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An Engineer from Maharashtra Helps Villages Become Drought-Free and Save Water

By auther pic. Roshini Muthukumar

May 9, 2022

An Engineer from Maharashtra Helps Villages Become Drought-Free and Save Water

Bore Charger

In 2013, nearly 90 lakh farmers and several residents of Mumbai faced one of the worst droughts. Farmers in the Vidarbha and Marathwada region suffered the most along with surrounding villages. This includes Shelkewadi, Randulabad, Satichiwadi, Muthalane, Phalakewadi, and Thapewadi. 

One of the primary reasons for the city to face such a dry spell was simply less rainfall.

But today, these villages that once struggled to water their crops, have turned the odds in their favor. They have become water sufficient and have created water management policies that ensure the residents never suffer the same fate again. 

This is all thanks to Pune-based Rahul Bakare, who played a key role in establishing a Participatory Groundwater Management Network and innovating a device that helped villages become drought-free. 

Leaving behind a cushy life

50-year-old Rahul, previously worked as an engineer in the software industry and has completed his post-graduation at IIM Calcutta. He was working in a cushy job in the United States until 2009 when he decided to return to India. Though he was living a luxurious life, Rahul could not shake the feeling that was missing out on the mental satisfaction in his life. This led him to take a step toward a social cause that creates a positive impact. 

He focussed on irrigation, water security, indebtedness, and farmer suicides. The news he heard a few years ago, owing to drought conditions, pushed him to venture into this field. 

To understand these issues, on the ground level and in-depth, the engineer opted to practice agriculture. He purchased a piece of land to practice agriculture, and people close to him opposed his decision. They believed Rahul had no experience in farming and that it would take him years to understand the farmer's issues and address their problems.

Innovative interventions

With luck on his side, Rahul got the opportunity to work as the Director of Grants at a philanthropic organization named Arghyam Foundation, launched by Rohini Nilekani. The org works with the aim to establish water security. 

Through this, Rahul got to work on 80 projects across India with several NGOs as stakeholders. They attempted to blend technical knowledge based on scientific data with the traditional knowledge of the locals to work on a sustainable solution to water security.

However, working with the limitation of corporate funding and NGO guidelines did not allow Rahul to experiment with new concepts. In 2014, he quit the foundation and decided to start a venture of his own. 

He roped Vinit Phadnis, a hydrogeology expert, to launch Urdhvam Environmental Technologies Pvt Ltd. Through several attempts, research, and development, the duo created an innovative machine — BoreCharger, that increases the quantum of rainwater entering the groundwater aquifers. 

It is a device that increases groundwater recharge, farm yield, and duration of supply and improves water quality considerably. 

The Bore Charger device

So how does it work? 

The BoreCharger technology works by undertaking an “angiography” of borewells, using an underwater camera system. Its primary function is to identify and study the various aquifers underground. These aquifers form over hundreds of years after rainwater seeps through various layers of the rock structures and reaches these depths. 

Explaining why this is important, Rahul says that pumping high amounts of water results in the drying up of deeper aquifers. Further, they take several months to replenish and instead turn dry. Moreover, the aquifers in upper layers of water remain blocked with the PVC casing, used to construct the borewell.

Once identified, the device creates perforations in the casing pipe at hydro-geologically appropriate depths using a patented robotic arm, allowing the water from the upper aquifer to enter and store in the deeper ones.

 

The device not only improves the yield of borewells but also increases supply duration by at least two to three months. More than 1,500 such BoreCharger interventions have been done on the bore wells across eight states of India and in West Africa, helping to recharge 165 crore liters of water.

Apart from this, the engineer has worked across different parts of the country for helping the villages with water security through his innovative, patented, and affordable borewell recharge technology. 

If you wish to know more, visit their website or facebook page. 

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Author

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.

 

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