Himachal Pradesh: Villagers of rural areas of Solan ditrict of Himachal Pradesh are implementing local methods to save, conserve and store water in order to tackle the existing water crisis. Local techniques like rain water harvesting, recharging ground water, use of storage tanks and hand pumps are being adopted by villagers.
As the rainfall has not hit the Himalayan range in full force yet, villages in the lower belt of Himachal Pradesh are facing scarcity of water. Villages like Dharampur, Sandoli and areas near Shimla are witnessing a situation where bore wells and taps are running dry. The upper belt of Himachal comprising of tourists attractions like Manali and Ladakh are facing a similar crisis.
Villagers claimed their entire life depends on water as farming and agriculture is their sole occupation. Santosh Kumar, a villager of Barotiwala area, said, “We depend totally on farming for we eat the crops harvested by us in our homes and also sell these crops to earn our living. If there is no water there is no harvest which means we will not have any food to eat or sell in order to generate income.”
Some villagers along with the help of local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and social units have adopted basic methods to conserve water. Madan Chauhan, a community worker of Rural Centre for Human Interests (RUCHI), a NGO, said, “We have constructed storage tanks which can store around 2,500 litres of water. These tanks can be cleaned and the water can be used for drinking purposes as well. In this way, villagers can store water when it rains instead of travelling till the hand pumps or bore wells.”
Residents of rural areas are directing rain water falling on roof tops through pipes and collecting it in tanks. Farmers have also adopted the practice of terrace farming where the rainfall can be retained in one farm and flow to the next farm as the farms are created at an elevation like stairs of a building.
The government should constantly check the water supply sources so that we do not have to depend on rainfall claimed villagers. Kamla Devi, a villager of Bandh gaon, said, “The government engineers just install a hand pump and then disappear. There is no water testing done to check if the water is fit for drinking. Sometimes the water of hand pumps is dirty and then we have to draw water from other wells.”