In Rajasthan, the land of rich heritage and royal history, the condition of water sustainability has been identified to be in considerably bad condition. Extreme hot temperatures, below average rainfall, and wastage of rainwater are also adding up to the situation. Statistics weigh on this point. If we look at rainfall measures, every year Rajasthan receives 16.05 billion cubic meters of rainfall, out of which 4 billion cubic meters is getting wasted as run-off.
Depleting water table levels, year after year is common phenomenon observed in all drought-prone areas, similar is the case of Rajasthan. This leads to increase in the digging of bore wells which result in lowering of the water table. Adequate recharge works would be the answer to such a situation, not increasing the number of wells or drilling deeper. This aspect is considered in the strategy known as Four Waters Concept invented by Sri T. Hanumantha Rao, Retd. Engineer in Chief (UNO Opconsultant).
Belief of CM Vasundhara Raje
She propagated the fact that this running water should be made to "walk". Walking water should be made to crawl and crawling water should be made to standing water. Then standing water should be allowed to percolate into the earth. This would result in recharge of the underground water table and ensure utilization of every single drop of available water.
Comprehensive control and management of groundwater, surface water, soil moisture, and rain would be needed for increasing agricultural production and making safe drinking water available in Rajasthan. She termed rainwater, surface water, underground water and moisture in the soil as four kinds of water conceptualized in the theme of this project. CM Raje said that these techniques of water conservation and management have been proven useful in many scenarios previously and attempts have been made in this sector, not only in India but also in different parts of the globe.
Possibilities are huge
Now it is also the responsibility of people to take the implementation of the Four Waters concept in Rajasthan to a new level. CM Raje advocated for integrated management of all these forms of water and suggested for the development of small structures for water conservation, constructed at low-cost, which would take less time to complete and give best results. This also included the construction of water structures such as percolation tank with NREGS works in the villages. The methodology of the Four Waters concept would revolve around the harvesting available runoff in rural areas by treatment of catchment, proper utilization of available water harvesting structures, renovation of the non-functional water harvesting structures & creation of new water harvesting structures. The CM asserted that this concept would come very handy in the drought-prone Rajasthan for countering drought and subsequent damage.
To conclude, the state of Rajasthan which was constantly facing droughts, low rainfall and lacked in water stability needed an efficient mechanism like Four Waters Concept, an inception of Chief Minister Raje’s mind. The advantage of this technology is that with the same cost, it would be possible to increase the benefits and increase the recharge to ground water more than earlier. All the work which would be done with the use of this low-cost technology would increase recharge of groundwater by four times and provide thrice the benefit than conventional models. These benefits would add up to a development of healthier circumstances of water sustainability in Rajasthan and promises for a better tomorrow.