Sat, 02 Dec 2023


Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], November 7: India, a predominantly agricultural nation, has been facing its share of problems with lack of water, which hampers farming practices and affects people's daily needs. A country responsible for about one-fourth of the total groundwater extracted worldwide is now facing critical water shortage. Many rivers that once flowed perennially are now on the verge of drying up. 256 districts nationwide have critical or over-exploited groundwater levels. Rivers have been drying up due to climate change and soil erosion, which is a consequence of deforestation and a lack of effort to protect and restore the environment. Floods and droughts have become a recurring phenomenon in various areas, leading to crop spoilage and the inability to grow a variety of vegetation. Rain and water bodies like rivers, lakes and ponds meet only 20 per cent of India's agricultural and domestic requirements. The remaining 80 per cent is dependent on groundwater for sustenance. This groundwater has been continuously depleting exponentially for the past 20 years owing to the disrupted hydrological cycle.

The Art of Living has taken up the initiative to make India water+ and made immense progress in rejuvenating 70+ rivers, their tributaries and streams. 90,000+ groundwater recharge structures have been built across 5 states so far - Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. In a short period, the initiative has created a major positive impact nationwide by improving biodiversity, groundwater levels, crop production, and soil fertility. Plus there is a significant increase in land usage, labour employment and of course, farmer income.

Scalable solution to the groundwater crisis, tailor made for each terrain

Conservation of water is the need for India to recover from its current groundwater crisis. The situation demands a practical and scalable solution. The Art of Living, under the guidance & inspiration of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is tirelessly working towards the same and is also including the locals in the process. Working towards achieving its goal, The Art of Living has developed exceptionally effective methods such as The Art of Living JalTara. The organisation has developed many models to suit different terrains based on the research initiated and monitored by a strong technical team comprising competent geologists/hydro geologists, retired ISRO scientists, experienced civil engineers and IT experts with vast experience in research and application of geo-informatics.

The River Rejuvenation Project

The Art of Living Water Conservation Team was formed to mitigate the water crisis and develop a sustainable and long-term solution to revive dried-up rivers and conserve water. With meticulous planning, assistance from technical experts, and consistent efforts, the river rejuvenation team restored many rivers and other water sources like ponds, wells, canals, and temple tanks.

The process involves building different recharge structures. Working synergistically, these structures reduce the runoff velocity of rainwater, increase soil moisture, and reduce erosion. The natural process of groundwater recharge is accelerated. The base flow is prevented from flowing downstream and the water level on the upstream side is enhanced. Water is effectively conserved.

In the words of Sri Thiru S.A. Raman, District Collector and Magistrate, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, who was all praise for the project, "The water table in the region has risen by 12 feet - a fact verified by The Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board. The local ladies who have contributed to this effort are proud of their contribution in the upliftment of their village. The success in Vellore has generated confidence in the project."

Expressing his opinion on the Naganadhi River Rejuvenation Project, Dr. K Satyagopal, former Chairman and Managing Director of Tamil Nadu Water Resources Conservation and River Restoration Corporation, says, "The contribution of The Art of Living in mobilizing the community, particularly women, is vital for the sustainability of the project. It also demonstrates how partnership with The Art of Living has brought out exemplary results for this Government project."

The JalTara Initiative

This project is a pioneer flagship initiative of The Art of Living. It aims to achieve sustainable recharge of the groundwater table. The unique JalTara approach is to create recharge structures at the lowest point within an arable acre-plot of land, with two fruit-bearing trees on its sides, enabling rainwater to bypass the dense, impervious topsoil and recharge underground aquifers.

The process lasts six months which includes training the ground teams; sensitizing and mobilizing the farmers; location identification and marking; building structures and planting trees on the sides of each structure. This is followed by tracking of the water level and diligent monitoring.

Sulabai Chavhal, a farmer from Jalna, Maharashtra, who has benefitted by JalTara says, "There was a lot of mud on my farm. Construction of The Art of Living Jaltara recharge structures absorbed excess water from my farm, which has increased crop production. Earlier, I hardly reaped a single bag of grains, but now my godown is full."

The project's impact is huge, with a 100% success rate. The average increase seen in the water table is 14 feet, in farmers' income it is 120%, in crop yield it is 42%. Crop spoilage due to water logging has decreased by 100%, the average increase in work availability year-long is 88%, and land usage (Rabi Season) is 58%.

The Art of Living targets to scale the project massively in five years, impacting 1, 00,000 villages with 5, 00,000 recharge structures.

The team is consistently working towards achieving Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's vision to bring about the positive change of making India water-rich.

About The Art of Living - Social Projects

The Art of Living, a non-profit, educational, and humanitarian organisation founded in 1981 by the world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The organisation works closely with the Government of India to relieve the country from water scarcity through various water conservation projects.

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Shamika Gandhi


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(ADVERTORIAL DISCLAIMER: The above press release has been provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of the same)

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