Gokul, Babu and Selvi along with 10 representatives from Panchayat and working villages in Coonoor went on an exposure trip to Grampari at Panchgani, Pune. Grampari works on Springs and their conservation in the Panchgani hills.
In their words “Grampari envisions a sustainable society for all and works to create this vision by building the capacity of rural society through thoughtful, innovative and community led programs in livelihoods, health and environment, empowerment and local governance”
The three day exposure visit included both in house Presentations & Discussions and field trips to their working sites.
Started with introduction of Grampari and its work. Then we moved on to the the village named Vivar by trekking down 3kms inside a forest. Grampari team along with the villagers had built a 15 feet long Spring box to protect the spring and for considerable supply of drinking water to the village. The Geology of the area, Basically Lateritic caps and Basalts as underlying bed rock was explained to all. The type of springs in the location was also practically explained. The people were excited to know about the Springs and the new perspective of looking at the Geology to understand Ground water.
The Second Spring was a few kilometres away from the Vivar spring. The second spring was located inside a forest as well and belonged to Kaaudi village. Grampari has also built a spring box there to ensure uninterrupted water supply to the village downstream. The Spring type was Depression and the geology remained same as explained by Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni.
The same afternoon we all gathered at Grampari for a debrief and to share the observations from the field. Then Dr. Kulkarni had made a Presentation to the team on Springs. The panchayat village representatives from Coonoor actively participated in the discussion shooting various questions on Springs and wells and other water quality issues from their respective areas.
Grampari had invited village representatives to form an “Aquifer Committee”. There were around 50 to 60 people who participated and we were part of their meeting. The importance to form a committee to protect not just the spring but also the Aquifer (Water bearing rock) was discussed. People from Coonoor also felt the need for forming an Aquifer Committee in their own areas and had showed willingness to work on it.
The same afternoon we were taken to a spring of a different type in the Pirachiwadi village. The type of the spring was Fracture type. The villagers had to hike up the hill everyday to fetch water. The spring was again located in the forest catchment making it difficult to construct spring boxes. After continuous dialogs with forest department, Grampari and the villagers from Pirachiwadi village have managed to construct a Spring box in the forest. The other spring just a few metres away was used left for birds and other small mammals as part of the ecosystem flow.Now the people have a GLR inside the village and they get water throughout the day.
After the 3 day exposure visit at Grampari the village and panchayat representatives have shown positive attitude towards inititating Spring conservation and development activities in the Coonoor springs.
Special Thanks to “Grampari” and the team for inviting us with open hands and making our stay comfortable and sharing their knowledge on Springs water conservation with our village and panchayat representatives.