Dharampur and Kaparada in the Valsad district is known as the Cherrapunji of Gujarat. On an average it receives 115 inch of rainfall every year. But the bitter truth is that people of these districts do not even get drinking water for almost 8 months a year. To solve this issue a Rs 586 crore Astole Water Supply Scheme has been launched which is estimated to be completed in 2 years.
Why drinking water shortage, despite maximum rain?
Due to the continuous and heavy rains in the monsoon, the entire area becomes full of greenery and looks beautiful. However, due to the mountainous area, the rainwater flows through the river and the canals 40 kms away into the ocean. Due to the geographical conditions the rainwater do not last in these mountainous region and there is no other scheme for irrigation in this area. Due to this, people living in this area have to struggle in search of water since Diwali right after the monsoon season. The Astole Water Supply Scheme is designed to solve this problem.
But how will water be delivered?
Under the Astole Water Supply Scheme, water will be pumped from the Madhuban Dam – the lifeline of Valsad. Rainwater from upstream districts like Dharampur and Kaparada flows into and is collected in Madhuban Dam built over Daman Ganga river. Every year during monsoon this dam reaches a danger level and overflows into the downstream cities of Vapi, Daman and Silvassa.
Now, under the Astole Water Supply Scheme huge pumping stations will be built across the mountains that will pump the same water up again to the 175 villages of Kaparada and 50 villages of Dharampur taluka. 2 large water purification plants, 6 huge tanks, 28 underground tanks and 1202 tanks built at village levels will be constructed on the hills with ultra-modern technology and water will be carried through powerful pumping machinery right up to the Vaara village at an elevation of 1853 feet from the Madhuban dam.
The ridiculousness of the project is such that 77 kilometer main rising pipeline and 919 kilometer long distribution pipelines will be laid on the hills to pump the same water that could have been otherwise easily stored by building rainwater storage facilities upstream without such elaborate infrastructure and expenditure.
Any engineer in his right mind would have told the project designers that you do not need huge pumping stations and elaborate network of pipelines to carry the same water up again that flows down every year. What you need are rainwater storage facilities built across the hills that would supply water to the villages downstream with the help of gravity. If the engineers of the project are unaware we recommend them to study the tank architecture of Vijayanagara Empire based on this simple yet efficient principle. We also recommend these engineers to pay a visit to ISRO and learn from our Scientists how they harnessed the force of gravity to slingshot Mangalyaan to Mars. Instead of wasting public money and emptying state treasury into such huge imported solution, indigenous knowledge could be better utilised for local situations which is efficient and sustainable to springboard such gravity based spring water supply systems still being used in various parts of India and which is being studied and upgraded upon worldwide.