Saturday, November 7, 2009

October 27-29 Rajasthan Check Dam Trip

The following, including pictures, was taken from a report to the Area on the completion of the check dams. I've included it with a few changes. Hope you find the finished product of a humanitarian project interesting. The project was initiated by Elder and Sister Dunn and approved in the spring of 2008 and the build out has occurred during our mission.

The report: All of the planned 20 check dams in the Rajasthan Check Dam Project have been built. When the final draw was requested, the balance in the account was duly requested and given to the partner organization. In reviewing the partner's project expenditure report and comparing it to the original budget, it was discovered that due to a change in the basic dollar rate (BDR) between the time of approval and funding, the project funds available amount was actually larger than the estimated and planned for amount. Since the 20 dams had been built within the estimated cost, there was an excess of funds. Rather than go through the administrative hassle of trying to return funds that had been delivered to the partner organizations, it was mutually agreed to build a 21st dam with the excess funds. The photographs below show the 21st check dam location where construction will begin later this

The men show the line the dam will take followed by a view upstream from the dam location. Notice something that will appear in many of the dam location photographs, the ground has been plowed and will most likely be planted since it will not be flooded until the monsoon period next year, if rains come. The state of Rajasthan reported a 36% below normal rainfall this year and is in a drought condition following a less than normal rainfall last year. I had always thought of monsoon as something almost tropical in terms of quantity until arriving in northern India in what is really a semi-arid region. The term actually refers to a time period, June-September, when what rainfall there is for the year comes.

This visit was specifically to photograph all of the completed dams, but it still began with the first village giving us the traditional honors. L-R Atul Dev, Rotary International, Elder Tanner, Elder Fairbanks, India Country Director.

A field being irrigated from an existing well that now has adequate water near this dam location, Loharavaas, Sikar. This was not true in all locations as below average (2-3”) rainfall this year meant some areas were missed entirely. Note the single cylinder, diesel motor pumps.

1. Gaadiwaar Wala dam, Sikar District, is one several dams that has retained water behind it, about 15’ deep immediately behind the dam wall. It actually had a head start capturing water from the 2008 monsoon period. Water birds and wildlife have congregated in this area due to the water.

2. Kali Maidi Wala dam, Sikar District. The water extends for 2-3 km behind the dam.

3. Mauda Wala dam, Sikar District. This dam is unique with the amount of water impounded behind it.

4. Dhol Papda Wala dam, Alwar District. Dry now, the dam held up runoff water and allowed it to percolate into the soil, fulfilling the dam’s purpose.

5. Musandya Wala dam, Alwar District. L-R Mukti, PHD, panchayat chief - village leader, Elder Tanner, Dinesh Sharma, Elder Fairbanks. The panchayat leader was a very happy fellow with the success of the dams in his area.

6. Bhairu ka Rada Wala dam, Alwar District. The largest dam with a very large earth fill component and an expanded spillway. Water behind this dam floods an extensive area. It was up to 5’ deep behind the dam at one point during the monsoon season.

7. Paapda Wala dam, Alwar District. This year’s rain shortfall during the monsoon is a continuing pattern. The water level in the well on the lower right was so low it could not support the irrigation pumps. The well had gone dry and the surrounding fields had not been planted last year. This check dam made the most dramatic, immediate difference of all the dams built. In a drought year, it managed to stop enough runoff to bring the local ground water level up to where the well functions once again. The planted field shots are around the well which is close to the dam location.

8. Chokhandya Wala dam, Alwar District 9. Kali Bhat Wala dam, Alwar District

9. Kali Bhat Wala dam, Alwar District earth fill dam with spillway, but not the largest dam. The dams are sited to block water runoff and this one has a large drainage area behind it. It may be hard to believe by the pictures, but in September, water actually overflowed the spillway at one point.

10. Dher Wala dam, Alwar District. Water is 6’ deep immediately behind the dam.

11. Ram Swarup ki Ghati, Alwar District.

12. Bodya Wala dam, Alwar District.

13. Pahaad Wala dam, Alwar District. This group of ladies had been north of the dam cutting grass and were headed back to the village. Most were teens. Elder Fairbanks got under a bundle and lifted it, with difficulty which brought laughter, and said it was easy 50 lbs or more. We followed them back and had to hustle to keep up. Note they are wearing flip-flops. It was a long hike to this site up a rocky hill and across the plain you see here. Going down the rocky hill was also no problem for the ladies.

14. Baba Damodar Das Wala dam, Alwar Disrict Upstream view, note the area under cultivation. Many of the dams have the area behind them planted once the water is gone.

15. Golyala Ka Mod Wala dam, Alwar District. Some locals had a beer still going almost in front of the dam and offered us a large bottle of their brew for 100 rupees which we passed on.

16. Phutya Wala dam, Alwar District. The project was to extend the dam to the far hillside and close an open gap, but the area had almost zero rainfall this monsoon season. There was more water last November. Note the 2 water buffalo enjoying what water there is.

17. Gadha Khol Wala dam, Alwar District. The hike to this dam site was uphill and passed a Hindu temple on the way. All of the water for mixing the cement had to be carried in. Probably the most severe working conditions of all of the sites.

18. Alewa Maharaj Wala dam I, Alwar District 19. Alewa Maharaj Wala dam II, Alwar District
Both of these dams flood fields behind them when run-off occurs. Not seen are the drainage water courses behind the dams. Dam II is one of a series of similar dams across fields in the bottom of a long valley.

20. Kholi Wala, Alwar District. This dam benefits villagers of the Muslim faith. L-R views - front of the dam and upstream behind the dam.

No comments: