Falling in love with swales

With the counsel of a water diviner [story] I picked a spot as being worthy of a borewell, and drilled one 200′ deep. Late May 2007, a windpump was installed over it.[story] And I thought I was done with water self-sufficiency. The windmill’s suction was 60′ into the borewell, a depth I thought enough to support the gentle pump. But no! My education on the ways of water was about to begin. [story]

I realised my search for a land bereft of water had been more successful than I had hoped! The urgent requirement was that the borewell be recharged with rainwater. So I decided to dig a big pond, nearly encircling the borewell. Not a man given to doing things by half, I planned a 1.6million litre pond.

It was stretching my money. But as I sat pondering the road I had taken thus far, I underwent a shift in my perception of money. True wealth is not money in the bank but water under the ground and fertile soil on top. Money used as a tool to create these will eventually result in sustained surpluses of money. How I wish this perception was shared by economists, starting with the celebrated one now leading India!

So the pond was dug. In about ten days starting from Oct 13, 2007, it was almost done. When there was about 10% to go for completion, the skies opened up and filled it. It was a sight to behold. I ended this article on a high:

This pond has given me a satisfaction that my money has seldom brought me. I gazed on the million litres arrived from heaven, and felt a very wealthy prince.

As 2007, drew to a close I had planted 26 species of trees, 200 in all. We were watering the plants without a care. 2008 saw the pond refill again in September. I told myself -for the second time and again in error as it turned out- that I was done with water self-sufficiency. Surely a million litres stored by the borewell will steadily recharge the ground and take me home! Apparantly, not; at least, not sufficiently.

By early 2009, it was clear we were headed for a drought year. The windmill began to struggle by March, a good four months before the usual time. As the drought progressed, the pond depleted and many of the 300 trees planted in 2008 began to wilt, I was to be whispered new lessons to learn.

7 thoughts on “Falling in love with swales

  1. Dear DV,

    Don’t know how it may help, but in watershed developments, CCTs need to be done on entire catchment area of watershed to get full effect. So, in your case, is it possible for you to do 1-2 swales on the west side outside of your property? The percolated water will benefit the borewell.

    – Kedar

  2. Dear DV, thanks for such a insight.. I have approached Ringo to check if he can visit my farm and help me in planning.. this is a great help and I badly needed this.

  3. Dear DV
    Wishing you and the team at point return a happy and pleasant new year. On reading, how can one not fall in love with swales? If Only a marginal farmer( if I may use that word)be educated in the virtues of swale, that would be more effective than policy makers groping around committees to implement. Thanx a lot for en lighting. chandrakant

  4. Dear DV,
    It is amazing how you get the strength to do such wonderful things. Obviously it is your love of nature that is making you do all these things. I wish you all the best for the New Year and may the swales give you all the joy that you wish for. Hats off boss

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