Surwahi Social Kanha – Coliving in wilderness

Water conservation

Water is life! If there has been no water, there would be no life! does one know all life sorts of all species of flora and fauna are ready to live due to water? Water is that the major component of cells, typically forming between 70% and 95% of the mass of the cell. this suggests 80% of our body mass is water. Not only are we made from water, it’s the sole transportation medium that carries the food molecules and oxygen to the cells of each body parts to assist the blood. It signifies that water is the most essential ingredient for the functioning of life processes of each organism. So we see living this excellent life is impossible without water!

Conserving water is increasingly important these days. Not only is it beneficial for the environment, but it’s also useful for saving money in these challenging economic times. There are many simple, doable ways to conserve water in our daily life.

  1. Check all faucets, toilets and shower heads for leaks
  2. Install a low-flow shower head
  3. Opt for a low water consumption equipments or devices be it your water purifier or toilet closet
  4. Washing from fresh water must be minimal for e.g. your car wash can be from recycled water depending on water treatment, so can be watering of the plants or mopping the floor.
  5. Be water conscious!

While most of the above things are for normal households we at Surwahi Social Kanha have take a conscious call of being Water Positive in Hospitality. We have a bore well at approximate 150 feet and our long term aim is to do everything to increase this level in our village area not just for us but for our entire neighbourhood.

Surwahi Social Kanha water conservation practices

It’s fair to assume that lot of these are trials but we are excited to make an attempt at SSK.

a) Recharging of underground water table

1. Yoga Well

The deep-bored well is a manmade wonder but no one knows about its year of formation. It is marked by three Indian cluster fig trees that have grown from the wall of the well. We were gifted with it while we procured the land unknowingly. But what we do attempted was its deepening, cleaning, preservation of its original state and increasing the green cover around it over last 4 years.

2. Stop Dam at Sanduk Stream or Nala

Adjacent to North Western periphery of SSK we have nice stream called Sanduk Nala which merges with Banjar river hardly 500 metres from the estate. To conserve the water we tirelessly worked with local and district Panchayat authorities for 3 years resulting in half complete stop dam structure next to our boundary. Purpose was to conserve the water flowing down during monsoon and make approximately 50 families water positive for the post monsoon season when the water flow depletes in the stream. Thanks to bureaucratic procedures we are still fighting for its 100% completion some day.

Dam Over Sanduk Stream In SSK
3. Arjun Talab or Pond

This pond digging out was the very first construction project which we picked at Team Surwahi Social back in summers of 2016. It forms the centre of western boundary of SSK and has been dug out in semi circular letter D shape with a massive bund or wall at the edge protecting the water. It was the soil of this pond area which went to form the new diverted road connecting Sarekha to Khairlanji village. The bund wall provides an unparalleled view of the farming terrain and Sanduk stream in the evening twilight with immersive sunset views. This rain water harvesting pond has rocky surface towards its eastern edges and goes as deep as 10 feet from the land surface in its centre. Name after the popular Indian tree of Arjun or Termanalia Arjuna which stands bright forming a rocky island around its middle along with a Mahua. Current water retention capacity of Arjun pond is is weak but its increasing as years are passing. This small manmade lake is inundated with water from July to November normally. The added attraction during rainy season is the Mandakini waterfall which flows into the Arjun Talab making sight and sound to behold.

4. Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting at Kanha

As part of conserving the fresh rain water, Surwahi Social’s central leisure area is a design haven and first of its kind of concept perhaps in entire India. With a massive Heptagonal roof area of around 1000 sq feet here the metallic sheet roof converges from 7 directions making a funnel opening with a diameter of 10 feet dropping to around 8 feet height from 16 feet on the edges. This creates a water hole bringing the entire roof’s rainfall water running off to the opening falling like a waterfall in a fish / lotus pond inside the central leisure hall. This circular shape indoor water body has an surplus overflowing water exit pipe connected to Yoga well. Hence when the rain Gods arrive, first the fresh rain water gets poured onto the Central leisure area fish pond from there it drains out to Yoga well and lastly if thats also full it flows to a Rain water ground sump aimed to recharge the water table.

5. Trenches inside and outside the boundary

TrIt is the traditional way of conserving water. It stop the flow of water and leave it to recharge in the ground. Below is an example which is right opposite to the SSK main entrance gate. This also acts as a drain to refill another pond called “Chaitibai ka Talab” opposite the estate entry.

Rain Water Harvesting trench outside SSK
5) Recharging the water in the neighbourhood pond

This was the old pond called Chatibai ka Talab. which is located in front of surwahi social, Which we digged and increased its water level, so that water stopped in it for a long time.

Chatibai ka talab near SSK

b) Minimising freshwater utilisation

1. Evapotranspiration Toilet

The EVT Toilet is a composting waterless toilet or rather a water-efficient toilet. As part of dry sanitation, the system does not use water to transport human faecal matter. On the contrary, they keep the human excreta or potential pollutants out of the underground water bodies and waterway system. Thereby acting as one of the best solutions to stop further degradation of the general environment. In common toilet area block of SSK, we use this technique to conserve the water.

2. Drip farming

Dribble water system is a kind of smaller-scale water system framework that can possibly spare water and supplements by permitting water to trickle gradually to the underlying foundations of plants, either from over the dirt surface or covered underneath the surface. The objective is to put water legitimately into the root zone and limit dissipation. We use it for saving water

Drip farming in SSK
3. Low water consumption staple grain farming experiment

By this experiment conducted in the Monsoon of 2019, we want to check the is factualness of low consumption of water required in millet farming as well as the low maintenance needed for the crop as compared to Rice or other crops grown in Madhya Pradesh. We choose Kodo millet and experiment came successful in the end of the harvesting cycle. As a comparison its scientifically proven that 1 growing 1 kg of millet consumes 800 litres water while 1 kg rice requires approximately 3700 litter of water and growing 1 kg of wheat takes 2700 litres of water.

Kodo Milet Framing In SSK

c) Deploying Hydrologist in early stage

As a water conservation sensitive team, we have been scientific as well as prudent to pick the final balance on local knowledge in tandem with scientific advisors or geological hydrologists while acting on the Surwahi Social estate land. The approach has helped us to track the underground water in single attempt as well as conduct a deep study on where to pick building construction to as far as what to grow, where to dig and whats the land composition beneath in terms of water affinity. This survey was extensive and helped us largely in defining our water positive strategy for the next 100 hundred years if not more.

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