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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Fight to keep Pune’s post-monsoon spring season alive and flowing

Pune, now served during summer by private and civic water tankers, and during the monsoons by the Khadakwasla lake, is water rich might seem a surprise

pune Updated: Sep 21, 2019 15:14 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Water from a natural spring seeps through the rocks into the river in Aundh. Rivers across the city are fed by these spring waters.
Water from a natural spring seeps through the rocks into the river in Aundh. Rivers across the city are fed by these spring waters. (Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)
         

The Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, in its yearly report seen by HT, cites at least 66 fresh water springs in and around Pune city.

“Of these 66, 30 are dying and are now undergoing restoration. Of the 30 undergoing restoration, 12 springs are active throughout the year,” says Manoj Bhagwat, hydrogeologist at the centre.

That Pune, now served during summer by private and civic water tankers, and during the monsoons by the Khadakwasla lake, is water rich might seem a surprise.

However, as is evident by the centre for water resources data, the natural springs of Pune are at serious risk.

Springs are defined, by the centre, as “natural discharge points from where water from a saturated aquifer comes out onto the surface”.

“We have started restoration work of these 30 springs 18 months ago. Most of these water bodies have either been closed or extinguished due to construction work; or, contaminated due to various reasons,” says Bhagwat.

Groundwater Survey Development Agency is the state’s body monitoring ground water, headquartered in Pune.

Milind Deshpande, its regional deputy director, says, “Protecting springs from surface contamination is essential. Development over the years has led to many such natural springs almost disappearing.”

GSDA has also conducted a hydrogeological survey specifically in Bavdhan to study the damage and contamination of the natural spring.

“Ramnadi, through its 18-km stretch, has a number of natural springs. It is a river which can be restored because tests - like the dissolved oxygen-level testing - show that all the way to Pashan lake, natural springs are keeping the river alive and can be saved. But, readings also found that at some stretches, like near the national highway, the count or reading is zero; it will take a lot of work to revive natural springs here - it is badly contaminated, ” says Virendra Chitrav, director, Ramnadi Restoration Mission. 

Kothrud MLA Medha Kulkarni visited Khatpewadi in August, demanding Rs 10 crore for restoration of the Ramnadi river. “As 30 per cent of Ramnadi flows through my constituency, it is also my river, and we will rejuvenate the natural springs,” said Kulkarni.

Kulkarni claims to have donated Rs 75 lakh through her MLA fund and Rs 50 lakh for work on the Pashan lake.

“We have not mapped the existing 66 springs in the city,” sais Manoj Bhagwat, hydrologist, “We have identified the springs based on people’s participation, society forums and NGOs, through dialogue with them and helping us identifying the seasonal and perennial natural springs.”

“These are seasonal natural springs, flowing only during monsoons in areas like Kothrud, Baner, Pashan, Dighi, Mohammadwadi, Undri, Katraj, and Fergusson College’s Hanuman tekdi,” Bhagwat adds.

Ramnadi Restoration mission is run under Kirloskar Vasundhara Abhiyaan and supported by Kirloskar Foundation.

First Published: Sep 21, 2019 14:55 IST

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