JBGVS digs three water tanks like the ones on hill forts from Shivaji Maharaj’s era

Will provide water to two villages for drinking, household use and partially for irrigation
 
Pune: 27th February: As the summer months approach, most areas of the Deccan brace for severe water scarcity. Taking inspiration from the water tanks seen on several hill forts from the era of Shivaji Maharaj, Jankidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha (JBGVS) has dug three such tanks in Khed taluka of Pune district in the past few months. These tanks are expected to be a boon for the villages of Ghotwadi and Handewadi where women often have to walk long distances to fetch water.
 
Ancient tanks dug in rock
Thirsty trekkers visiting Maharashtra’s hill forts are often greeted by cool and crystal clear drinking water from the various water tanks dug out of rock by erstwhile visionary rulers. The famous Dev Taki on Sinhgad is an excellent example of these ancient reservoirs. Some dug out tanks can be found in areas outside the forts as well. One such tank exists in the Nane Maval area of Pune district. The volcanic basalt rock that dominates the Deccan plateau is mostly of the hard variety with little porosity. However, in places soft rock also exists, either as a result of the formation process or due to the effects of weather. JBGVS had to study the type of rock and discuss with the villagers before deciding on the tank location.
 
Tanks dug out by JBGVS
Most remote villages in the hilly part of Khed taluka are quite far from the dams and pumping water uphill is difficult and expensive. JBGVS has dug out three water tanks in rock in Handewadi and Ghotwadi villages. Each of these tanks is 12 metre wide, 12 metre long and five metre deep with a capacity of 0.72 TCM (thousand cubic metres) out of which only 20% water is lost due to evaporation. Two were dug out in March 2016, which still hold 50% of the water accumulated during the rains. The latest one was completed in January 2017. These tanks serve their purpose from late February to late May, after the wells either dry up or the water level dips very low. The tank dug in Handewadi, in which the per capita availability is about 1200 litres for a population of 600, will provide water for drinking and household use in this summer.
 
The two tanks in Ghotwadi will serve populations of 250 and 150 villagers each, which implies a per capita availability of about 2800 litres and 4800 litres respectively. Apart from drinking and household use, the water from these tanks will be used to irrigate the mango orchards (aamrai) developed with JBGVS assistance, since they are situated nearby. This village also has the rare added benefit of being located within a reasonable distance from the Kalmodi dam and the locals plan to lift some water from there to be stored in one of the tanks.
 
These tanks offer promise to significantly reduce the hard work of women of the two villages by avoiding their regular long walks to fetch potable water. After the drinking water priority is met, the water will be used for household and farm activities. In order to ensure that the water in the tanks is not contaminated, the people of these two villages have taken a collective decision about not washing clothes, utensils or cattle near the tanks. Reviving this ancient method of storage in hilly areas is indeed a promising way of alleviating the water woes of villagers, at least partially. JBGVS plans to dig some more such tanks in 2017-18.