Haryana Is Constructing Earthen Dams to Fight Water Deficit in the State


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Haryana forest department has come up with an idea to use earthen dams to recharge ground water, and also to store rainwater in large catchment areas. Two of such dams have already been constructed, and work on another one will soon begin.

To fight the issue of water scarcity in the state, forest department in Haryana has started constructing large earthen dams to store rainwater, and to recharge groundwater in Gurgaon and Mewat.

An earthen dam, also known as earth-filled dam, is a type of embankment dam that is made of soil materials like sand, loam, clay, etc.

Such dams can conserve a large amount of water in massive catchment areas, and can help water deficient cities survive during dry seasons.

Ploughing_with_cattle_in_West_Bengal

Photo for representation purpose only. Source: Wikipedia.

Built in the shape of an embankment or wedge, these earthen dams block the waterway, thereby storing rainwater. The natural material used for making the dams are usually excavated from nearby sites, preferably within the reservoir basin. As all the construction materials can be found on-site or nearby, the dams are also very cost-effective.

The water stored in these dams percolates into the underground water and recharges it. Groundwater recharge is a process in which the water in the dam moves downwards from surface to groundwater. Thus, rainwater collected in the earthen dams will be filtered to the groundwater, thus improving the groundwater table, which can then be extracted with the help of hand-pumps, wells, and motors.

According to forest officials, the work has already started on two dams in Ferozepur Jhirka area of Mewat, also known as Jhir forest. The department will soon start the construction in Ghamroj village of Gurgaon too.

The dam in Ghamroj village will be 220 meter long, with a catchment area of 180 hectares. To maximise the ground water charge, the department is planning to set up recharge shafts that are dug into the ground and help flow of rainwater, along with vegetative barriers, by next year. The arrangement is expected to save about 25 percent to 50 percent of the total rainfall in the area.

It is the first time that such dams are being constructed in the Aravali forest area of Haryana.

According to estimates, each dam will be able to save about 37.5 crore litres of water every year. The forest department eventually wants to have a recharge mechanism around every tube well.

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