Kochi: The ide of rainwater harvesting is gaining currency with the failure of monsoon and the depletion of groundwater level. And Thuruthikkara in Mula-nthuruthy panchayat in Ernakulam, which is the first green village in the state, has become a model in rainwater harvesting.
Once water-stressed, Thuruthikkara now has sufficient resources as all families get water from wells. Representatives of local bodies, NGOs and other agencies from across the state make a beeline to the village to study and replicate the model. The project has been implemented with the support of Cochin University of Science and Technology.
Rainwater harvesting and other green initiatives in the village are being implemented as part of the project named ‘Oorja Nirmala Haritha Gra-mam.’ It is being executed with the support of Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat, four residents’ associations in the area and the panchayat.
“Rainwater harvesting programme was launched in Thuruthikkara three years ago. Most of the wells here used to dry up even during December and the families were dependent on Periyar valley canal and tankers for drinking water. In 2016, following an awareness programme on well-recharging conducted by KSSP, a resident came forward to set up the system in his house. That was a turning point. After realising the benefit of water harvesting, more than half of the water-scarce families have set up the facility. And all the wells have enough water even during the summer,” said P.A. Thankachan of KSSP, the coordinator of the programme.
It was after a study conducted by the Centre for Water Resources...
Development and Management, (CWRDM) in 2012 that the KSSP thought of water conservation. According to the CWRDM study report, groundwater level in Thuruthikkara surrounded by paddy fields and hillocks had depleted by nearly two metres and the quality also dipped. As part of the study, water level and quality in 10 selected open wells were monitored in four seasons.
“A few years ago, water scarcity was severe in most parts of the village and even the potable water supply by the panchayat was inadequate. Now, of the 349 families in the village, more than 160 units set up well-recharging facility over the last three years. And their wells never dried up after that. The quality of well water also substantially increased,” said Niji Biju, panchayat member.
The chemical oceanography department at CUSAT supported the well-recharging initiative by testing the water quality of all wells in the village free of cost.
The Thuruthikkara model has been acclaimed as successful and it was showcased in the Kerala Water Summit 2019 as the best water conservation model....