Friday, December 5, 2008

Back to Rajasthan for Dam Inspections

November 19, 2008

Dr Ryder and I left early in the morning from Noida, picked up Elder Brown and Elder Fairbanks in Dwarka, met up with Atul Dev, Rotary, and his group and then kept going southwest from Delhi on NH 8 to the Sikar district of Rajastan. Somewhere west of Shahpur, we switched to jeeps and continued on to the first dam site. Elder Fairbanks is the new Country Director who had come up from Bangalore to see first hand what it was all about. Elder Brown had been involved with the project to fill the gap between the Dunns departure and our arrival. Dr Maurice Ryder is about my age and is quite an accomplished person. He is an artist, professional photographer, and a veterinarian. He is investigating the church and has been to our house several times. When he found out where I was going, we found a way for him to come along and he was great company. His pictures are such high resolution, they are hard to incorporate in the blog, but there are a couple I've included. The sisters stayed home this trip and probably a good thing as it was dusty and dirty traveling for the most part.

The first stop was a 99% completed dam, Kali Maidi Wala. Just waiting now for the monsoons and the 1-2 inches of rain that will hopefully fall. This view is the front of the dam with the spillway shown. You can see the construction courses as the rock was laid and cemented in.

All of the dam names end in Wala. The best interpretation I have is something equivalent to "wash" in American western terms.

Back side of the dam that will hopefully be covered with water by summer next year, 2009.
Once the dams have water backed up behind them, then they will be dedicated with an inauguration ceremony and a plaque placed on the dam. The process described in a previous post when we attended an inauguration.

After we left the Kali Maidi dam, we went to this farm where they had arranged lunch for us.

Left to right, Elder Brown, Elder Fairbanks, Atul Dev, a local standing, the gentleman from PHD, Dr Ryder, and Elder Tanner. After 7 hours traveling and 1 dam visit, food and water were a welcome break.

Harvesting spinach at the farm we stopped at for lunch.

The second dam, Mauda Wala. About 5' more in height to go. This sequence of pictures will give you an idea of the construction process. Once any excavation is completed, the rest of the process is all manual. And some sites, even the excavation is manual.

Elder Brown got quite a few laughs when he decided to try the head coil and become a hod carrier. This is on top of the dam where they are still laying rock and cement.

One of the rock masons.

Even while working, some of the women keep their faces covered, especially with outsiders around.

Gaadiwaar Wala, a 100% completed LDSC funded dam and the last stop of the day. This dam cost less than $10,000 USD to build, but the benefits will continue for a long time as it holds rain water and allows it to replenish the acquifer.

Construction started early enough in May, 2008, that some water was captured this year. It is 6' deep behind the dam right now and extends back several hundred yards or so. It was too dark to get a picture of the water. One thing I did note was a water bird that now had a home environment.

Dinesh Sharma talking with Elder Fairbanks while Atul Dev takes a break. We drove back to our vans, then to the main highway and to a motel where we stayed the night. The next day we would be visiting 5 dam sites in the Alwar district on the east side of the highway.

After a 7 AM start and driving for a couple of hours, our first stop in the Alwar district was the Bhairu ka Rada Wala dam. The size of the area it will cover with water was a major surprise, it is huge.

This dam is an earth fill with a stone spillway and the project is to expand significantly on a small dam that was already in place. Note in the picture there is an earth fill embankment in the left background while the foreground is the main dam wall. This view is looking south.

This view is looking north from the same spot as the previous picture. You can see some water the old dam has retained, but it is a drop compared to what will be retained when this project is finished. Again, the size of the dam and the future impoundment amazed me.

Goverdhan Sharma. This is the man that is making it happen. He worked for 16 years with the man, Singh, that was the champion of catchment dams in India and received international recognition for his work. Goverdhan has met with village leaders, government officials, etc. and brokered the agreements that make the land available. Obviously, you can't just build a dam and flood hundreds of acres of land without some kind of prior agreement and he is the one who has made it happen along with being the chief architect and finding the sites to build on.

Work at the existing spillway that will increase it in height by 13' if I recall the number correctly, or it may have been 22'. My notes failed me here. You can see where the base is being extended and the addition to the side wall in progress.

When we got back to where the vehicles were parked, a camel cart was coming down the road. I had a request from Sister Tanner to get camel pictures and the driver and children were obliging so we spent a few minutes having some fun.

I don't know if these children had ever seen their picture before, but they were fascinated with the shots I had taken.

This shot was taken by Dr Ryder.

After we left the dam site, it was a short drive to the Sharma's home compound where we had a late breakfast/brunch. The only actual meal we had that day as it turned out.

Three generations of Sharmas. Dinesh, holding his son, is the one doing a lot of the supervision of the sites under construction.

Someone asked Dinesh if we could take a family picture. Getting his wife to agree was another matter. She finally left the building she was in and went to the building where we had eaten where the picture was taken. But she never came outside in our presence.

The next stop was the Paapda Wala dam site, #5 for the trip. This is one where the masonry work has just begun.
Note the cut into the bank that the dam wall will extend into.
In building the dam, the courses of rock and cement are laid down horizontally. Note that some rocks are placed vertically so they extend beyond their own course and will create an interlocking pattern with the course above.
The Kali Bhat Wala dam is an interesting one. It has the potential to flood an extensive area going back behind the backhoe, but I have a concern with the dam itself since it abuts rock walls on both sides. Communication is always a concern, but I believe the intent is to cement the walls. We'll see on the next trip. Photo credit Dr Ryder.
Another earth fill dam with a concret spillway.
The location of the spillway with the beginnings of the base excavation. If you go full screen with this shot, you can see one of the rocks walls I mentioned in the background.

This is the site of the Ram Sarup ki Ghati Wala dam and it gets the award for most interesting name. If the dam were in place, this shot would be along the top of it to the far side. There is actually a good sized wash with those working in the bottom of it.

This wash has a stream that flows in it. There is another dam in the mountains to the north that impounds water and keeps the stream flowing during the year. But again, this dam's purpose is to replenish ground water by flooding a large area behind it. Work here had only begun the week before we arrived, so there is little to see.

Someone made the comment that it looked like a YW activity.

Last stop on the tour. This dam, Phutya Wala, already existed, but is being extended into the hill in the background and raised several feet.

Once the dam reaches the hill and is raised to its final height, if enough rain comes, it will flood over where the vehicles are and back behind the hill. It will also cover a large area to the left. It will not have a spillway as it will flow out to the right behind the hill before it could breach the top of the dam.

This is one of Dr Ryder's shots and you can see the artist in his work. This lady was one of the workers at this location.

Actually saw a herd of camels, with a shepherd, on the way in to Phutya Wala.


Jenny said...

Wow. I am just so amazed at the amount of work that is being done by hand. Here we would just bring in large earth moving equipment. The woman are amazing. It looks like they are the earth movers. :)

Galloping Grandparents (GG) said...

You guys are soooooo good at keeping up with your activites. This will make a great bound book of your mission when you're done. Of course you have lots of new things to see. Everyone and most things here in New England area aren't far removed from home!! You both are having a great work to do there!!

The Wilsons