Boreholes win miracle lifeline

Harmu youths launch simple & affordable water harvesting method around defunct structures

By RAJ KUMAR
  • Published 18.07.17
  •  
A member of Durgesh Kumar Singh's team prepares a borehole pit in Harmu, Ranchi, to harvest rainwater. Telegraph picture

Where there's a will, there's a well. A 30-year-old resident of Harmu Housing Colony in Ranchi is showing the way.

Durgesh Kumar Singh, who works with a voluntary organisation, and his friends are giving dead boreholes a fresh lease of life by turning them into water harvesting structures for just Rs 1,000.

Here's how the simple and pocket-friendly technology works.

The youths dig two pits to collect rainwater and recharge groundwater. The first pit is dug around the defunct borehole and the second 6ft away.

"Diameter of the first pit is 5ft and its depth 3ft. It is studded with bricks and chips to avoid silting. The second is 4ft in diameter and 2ft deep. Both are connected through a channel, which is made in such a way that water flows through it only when the second pit is brimming," said Durgesh.

When it rains, water collects in the second pit and flows to the first through the channel. From the first pit, rainwater percolates through the borehole to recharge groundwater. To restrict entry of unwanted filth, the mouth of the borehole is covered with a perforated plastic bag.

"The purpose of the second pit is filtration. Sedimentation occurs there before water reaches the first pit. Lime and potash alum are used to clean the water," explained Durgesh who has been spearheading rural development under NGO Pragya Seva Sansthan for the past eight years.

The young man said the best part of his water harvesting structure was the cost factor. "If people have dead boreholes in their area, they need not be worried about a big investment. All they need is Rs 1,000, primarily for labour to dig the pits and channel," Durgesh said, adding that they had successfully revived three deep boreholes in Harmu so far.

Binod Kumar Rajak, another water crusader, said the three borehole-turned-recharge pit were located near LIG R-295, LIG R-240 and Babu Veer Kunwar Singh Chowk.

Mukesh Kumar Singh, a third member of Team Durgesh, said they planned to put to good use all the dead boreholes in the area. "We have identified as many as 40 boreholes in Harmu Housing Colony and want to use them for harvesting rainwater. We are convincing residents to come forward to help the project," he added.

Councillor Arun Kumar Jha of Ward 37, under which the colony falls, gave a thumbs up to the concept. "I will discuss the matter with the authorities (Ranchi Municipal Corporation) and see if civic help can be ensured to convert all defunct boreholes into recharge pits. It will help boost the water table," he said.

A retired official of Geological Survey of India Uday Pratap Singh too welcomed the idea. "The RMC should take a cue and revive boreholes through the simple water harvesting structure. The system is scientific," the geologist said.