THE WATER CONSERVATION PROJECT

PART 3: Drop by Drop

Moving from talk to action, one step after another, led to seeing and experiencing many beautiful things, all at once. Two such cogs in the wheel of conserving water are the Vermi Compost Pits and the Polly Tunnels.

While it seems to be underrated at first glance, these two together improve both, the soil’s quality and productivity, keeping the moisture intact. This not only ensures increase in nutrients but also demands less water in the long run. One after the other, we set up the two back bones.

Saving every drop

The Vermi Compost pits were built with bricks to support and keep the soil intact while getting ready to face the earthworms that are meant to increase its quality.

First, one of the pits in the compost are filled with earthworms and soil, and then covered with hay and a cloth to keep everything where it belongs.

Soon, we realise that the process of multiplication has begun. From hundreds, the force of earthworms goes up to thousands in 10 days. As their number goes up, so does the soil’s quality.

What looks like a heap of soil and hay, soon becomes the strongest force and acts as fuel for crops to grow in a healthy way while consuming less water.

And so, by serving its part, 16 Vermi Compost Boxes sit in various places of the village Talla Pali, waiting for the earthworms and their yield to multiply.

From Drops to an Ocean

What looks like a tiny tunnel of experimentation, in the form of a Polly Tunnel, holds 1000 saplings waiting to grow and become crops.

Each Polly Tunnel is laid out carefully, with thousand seeds ready to turn into saplings. The seeds chosen are carefully nurtured into saplings in a month, a process that usually takes at least two months without a tunnel.

As each sapling begins to grow, the tunnels do their job of protecting them from animal and bird attacks that happen all year round, and even destructive frost in the winter months.

Once done, the saplings are ready to be sown in the outside world, all set to grow into the crops that they are meant to become.

Moving Mountains

While we were doing our best to do everything it takes to conserve and utilise water to its capacity at Talla Pali, what we did not realise is the biggest task of them all: a mountain to climb.

What looks like any other mountain at first glance is Talla Pali’s source of water, and even end of all problems, if dealt with rightly. On second and third glance, one can look closely to see the tank like structure. Once upon a time, this very tank/pit was the primary source of water for the entire village.

Today, however, this is how it looks like. Dry and wary of even a single drop of water, this image can pass of as a heritage site more than a container and provider of water. And that’s how we began the mountain of a task: by deciding to turn the mountain around and make it water ready for when it rains. And so, we set out to dig and build.

By leveling the land and bringing every idea to life, the action began.

Like with anything that is built carefully, here too, preparation and the right beginning is building block to the whole project, including the dams, tanks, bunds and everything necessary for preserving and optimizing the use of water. So, the outlines were made, and the execution started.

Special technical training for some of the villagers, backed up with planned executions led to the creation of around 80 trenches and ongoing work on the percolation tanks.

To arrest water and retain moisture for longer, we dug trenches across each level of the mountain.

On the other hand, to slow down the force of running water, we built 4 dry water check dams.

Together, these two forces played the role of protecting the soil and keeping the water in safe hands. One after the other, each level of the mountain came together to set the stage.

Our job of making the mountain ready was done.

Level by level, trench by trench and dam after dam, every bit was ready to make the most of the rain that is to come and fill every step enough for it to get to the dry tank that’s waiting for water to arrive.

Now, we sit back, with fingers crossed, and wait for it to rain.


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