water
servation 3: 136 –145 resource availability and Management
In the North Eastern Region of India,
Sharma BR. (1991) Conservation and efficient International conference on Managing
utilization of water resources for develop- natural resources for sustainable agri-
ment of Himalayan Agriculture. Journal cultural production in the 21st century,
of Water Resources Society 2(4) :2-5. February 14 -18, 2000 New Delhi, pp
Singh, A. (1989). Bamboo drip irrigation sys- 457 - 459.


Networking of Farm Ponds A Novel Method for
Rainwater Harvesting and Management in
Dryland Farming
C Doreswamy
BAIF-Institute for Rural development, Sharadanagar, Tiptur-572202, Karnataka

Abstract farming system, the following activities are

It is very crucial to harvest every drop of undertaken.
rainwater in-situ for the promotion of sus- • Formation of trench cum bund across
tainable agriculture in dry lands. In various the slope. The trench cum bund formed
watershed programmes, it is a normal prac- helps to retain silt and water in-site.
tice to go for construction of water harvest-
ing structures such as check dams in the • The trench in the bund is used for the
drainage line. These structures, in addition plantation of different forestry plants up
to being costly, require community partici- to 1000 per ha.
pation for maintenance. Moreover, they will • The fields are planted with dryland fruit
not y help the farmers in the up stream from species such as tamarind, cashew, mango
where water has flowed down carrying silt. and alma.
The concept of dug out structures such as
• For every two ha of catchment one farm
farm ponds is well known but it is seldom
pond measuring 30 X 30 X 10 feet is
practiced in watershed programmes effec-
tively. The traditional concept of locating
dug out structures (locally know as KALY- • Series of farm ponds are located on con-
ANI) at strategic locations is not normally tour lines.
employed in the watershed programmes. • These ponds are located in such a way
This paper deals with the experience and that the field trench cum bund acts as
result of reviving the traditional water conducting channels for the flow of water
harvesting technology. The experiment in a horizontal line.
involved excavation of 340 ponds in a wa- • Once a pond is filled with rainwater,
tershed of 700 ha in Hassan district of Kar- the excess water flows to the next pond
nataka. The area receives an annual rainfall through the conducting channels. The
of 550 to 700-mm. The soils are shallow last pond in the chain discharges to a
sandy and highly porous. Coconut culti- check dam in the drainage line. In a line
vation is the main commercial crop in the normally there can be 5 to 15 ponds.
area in addition to finger millet as a staple
food crop. The watershed area covers 350 • If the water is allowed to flow vertically
families spread in three villages and three down, because of the velocity gained, the
hamlets. gushing water carries away maximum
silt down the valley. Hence the ponds
To encourage in-situ harvesting of rainwater are not connected vertically.
for the promotion of sustainable dryland


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• The ponds are not lined with any im- planted on the mound, which help to
pervious material. Instead the ponds harvest substantial quantities of fruits
are regularly desilted for encouraging and vegetables to meet the family re-
maximum percolation. quirements.
• Some of the ponds that retain water for
Perceptible Impact more than six months, are also used for
rearing fish. Each pond can hold up to
• It is estimated that in one rainy season 100 fingerlings of Common Carp variety.
up to 15 crore liters of water percolate Average fish yield could be around 50
from all the ponds put together. kg per pond per year.
• Good quantity of water also gets evapo-
rated. The effect of evaporation from 340
water bodies in an area of 700 ha creates
very congenial microclimate and helps The watershed development programmes
to reduce the aridity in the area. being implemented in vast tracts of the
country can to some extent help to aug-
• The horizontal connection of ponds ment the groundwater level with scientific
helps to retain water for maximum time planning and execution.
in the upper reaches of the watershed.
However, it is noticed that for various rea-
• The water seeping in to the soil helps to
sons the meaning of watershed treatment
maintain good moisture regime in the soil,
gets narrowed down to mean only the
which feeds the crops, and other vegeta-
construction of a few structures here and
tion in the watershed for longer periods
there. Systematic treatment of catchment is
even after the rainy season is over.
as crucial as the drainage line treatment. This
• The area is characterized by coconut paper discusses such an attempt in one of
plantations in the valleys. The effect of the watersheds and the results obtained.
percolation of substantial quantity of
water in the upper reaches of the wa-
tershed results in very good moisture Location
regimen in the valleys due to seepage and The project is located in Arsikere taluk of
subsoil flow. Hence the need for irrigat- Hassan district in southern Karnataka The
ing the coconut orchards is reduced. area is characterized by an annual rainfall
of 550 to 700mm/ The rainfall is received in
• The farmers are already reporting longer
two peaks. The soils are red, shallow and
duration of flow of water in the drain-
sandy with high porosity.
age line even after the rains have sub-
• The mound formed around the ponds Crops
due to the excavated soil is also very Coconut is cultivated traditionally in the
fruitfully utilized for the plantation of valleys as a cash crop. Ragi (finger millet)
medicinal plants such as Aloe vera and is staple food crop. In addition, pulses such
Witania somnifera, which give a return as redgram, horse gram and dolichos are
of up to Rs. 2000/- per year per pond. also cultivated to some extent. Sorghum
Many vegetable and fruit species are also is a major fodder crop. Sesame and green


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

gram are cultivated in the pre-monsoon hire labour wherever required.

period. • Each and every family was trained in
all aspects of watershed management.
The project Interventions In addition to village-level training and
classroom training, major thrust was
A watershed project was initiated in an given to the exposure visits to successful
area of 700 ha in January 1997. The area projects with in and outside the state.
is spread in 3 villages and 3 hamlets and
covers 350 families. The project activities
Field Activities
include the following:
• Field bunds were created across the
Preparatory Activities slope. Bunds were formed by creating
a trench across the slope instead of tradi-
• Family level micro planning was done tional pit method by excavating the soil.
to involve each and every family in the This trench cum bund helps to retain
project planning process. maximum soil and water in-situ.
• PRA exercises were carried out to under- • The bund size was restricted to 0.3 sq.m
stand the community perceptions and to sections. Horizontal interval between
plan community based activities such as bunds was kept around 25 Mts.
water harvesting structures.
• Forestry plantation of mixed species
• Participant families were involved in was taken up on the bunds. Important
carrying out the activities with their forestry species planted included – teak,
own lands. Project actively discouraged casurina, eucalyptus, glyricidia, cassia si-
hiring the labour through contractors. amia, pongamia, neem, sapindus, etc.
Individual families were encouraged to

Rainfall Data
FROM: 1995 - 2008
1995 - - - 21.30 105.80 14.00 78.60 140.90 109.60 107.60 91.40 - 669.20
1996 - - - 127.80 56.80 81.90 42.00 119.60 176.80 100.40 - 15.80 721.10
1997 - - 37.50 12.00 177.00 70.00 53.40 76.30 60.70 218.00 126.00 6.80 837.70
1998 - - 3.00 100.50 74.50 52.00 189.00 270.30 156.30 89.30 28.30 3.50 966.70
1999 - 23.00 14.00 56.70 109.00 24.00 75.50 17.00 129.50 389.00 34.50 2.00 874.20
2000 - 16.00 36.50 45.00 23.00 48.00 180.00 283.00 227.00 4.00 2.00 864.50
2001 - - - 92.00 45.80 31.00 95.20 48.50 292.00 51.30 57.80 11.00 724.60
2002 - 40.5 11 9.2 67.9 116.7 48.4 26 83.2 191.7 41.5 - 636.1
2003 - - 35 55.5 - 44.6 15.8 62.1 13.9 241.9 4.2 - 473.0
2004 - - 11.7 99 234 17.1 145 33.8 110.1 93.2 31 - 774.9
2005 43 11 - 69 148.7 49.6 115.5 71 73.3 184.9 21 - 787.0
2006 - - 35 49.5 111.5 112 8.8 35 25.5 44.5 91 - 512.8
2007 - - - 19.5 158 46.0 23.5 156.5 120.5 259.5 3 10 796.5
2008 - 130 143 36 70.5 27 101 201 30.5 153.5 65 - 957.5


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• Horticultural species such as mango, type ponds or as deep cut ponds. Step-
cashew and tamarind were planted in well type ponds are of lower capacity.
the fields at a spacing of 30 X 30. As- • Each pond is provided with a silt trap
sistance for horticulture was restricted just before the inlet. This silt trap is nor-
to 1 ha per family. mally a pit measuring 4 X 4 X 3 ft.
• Regular traditional food crops are • The inlets and outlets of the ponds are
cultivated in between horticulture lined with stone pitching.
• 10 to 15 ponds located on a contour are
linked in a chain. The field trench cum
Water Harvesting bunds act as conducting channels for
A series of farm ponds were excavated and carrying water from one pond to another.
they were located on contour lines. The last pond discharges in to a check
dam through horizontal flow of water
• For every 2 ha of catchment there was from one pond to another. The vertical
one pond. flow of water from the ridge to the val-
• The capacity of these ponds varied de- ley, with erosive velocity, is avoided.
pending on the location. Minimum size • Check dams are constructed in the nala
of the pond was 25 X 25 X 10 ft. i.e. 6250 where the farm pond chains on either
cft, with a capacity to hold 175000 liters side can discharge. Thus, the water com-
of water at a time. Average cost of a ing into the check dam will be almost
pond was Rs 5000/-. This works out Rs devoid of any silt. Silt gets arrested at
0.30 per liter capacity of the pond. These the farm pond level itself. Thus, the life
ponds are not lined with any impervious of the check dams can be enhanced by
material to facilitate percolation. several times.
• The ponds occupy approx. 0.5% of the • As enormous amount of water gets
land area. percolated in the upper reaches of the
• 340 ponds have been excavated. Each watershed, regular seepage occurs in the
pond with a capacity of 1.75 lakh liters, valley portion. This seepage is seen for
can harvest approximately 5 crore liters extended periods even after the farm
of water with one filling. Most of this ponds dry out water continues to ac-
water gets percolated down. In a normal cumulate in the check dams.
rain fall year, we can expect these ponds • The number of check dams can also be
to over flow at least three times during minimized to a bare minimum expendi-
the rain season. ture as most of the water gets arrested
• These ponds help in harvesting run off in the upper catchment.
during a stray rains in the summer. With • In addition to the traditional masonry
the first peak of monsoon in June – July, check dams, which are not very cost
all the ponds overflow. With subsequent effective, earthen check dams with
rains the ponds get topped up. With the ferro – cement core wall were experi-
second peak of rains in Aug-Sept, when mented. These can be executed at
maximum rainfall is received in the area, approximately 1/3rd of the cost of the
the ponds overflow more than once.
masonry structures.
• The ponds are shaped either as step-well


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Rationale of this watershed. This also encourages good wa-

Novel Approach ter percolation for groundwater recharging.
The check dam is fed even during the dry
Distribution of Water period with the seepage water in the valleys.
The water harvested in the structures in This seepage rends increase year after year
the nala such as check dams is normally as most of the subsoil strata get saturated
not very democratically distributed. The with water during the first or second year
people in the upper reaches of the catch- of execution of these percolation structures.
ment, where water is more required, almost During subsequent years, most of the per-
get share in this water harvested. Very few colated water tends to seep out. This is very
people located close to the structure derive much determined by the nature of the soils
benefits. and the under ground strata.
The series of ponds located in the upper There is very little individual initiative from
reach of the catchment help to maintain farmers for the maintenance of community
good soil moisture levels throughout the structures such as check dams. The individ-

A comparison of the traditional water harvesting structure with the farm ponds is as
Comparison between farm pond and other structures
Sl. Other structure (check dam, earthen
Farm pond
No. bunding etc.)
1. Occupies less area & less submergence of Occupies less area, more submergence of
land, small exposed water surface land, more exposed water surfaces
2. Deep-water column, less evaporation and Water column is less exposed area is more &
greater percolation into surrounding areas. more evaporation and less recharge
3. Sub surface flow is more Sub surface flow is less
4. Generates more employment for the families Less employment opportunities, since it
of watershed area requires skilled labour
5. Major portion of money goes to local people Major portion goes to materials, which is not
available to the local people.
6. Easily manageable by local people Requires skilled labour & heavy investment
7. It protects & increases the rest of the Without ponds at the upper reaches danger of
structures of the drainage line because of in- breaching & siltation of structures
situ conservation of soil
8 Benefits more people especially poor and Benefits less number of peoples and merely
marginal rich people
9 Equity in water distribution Unequal water distribution in the watershed
10 Very effective microclimate management Little effect on the microclimate
11 energy efficient structure Loss of energy, requires additional energy to
bring back water to upper reaches


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

ual farmers maintain the ponds located on system, taking shape slowly but surely.
individual farmer’s lands, though treated as
community assets. The silt trap is regularly The ponds attract birds of diverse mature.
desilted after each rain. The silt accumulated This further stimulates the on set of a se-
in the pond also provides a valuable silt for ries of developments, which collectively
bund application, which does not require can be termed as pond ecology. Ponds lo-
much effort for transportation. cated relatively on the lower reaches of the
catchment tend to retain water for a longer
Energy Issues time (say beyond six months). These ponds
can very effectively be used for small-scale
Water from the catchment normally flows fisheries.
down to the valley with considerable speed
carrying silt. If this water is to be lifted for The effect of 340 farm ponds in an area of
watering plants/crops in the upper reaches, about 700 ha can itself bring about a relative
either manually, using bullock power, or by change in the humidity levels, reducing the
pumping, the energy required to be spent intensity of aridity in the microclimate.
will be enormous. This gravitational energy
can very well be utilized to make water
percolate in the upper reaches itself. By pro- Critical Observations
viding a very slight gradient in locating the The effect of farm ponds is regularly moni-
ponds in the same contour we can conduct tored using three important indicators.
the water across the watershed horizontally. o Water level in the open well on a
This can ensure that water stays in the up- monthly basis
per reaches for a longer time. ° Water level in selected ponds on a
daily basis.
Ecological issues
° Yield of coconuts in the valley portion
Maintenance of good subsoil moisture for in 20 selected gardens – done as and
longer time can stimulate and promote liv- when the coconuts are harvested.
ing organisms in the soil. The mound of soils
formed around the pond is planted with • The farmers have started reporting better
diverse plants to meet the farmer’s day-to- performance of their coconut gardens
day requirements. The mound formed is since the last summer. The need for ir-
utilized for plantation of medicinal herbs rigating these gardens has been reduced.
such as Aloe vera and witania somnifer, The effect of percolation of substantial
which can give a return of upto Rs 2000/- quantity of water in the upper reaches
per year. Vegetables and fruit plants are of the watershed helps to maintain good
planted on the mounds, which helps to moisture regime in the valleys. However,
harvest substantial quantity of fruits and it is too early to conclude on the actual
vegetables for the family requirements. The coconut yields as the data collection is to
water available within a farmer’s land brings be continued at least a couple of years
about a change in the behavioral aspects of more.
the farmer. He tends to stay longer time • The farmers are reporting longer dura-
in his fields with his livestock doing some tion of flow of water in the drainage
thing or the other. This binding of man to line even after the rains have subsided.
his land will result in an improved farming This seepage continues to feed the check


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Table. Economic of fisheries in farm ponds

1. Size of the pond 8m x8m x3m = 192 cmt.
(50% of this is taken as effective capacity)
2. Area required per fish 1 cmt
3. Total nos of fish per pond Approx 80 nos
4. Consider 15% mortality Approx 65 will survive
(Each fish catch weigh approx 2 kg after
6 to 8 months (common crap variety)
5. Total fish catch 120 kgs (Approx)
6. Market rate Rs. 25 per kg
7. Total value Rs 3000/-
8. Expenditure (Approx) Rs 1000/-
(Feed, labour, finger lings etc)
9. Net Profit Rs 2000/-

dam in the valley with clean water with large amount of water overflows of all
out seepage. the ponds.
• The farm pond technology can be uti- • Though 0.5 to 1 % of the land area is
lized very fruitfully in all watersheds not available for cultivation, the benefits
with suitable modifications depending accumulated over a period of time will
on the soil types and slopes. The check far out weigh the loss. In fact, the in-
dams where water is stored against a creased direct benefits can be perceived
head are costly, cost ranging between Rs. from the very second year.
50000/- and Rs 200000/-. A combination
of check dams and farm ponds can be
Scope for Further Research
designed for maximum efficiency. This
will reduce the number of check dams • Cost benefit analysis of investments over
required in a catchment. a longer period of time.
• The water stored in big check dams is • Ecological impact of in-situ soil moisture
normally used by a few rich farmers in conservation with the run off reaching
the valleys and hence is not a democratic the valleys.
way of water distribution. • Issues related with the riparian rights
• The cost of lifting water to the upper of farmers in the down stream and the
reaches of watershed from the check related social issues.
dams is high and hence is not feasi- • Cost sharing mechanisms between vari-
ble. ous stakeholder groups. It is noticed at
• The farm pond network with approxi- least in this particular case study the
mately one pond for every 2 ha is gross- farmers in the down stream with coconut
ly under designed. Hence during peak gardens tend to get maximum benefit in
downpour (2 or 3 times in a year), a spite of the runoff reaching the valley
through seepage.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

• Long-term impact in terms of water log- The number of check dams in a watershed
ging in the low– lying areas. can be reduced and supplemented with
• Pond designs for different soil types, farm ponds. Decentralized farm ponds are
(ponds in black soils tend to cave in). scattered all over the catchment and hence
Several methods of stabilizing the ponds water is made available to maximum area
can be thought off. with least cost. The life of a pond is also
longer and is maintained by the farmer in
whose land the pond is located. The silt
Conclusions harvested regularly from the ponds can be
The farm pond technology can be used a good addition to the fields for improving
very fruitfully in all watershed areas. This fertility.
is very good low cost supplement to check
dams. Each farm pond costs around Rs. Understanding a dryland agro-eco-system
5000 for excavation. Check dams cost any- in all its entirety is very crucial for making
where between Rs. 50000 and Rs. 200000. any meaningful intervention for achieving
The cost of water storing against a head sustainable development in the vast tracts
in check dams is substantially higher of the country. Depleting forest cover, ir-
compared to dug out ponds. The water regular rainfall and increased exploitation
stored in big check dams is normally used of groundwater have aggravated the situ-
only by the down stream farmers and hence ation of groundwater table. There are no
is not a democratic way of water distribu- systematic efforts to regulate the ground-
tion. Lifting water from the check dams to water exploitation or any such meaningful
upper reaches of the catchment will also be regulatory system can be thought off in the
very costly and will not be energy efficient. near future.


Proceedings of the National Workshop cum Brain Storming
on Rainwater harvesting and reuse through farm ponds:
Experiences, issues and strategies held during
April 21-22, 2009 at CRIDA, Hyderabad

This brain storming was held with the fol- one which empowers the farmer in water
lowing objectives: management in rainfed areas. He stressed
the need for looking at the issue as a pack-
• Sharing of experiences on water harvest-
age from the point of harvesting, lifting and
ing and reuse through farm ponds and
making proper reuse for suitable crop and
related issues, among scientific institu-
profitability rather than water harvesting
tions, Govt. Departments, NGOs, civil
alone, which is more prevalent now. Further,
society organizations and progressive
it has been mentioned that the program
should be demand driven with contribution
• Understand the biophysical, technologi- and effective participation from farmers in
cal and social constraints in adoption and the whole process. In his opening remarks
upscaling of farm pond technology Director, CRIDA informed that though the
• Identify critical research gaps and policy farm pond technology is in existence for
initiatives for wider adoption of farm many years, adoption of the same by the
pond technology in the country. developmental agencies is not to the desired
level. He also pointed out that water harvest-
The brain storming was attended by about ing systems are taken up vigorously in many
80 participants representing various ICAR watershed programmes but the utilization
research institutes (CRIDA, CAZRI, NBSS- of harvested water is not tied up in many
LUP, CSWCRTI, CICR etc), Agricultural Uni- cases (in terms of area that can be covered
versities (ANGRAU, UAS Bangalore, UAS, with critical irrigation, timing of irrigation
Dharwad, GBPUAT, YS Parmar University etc). He stated that in order to make the
etc), NGOs (WASSAN, AKRSP, Aravali, farm pond technology viable for small and
Foundation for Ecological Security etc), marginal farmers, the technology need to
officials from central (Ministry of Agricul- be developed as package with proper mea-
ture) and state government ministries of sures for seepage control in farm ponds,
Agriculture (AP, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Gu- suitable lifting devices and identification of
jarat, Madhya Pradesh (MPRLP)) and Rural appropriate locations with in farmer fields.
development and NABARD. The list of par- He further emphasized that rainfed crops
ticipants is given in Annexure I. Instead of to be provided with one critical/supplemen-
regular academic seminar, it was organized tal irrigation with harvested water so as to
mainly to share experiences, lessons learnt increase the productivity and income from
and identify critical issues needing future these areas. The inaugural session was fol-
attention. lowed by four technical sessions.

The brain storming was inaugurated by A total of 30 papers were presented in

Dr.S.M.Ilyas, Director, NAARM who em- the four sessions. The program is given
phasized that farm pond technology is the as Annexure-II.


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

The papers presented in session I covered Following the presentations, the recom-
generic issues like perspectives of farm pond mendations were finalized based on group
technology in the livelihood programmes, discussions. The following three groups
design methodologies, implications of water were constituted to discuss various issues
harvesting at different scales of operation in the light of the presentations made and
(up stream –downstream ), opportunity of identify specific research gaps. The issues
water harvesting and technologies for water listed are as follows:
harvesting in arid regions, improved sheet
1. Determination of the harvestable runoff
material for control of seepage losses. In
potential in various agro ecological
session II, case studies from vertisol regions
were presented covering aspects like de-
sign methodologies, identification of suit- 2. Optimization of the size of the farm
able sites, successful utilization of harvested ponds for different agroecological
water for enhancing the income, involve- zones
ment of local institutions for up scaling 3. Identification of the cost effective lining
farm ponds through training and capacity material and efficient water lifting
building programme. Similarly in session III device
and IV, case studies related to Alfisols and
related regions and high rainfall hill and 4. Choice of crops and method of
mountain regions were presented. These irrigation for increasing water
papers discussed issues related to technical productivity
aspects of farm ponds for making them a 5. Policy support to individual farmers for
success with location specific technologies, adopting the farm pond technology
research studies being carried out at vari-
ous institutions, upscaling the technologies 6. Strategies for integration of farm
through convergence with rural develop- pond technology into the existing
ment programmes. watershed/ NREGA programs.

The three groups are as follows:

No. of participants
Name of the Group Group leader
in the group
Design aspects of farm pond, lining materi- Dr.R.N.Athavale 30
als, storage and harvestable runoff, etc.
Lifting, conveyance, efficient use, water Dr.Mohd.Osman 20
productivity and choice of crops, etc.
Policy, institutional and support systems Dr.A.K.Tiwari 15
for upscaling


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

The recommendations of the three groups Research Issues:

are given below.
1. Standardization of catchment- storage-
command relationship for every Agro-
Group 1: Design aspects of farm ecological zone.
pond, lining materials, storage
2. Development of decision support
and harvestable runoff, etc. system for farm ponds covering
1. Size optimization of farm ponds different agro-ecological zones. The
need to be done for various rainfall system should be user friendly and
zones i.e, <500, 500-1100 and more include various aspects of materials,
than 1100 mm rainfall zone with a farmer’s choice, intended use of water,
view to provide one supplemental shape, size etc.
irrigation of 5-7.5 cm at critical stage 3. Adaptive research through field
of crop. trials for various lining materials
2. Purpose for which water harvesting including locally available ones and
ponds are to be dug need to be clearly possible recommendations across agro
defined first (for storage and reuse or ecological zones.
for recharge of groundwater) before 4. Standardization of inlet and outlet for
the design and storage capacity are different agro-ecological zones.
3. Harvestable runoff per ha be assessed in
Recommendations of Group 2 include
different crop/cropping systems across
different climatic zones. Group 2: Lifting, conveyance,
efficient use water productivity
4. The farmers who donate the land for
ponds to be given preference for use and choice of crops etc.
of stored water than the down stream Ideal lifting devices to be identified from

users. among choices like diesel engine/trac-
tor/power tiller operated pump set, so-
5. Lining material should be durable
lar pump set, pedal operated pump set,
with more life span, puncture and tear
electric pump set etc. for lifting water
resistant, environment friendly, cost
from farm pond.
effective, non toxic and adaptable to
any shape. The lifting devices be promoted through

Custom hiring mechanism.
6. Shape of the pond depends on the
individual. Ideally it should be Better water use be achieved through

circular but it should left to farmer’s use of pipes for conveyance instead of
choice. In case of community water conventional furrow irrigation.
harvesting structures, which are larger Improved irrigation methods like sprin-

in size, L-shaped or horse-shoe shaped kler/drip be promoted for irrigation
structures may be adopted. with harvested water
7. Innovative evaporation control Sharing mechanism be developed to

mechanisms are to be inbuilt in the promote equity in case of community-
farm pond design. owned ponds


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

In order to compensate the loss of land

 For rapid expansion of the programme,

due to digging of farm pond (specially machines may also be allowed for dig-
unlined ponds), the embankment be ging of ponds wherever labour is not
used for horticulture. pasture/ bio die- available. Provisons may be made in
sel/ medicinal/ forestry plants. the guidelines for passing a resolution
to this effect by the panchayat.
Pendal system be promoted over pond

for raising creepers, vines belonging to Renovation of old ponds which are na-

cucurbitaceae family for utilizing the tional assets should be taken up in the
space with gaps for light penetration ongoing government schemes on prior-
for fish rearing. . ity for water resource development and
ground water recharge.
With in the pond, fisheries and prawn

culture and duckery be promoted wher- Large/medium farmers should be en-

ever feasible. couraged through incentives like capital
subsidy or differential interest rates to
Horticulture crops followed by oilseeds

construct farm pond in his land as being
(groundnut, soyabean), cotton, pulses,
done in case of roof top water harvesting
FCV tobacco etc in that order be pre-
for big buildings.
ferred for supplemental irrigation where
returns 5% budget of the department of land re-

sources should be allocated for research
Farm ponds be promoted as an integral

on water harvesting, improving water
component of farming system across
productivity and sharing mechanisms.
rainfall zones
Scientific planning of farm pond in the

Researchable issues participatory mode (involving village
Developing a low head, energy efficient level institutions) be promoted to avoid
lifting device along with delivery mecha- conflicts among up stream and down
nism stream users.
Operational maintenance, capacity

building and other relevant issues to
Recommendations of Group 3 include
be given due attention in the pro-
Group 3: Policy, institutional and gramme.
support systems for upscaling Technical literature and success stories

Priority should be given for water re-
 should be published for extension edu-
source development in different govern- cation programmes.
mental schemes and a specific budget
Cost benefit analysis should be worked

should be earmarked for promotion of
out and widely made known to stake
farm ponds.
holders to remove the apprehensions on
Adequate incentives should be given
 loss of land.
with a flexible approach to extend the
Saturation approach be promoted on a

technology among farmers as being done
pilot basis in selected districts
us the state of Gujarat.



Participants list 8 Chahar BR Dr

Assoc. Professor, IIT Delhi
1 Ambuj Kishore Department of Civil Engineering, IIT, Delhi,
Regional Coordinator, ARAVALI Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016
Patel Bhawan, HCM-RIIA (OTS), 011-26591187 (O)
Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Jaipur-302017 011-26591636 (R)
0141-2701941 (O), 2710556 (Fax) 09868266407 (M)
0941069506 (M) 011-26591117 (Fax)
2 Adhikari RN 9 Deopura BL Dr
Principal Scientist (Engg.), CSWCRTI Professor, IIT, Delhi
CSWCRTI, Bellary-583104 Department of Textile Engineering, IIT, Delhi,
08392-242164 (O), 242665 (Fax) Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016
09448144734 (M) 09818054192 (M)
3 Anil Kumar Dr 10 Dhanapal GN Dr
Professor, GB Pant University Professor, UAS, Bangalore
Department of Soil & Water Conservation DLAP, GKVK, Bangalore-560065, Karnataka
Engineering, GB Pant University, Panthnagar 080-23334554 (R)
05944-234623 (R) 09480315492 (M)
09412121117 (M) 080-23334804 (Fax)
4 Ashok Surwensh 11 Dinesh Kumar Dr
KVK, Bidar Executive Director
PB No 58, KVK, Bidar (Karnataka) Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy
08482-244007 (O) Hyderaabad
5 Athavale RN Dr
Retired Scientist 12 Dixit S Dr
D-3, Sheryas Apartments, Shreyas Tekra, Principal Scientist, CRIDA
Ambawadi, Ahmedbad-380015 Central Research Institute for
079-26606123 (O) Dryland Agriculture,
09714599766 (M) Santoshnagar, Hyderabad 040-24530161 (O)
6 Bhandarkar DM Dr 040-24531802 (Fax)
Head, Irrigation and Drianage Engg., CIAE
CIAE, Nabibagh, Bhopal 13 Doraiswamy C Dr
0755-2521153 (O), 2734016 (Fax) Chief Programme Co-ordinator
0755-2671323 (R) BAIF-Institute for Rural Development
09424417145 (M) #3, Sharadanagar, Tiptur-572202, Karnataka 08134-250659 (O), 250658 (O)
7 Bhaskar Wamanrao Bhuibhar Dr 08134-251337 (Fax)
Senior Scientist
All India Co-Ordinated Research 14 Er Suhas K Upadhye
Project (DA), MAU, Parbhani-431401 Asst. Prof. (SWCE)
02452-225843 (O) MPKVV, Rahuri
09763507001 (M) Office of the Chief Scientist, AICRPDA (ORP), 97, Ravivar Peth,


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

Near DAV College, P.B.No.207, 21 Krishna P

Krishak Bhavan, Solapur-413002 Project Manager, MARI
0217-2373209 (O) 1-8-499, Balasamudram,
09850601890 (M) Hanamkonda, Warangal, A.P.
0217-2373982 (Fax) 0870-2552928 (O), 09989419546 (M)
22 Krishna Reddy G
15 Govardhan Reddy Farmer
Farmer, NGO, Madhira, Khammam dist AP Jadcherla
16 Goyal RK Dr 23 M B Guled Dr
Sr. Scientist, CAZRI, Jodhpur Chief Scientist
Division-I, CAZRI, Jodhpur UAS, Dharwad
0291-2786534 (O) Regional Agricultural Research Station,
0291-2788030 (R) Bijapur-586101, Karnataka
09414410251 (M) 08352-267215 (O)
0291-2788706 (Fax) 08352-209780, 267217 (R) 09481314905 (M), 267194 (Fax)
17 Haroor ARM Dr
Professor and Head, TNAU 24 Mallikarjuna Hosapalya
Cotton Research Station, Veppanthattai, Director
Perambalur-621116, Tamilnadu DHANYA
04328-264046 (O) Tene, 1st Floor, III Main,
0431-2781980 (R) Sadashiva Nagar, Tumkur
09443154787 (M) 09342184855 (O)
04328-264046 (Fax) 09480690601 (M),
18 John Wesley Dr 25 Meti CB Dr
Principal Scientist, ANGR Agril. University Sr. Scientist (Ag. Engg)
AICRP on Dryland Agriculture, AICRP on Water Management
Agricultural Research Station, Anantapur T9, Navalgund Dist: Dharwad,
08554-260303 (O) State: Karnataka, Belvatagi-582208
09441936374 (M) 09449419613 (M)
19 Kadam JR Dr 26 Mishra A Dr
Chief Scientist & ADR Principal Scientist
Mahatma Phule Agril. Univ. Water Technology Centre for
ZARS, Solapur (M.S.) Eastern Region
0217-2373209 (O) Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar-751023
0217-2373988 (R) 0674-2300016/10 extn.309
09421585568 (M) 09437073364 (M)
0217-2373209 (Fax) 0674-2301651 (Fax)
20 Korwar GR Dr 27 Mishra PK Dr
Head, DRM, CRIDA Project Co-ordinator, AICRPDA, CRIDA
Central Research Institute for Dryland Central Research Institute for Dryland
Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad
040-24530161 (O) 040-24530161 (O), 24531802 (Fax)
040-24531802 (Fax)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

28 Mudkavi DH Dr 35 Palaniswami K Dr
Scientist (Agril. Engg.), UAS, Dharwad Director, IWMI-Tata Program, IWMI
Directorate of Research, IWMI, South Asia Regional Office, 401/5,
Krishinagar, UAS, Dharwad C/o. ICRISAT, Patancheru-502 324
0836-2745903, 0836-2446690 (O) 91-41-3071-3732 (O)
09449643558 (M)
0836-2748377 (Fax) 91-40-3074/75 (Fax)
36 Panda SN Dr
29 Nagaraju PK Prof. & Head, IIT, Kharagpur
Civil Engineer, Actionfraterna, RDT, School of Water Resources, IIT, Kharagpur
RDT Ecology Centre, Upparapalli Road, 03222-283140 (O), 282212 (Fax)
Anantapur 03222-283141 (R)
08554-244222 (R) 09434009156 (M)
09441185511 (M)
30 Narsimlu B 37 Rajesh Kumar
Technical Officer, CRIDA Program Manager
Central Research Institute for Dryland People’s Science Institute
Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad 252, Vasant Vihar Phase-I,
040-24530161 (O), 24531802 (Fax) Dehradun-248006, Uttarakhand
09441600152 (M) 0135-2763649, 2773849 (O)
0135-2130031 (R)
31 Neelesh
09412155323 (M)
Regional Coordinator, ARAVALI
Patel Bhawan, HCM-RIIA (OTS),
Jawaharlal Nehru marg, Jaipur-302017 38 Raju A Dr
0141-2701941 (O) Pr.Scientist (Agronomy)
0941069506 (M), 2710556 (Fax) Central Institute for Cotton Research CICR, P.B. No. 2,
32 Nema AK Dr
NAGPUR – 440 010
Reader, BHU, Varanasi
91-07103-275538/275549 (O)
Department of Farm Engineering,
91-07103-275529 (Fax)
Institute of Agricultural Sciences
0542-6702435 (O) 39 Ramakrishna YS Dr
09889549171 (M) Former Director, CRIDA
Central Research Institute for Dryland
33 Osman M Dr
Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad
Principal Scientist, CRIDA
Central Research Institute for Dryland
040-24530161 (O)
Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad
040-24531802 (Fax)
040-24530161 (O)
09440763100 (M)
040-24531802 (Fax) 40 Ramamurthy V Dr Sr. Scientist, NBSS&LUP
Regional Centre, Bangalore-560024
34 Padmanabhan MV Dr
080-23512641 (O)
09480315146 (M)
Central Research Institute for Dryland
Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad
040-24530161 (O) 41 Ranade DH Dr
09440234265 (M) Sr. Scientist, ORP on Dryland Agriculture,
040-24531802 (Fax) College of Agriculture, Indore 0731-2701254 (O), 2496989 (Fax)


Rainwater Harvesting and Reuse through Farm Ponds

0731-2702033 (R) 48 Reddy TY Dr</