Planning a pond

A pond once dug, is forever- provided it’s given reasonable care. It will live eternally, filling and emptying, and enriching the neighbourhood. If you are looking for a purpose in life, dig a rainwater catchment hole -small or large – and watch water staying in when it next rains. No surprise then, that a popular form of individual munificence in old India, was to endow a well or a pond or a lake. A good sized pond however, requires some planning before you begin to dig.

One of the major objectives of pointReturn is to encourage individuals to directly get into rain water harvesting, without leaving it all to the state. I am no pond expert but the narration that follows will convince you that even an inexperienced one like me can learn all that it takes. Some reading, some meetings with the right people and knocking on the right doors will make you feel confident. That’s what I did. So what follows may save you some time.

When I surveyed the land first, I found a large area midway between the western and eastern fences was very rocky. Most of the rocks are embedded in the earth. It is difficult to tell how deep they go, much as the case is with icebergs. It seemed logical then to start digging out the rock and convert the resulting crater into a pond.

But it turned out, that that was not a compelling enough argument. The better factors to consider would be where the best location for a bore-well was and how one was pumping the water out. A water diviner indicated two suitable sources of water; one at the lowest point of the site in the east and another at close to the highest point of the site in the west. There was no water source near the rocky area. The means of pumping water would be a windmill. The difference in elevation between the high and low points of the site is 8 feet which is not a significant difference from the point of view of windmill’s extra effort. So it would make sense to get the water out of the ground at the higher point, store it in modestly elevated tanks and from there, use flow by gravity to advantage.

And that’s how the windmill and water storage [-atop a store room, nearing completion] are where they are- close to the western fence. Soon, it was discovered the windmill had such little supply from the aquifer even for its low capacity pump, that creating a rain water catchment pond jumped to high priority.

My interactions with DHAN and BAIF had convinced me that the size of farm ponds should be a minimum of 5% of the land area, going up as much as possible, to 10%. That would mean approximately 1 acre of pond area for the 15 acre pointReturn site.

Now I had to take in two decisions already made. The windmill will stand at close to the high point of the site, and the RWH tank’s primary job would be to nourish the anaemic bore-well. Is it to be a 1 acre pond right away?

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