In Meerut’s Khaspur village, a 700-year-old pond over 15.5 bighas, has recently been revived and brought back to life by an NGO Janhit Foundation in association with Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) and Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India.
In a bid to collect rainwater to provide sufficient water to the villagers, the pond in Meerut’s Khaspur village has recently been dug up and revitalised to make rainwater harvesting more popular amongst the villagers.
The objective of the project is rainwater harvesting and usage of the pond for pisciculture, so as to raise funds for daily maintenance of the water body.
The 10,500 sqm water body, revived by Coca Cola Beverages as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity in association with CAF India, a not-for-profit organisation providing strategic and management support to companies and NGOs, has also been attracting various kinds of birds in and around the area, thus maintaining a balanced ecological environment.
CAF India’s validated NGO partner Janhit Foundation has roped in Water Solutions, an organisation that specialises in water harvesting, who first removed the hyacinth and most of the water from the pond to clean the base of the pond.
“Water Solutions is a consortium of dedicated scientists, well known for their expertise in ground water sector for exploration, assessment, development and management, including rainwater harvesting and have unparalleled expertise in hydrogeological, geophysical and geochemical investigations utilising advance technologies and advance analytical tools such as Remote Sensing, GIS, Ground Water Modelling and Geo-Statistics,” said Anita Rana, Chairman, Janhit Foundation.
“To revitalise the lake, firstly, de-watering of depressed points is done where unwanted accumulation of water is there. We are then required to remove the sludge till the actual top soil is discovered. After that, dressing of top soil is done to create an even bed. Once that is done, recharge structures and wells are placed on the soil bed. In case there is an existing drainage, it is usually channelized so as to divert water into the pond. Separate tanks are also constructed adjacent to the pond to avoid any kind of contamination,” said an official from the Water Solutions team.
Apart from Meerut’s Groundwater Department officials’ active participation, villagers have also contributed in the revival of the project.
According to CAF India officials, the project is expected to directly benefit around 10,000 villagers and many more indirectly.
Rana added that with full cooperation from Meerut’s District Forest Department, about 150 seasonal fruit tree plantation has also been planned around the Khaspur pond area and the overall structure of the pond has already been done and 10 recharge wells have been constructed. And with the monsoons on track, volunteers are expecting a steady accumulation of water in the pond for the villagers to be able to use it on a daily basis.
“Surface water is inadequate to meet our demand and we have to depend on ground water. Due to rapid urbanisation, infiltration of rain water into the sub-soil has decreased drastically and recharging of ground water has diminished. So, actively participating in such initiatives is very significant for the betterment of our society,” said Rana.
With the groundwater in Meerut receding at an alarming level, the district may very soon face a water crisis in the near future.
According to Groundwater Department officials in Meerut, the water is receding at an annual rate of 68 centimeters and measures should be taken to revive more ponds in the district to curb the depletion of groundwater level.
Indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater and increasing number pump installations in private houses is a major reason behind groundwater depletion.
The Khaspur Pond rejuvenation project by HCCBPL and CAF India is a step in the right direction. When asked about the significance of such kind of socially responsible activities, a company spokesperson of HCCBPL said, “We understand the importance of the precious natural resource – Water, and are fully committed to the cause of its conservation. We are always keen to partner with various stakeholders in the area of water stewardship that help people get improved access to water as we believe it is a necessity, and not a privilege. Restoration and conservation of water bodies is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders. Khaspur Pond rejuvenation was undertaken In line with our water stewardship project.’’