Thursday , October 28 2021

App helping farmers to crowdsource water in South Rajasthan, Gujarat

WaterMan Rajendra Singh to launch literary works under MARVI project

Udaipur : Software and internet applications have enabled farmers in remote areas to perform an amazing variety of functions using smartphones. The MyWell smartphone app is one of them which is enabling Udaipur and Gujarat farmers to monitor and manage scarce ground water in a distributed and localized way to monitor water levels in wells that supply drinking and irrigation water. Now the application is spreading to other states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. 

MyWELL is part of the successful project led by Western Sydney University and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through the MARVI project (Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention). The partners from India included Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology, International Water Management Institute, Development Support Centre, Arid Communities and Technologies and Vidya Bhawan Krishi Vigyan Kendra. 

 To spread the successful ground water stories and educate other farmers, a seminar has been organized in Udaipur on Thursday where Magsaysay Award winner and world famous water conservationist Rajendra Singh would launch the various publications under MARVI project. The project was initiated in 2012 in five villages of Bhinder block in Udaipur including Heenta, Dharta, Badgao, Sunderpura and Varni and six villages in Meghraj watershed area of Gujarat state. 

Professor Basant Maheshwari, lead scientist in the MARVI project that developed the app, said “the MyWELL app supports the efforts of communities to be informed about the availability of local groundwater through the efforts of local, trusted volunteers called Bhujal Jankaars (BJs—a Hindi word that means “groundwater-informed”). These volunteers act as the intermediary between local people, organizations and governments in monitoring water levels though data collection in the MyWELL app.” The groundwater levels were declining and farmers were in despair as to what is the way forward to maintain their livelihood. Farmers in the two watersheds had hardly any data on the groundwater level fluctuations, rainfall and water quality for their villages. 

The MARVI project helped them to monitor groundwater level and understand how groundwater is fluctuating, what are the options to use less water and still produce crops and improve livelihood” informs Anil Mehta, a water scientist. Watertable data monitored by both farmer volunteers and sensors have enabled the estimation of local hydro-geologic parameters and the development of a simple groundwater balance.  The monitoring of rainfall and water levels in checkdams has led to partition of aquifer recharge due to checkdams and natural recharge in relation to subsequent groundwater use. The MyWell App developed will help in easy collection of watertable, rainfall and checkdam water level data from any location in India and making those data available on the web.

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