With no money in hand, a family of four dig well in their backyard to mitigate water crisis
Pune, Maharashtra: The Marathwada region is infamous for the drought-like conditions and water scarcity it faces during the summers. Each year, the water crisis goes on till the monsoon provides some respite to the residents of the region, but a family in Beed decided to address the problems on their own.
Residents of Datta Mandir lane in Beed city, Nagnath Taak (48) and his sons Shubham (22) and Kartik (20) decided to dig a well in their porch to address the water woes. “We face water scarcity every year and receive water from the public tap once in 25 days during summers. The amount of water received is not sufficient and also irregular, thus, forcing the community to rely on water tankers,” stated Nagnath.
He mentioned that relying on the community tap for water was causing them problems and the delayed monsoons brought attention to the water scarcity. Then, in February, they had engaged some people for construction work and even they complained of water scarcity, he added.
The masons then suggested that they would dig up a well. However, the Taak family decided to delay the work against the demanded sum of Rs 50,000. Despite spending so much money to get the well dug, they’d have to spend additional money to pump the water to the surface, argued Nagnath.
Nagnath stated that Kartik suggested that they just find a corner and start digging the well by themselves while admitting that he found the idea to be off-limits. He stated that neither he, who is a cook, nor his sons, who are jewellers, had the knowledge to go about digging a well.
However, Kartik insisted and procured some tools to initiate the work on May 2. They’d dig the well from 10 am in the morning to 2 pm in the afternoon, in turns, Kartik stated.
He mentioned that conversations with the masons gave them an idea that they could find water about 25 feet below the ground. However, even after digging for 15 days and reaching approximately 25 feet in depth, they could only find some moist soil and rocks, he added. Losing the initial enthusiasm and confidence, Nagnath and his sons, decided to continue digging two feet each day and not exert much.
On May 23, they finally got some hope as they saw some water saturated in the ground, informed Shubham. “We continued digging until we gained access to the natural groundwater reservoir,” he added. Overwhelmed by the success, they secured the walls of the well with concrete and set up a water pump.
Shubham mentioned that the digging work had become a talk of the lane where they reside and people were overjoyed when they came to know that the father-sons trio had found a stable water source. As everyone in the area continued to suffer owing to the irregular water supply, they decided to open the water supply for the locals, he added.
Shubham stated that the water pump was connected to a water tap outside the house and since then, about 22 families in the locality use the water from the well.
A resident of the lane Arbaaz Shikalkar stated that after the Taak family dug the well, the uncertainty, which surrounded the water availability, has ended. He highlighted that they would spend about Rs 300 in procuring water tankers on a regular basis and had to hunt for water from other sources if the tankers weren’t available.
Shikalkar mentioned that the well benefits the whole community. He added that they have no idea on how long they can get water from this source or how long it’ll take the groundwater source to replenish, when exhausted, but they are making good use of the water that is available now.
Anupam Kashyapi, head, Weather & Air Pollution Monitoring Unit, India Meteorological Department, Pune, told 101Reporters that the Marathwada region witnessed 40% more rain this year than the average rainfall and the water storage in the region is expected to rise as more spells of rainfall are expected.
While admitting that water scarcity was reported in some parts of the region, the district agriculture department feels that the water woes in the region will be addressed by the surplus rains this year. “Good rainfall has resulted in water recharge in dams and reservoirs. We are expecting good produce,” stated Rajendra Nikam, an agriculture officer at Beed.
Nikam added that though some pockets faced some water issues, the rains this year promise better water storage than last year.
(The author is Pune-based freelance journalist and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)