Gajra Watershed success story gains fame worldwide

Central Chronicle News
Bhilai, Feb 17: Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s innovative Narwa scheme is gaining fame across the globe. Some countries are planning to adopt this project with the aim of increasing the underground water level. Narva scheme was chalked out on the basis of the spectacular results of the Gajra watershed project of Patan block. The same model is being followed under this scheme.
Its detailed video is also available on internet. The Departments of Water, Agriculture and PHE come under the same ministry in Uganda. The Ministry has been exploring methods adopted around the world to increase the possibilities of farming by increasing the underground water level. In the meanwhile, they got a video of the Gajra watershed. The ministry immediately contacted Retired Engineer in Chief (PHED) Harish Hingorani, Principal Technical Advisor, Narva Project and requested to provide complete technical details so that the model could be adopted in Uganda as well.
Through this webinar held on February 13, Hingorani shared valuable information about this project and its miraculous results. Delivering lecture to Uganda officials, Hingorani spoke about water and food security as well as sustainability based on successful planning and implementation studies of Gajra Watershed located in Patan of Durg District. Later, other African countries also expressed interest in it. As the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria also expressed interest in this project; a similar webinar will be conducted for them also.
It is noteworthy that the Gajra Nullah watershed was planned in the year 2001 and constructed during the tenure of then PHE Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Applying scientific approach with use of Remote Sensing GIS tools, this project was completed by Harish Kumar Hingorani under the guidance of then PHE Minister Bhupesh Bhagel. The output of this project was excellent improvement in ground water table and yield.
This project not only ensured drinking water sources security and sustainability but also improved the agricultural yield. After getting elected as Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel chalked out the plan to develop other nullahs on the same model. Harish Kumar Hingorani said that small structures were built in the Gajra Nala watershed. It had a big impact and is effective till date. It is a matter of pleasure that the whole world is now taking interest in adopting the same model and implementing it in their countries.
Hingorani further emphasized that if such scientific approach is adopted by for planning of ground water recharging and Water Conservation then we can ensure goal of water security and sustainability not only in Chhattisgarh but anywhere in the world. At present, Hingorani is also working as task force member for Jal Jeevan Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India & also working for international funding agencies and various states as JJM programme expert.
It needs to be mentioned here that the Gajra Watershed project was completed in the 2003. At that time the water level in the hand pumps and bore wells had fallen upto 17 to 31 meters in that region. After completion of this project, the water level is maintained at 4 to 12 meters. In the year 2003, the number of hand pumps was 436 which later increased to 2079. In the year 2003, the irrigation tube-wells were 690 which increased to 5500 by the year 2019. Despite the increase in number of bore wells, there was no decrease in the water level and it is surprisingly maintained at the level of 4 to 12 meters.
The coverage area of irrigation tube-wells in the year 2003 was 7 square kilometer which later increased to 15-20 square kilometer. The average pumping hours in the year 2003 were 3 to 5 hours which later increased to 6 to 10 hours. Earlier the water remained available in the drain till December but now the water stays there till February – March. This also resulted in increased production of paddy.

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