Water ahoy!

A windmill pumping from the deep seldom dries a borewell. In a whole day, it would lift what a typical electric pump at a dug-well sucks in an hour. The reason why a borewell is deep for a windmill is not, as in the case of monster submersible electrical pumps, to access deep water. It is a protection against falling water levels in the summer. The well is easily and quickly recharged as the windmill draws tiny quantities per stroke.

A windmill is free of the grid forever. Its modest output however, calls for plentiful storage above ground and careful use. A windmill changes your outlook on raising crops and trees. It also confers several advantages.

The first gain is a feeling of pride.[-not to speak of its poetry as it connects your land to the cosmos]. The pride, of not standing in the queue asking for a dole of free power from the state government. If you chose to pay for it instead, you will find electricity tariff is unaffordable. In any case it is difficult to see how electricity can be free forever as the wind will be- at the opportune moment, the politician will shut the free supply. It does cost good money to produce it for it to be give away free. Hard economics will kick-in someday.

The Second gain i speed. A well takes a month to dig. Then after a well is dug, the pump has to be bought and installed before the Village Officer will give you the certificate you need to apply for a power connection. Several months of repeated visits and beggary or bribery at the electricity department’s office will follow. If the line has to be drawn from a distance [-wasteland projects usually are remote] the wait can be as long as a six months. After you have crossed all the hurdles, there are the power cuts, brown outs and repairs to attend.

The first cost -even if the power use were free- is pretty high. I did the sum and figured that out. A 15 feet dia, 50′ deep well can cost Rs.250,000 and a month. Basic application fee for free power is Rs.75,000 and takes 3 further months. Proper electrical installation is about Rs 50,000. So that’s Rs 4 lakhs when all hidden costs and overheads are factored in.

A 200′ borewell takes three hours to dig and costs Rs 20,000. A reliable windmill costs Rs 200,000 out of which Rs 50,000 comes back later as a green subsidy. You are in business in under three months of ordering the mill. Okay you can’t flood irrigate a field like you can with a monster pump, but you get enough water to reclaim 30 acres using a single mill.

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