Ground recharge wells solution to growing water scarcity in capital’s households: Experts

ISLAMABAD- The experts on Tuesday said groundwater recharge well was a cheaper and efficient technology based on natural solutions to conserve rainwater for household use, revive aquifer and mitigate the risk of urban flooding through most modern technology available at the local level.
The groundwater recharge well technology has been recently implemented at the pilot sites of the capital’s I-8 Sector Kachnar Park and in front of the office of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) and was being implemented on 100 other sites by the Capital Development Authority (CDA). 
The CDA had successfully established 50 recharge wells that replenished 10 million gallons water during this monsoon season. The recharge well was totally opposite and different from pumping well as in the case of the latter the underground water was extracted and in the case of recharge well rainwater was injected into the ground through efficient methodology.  
The recharge well comprises of a storm drain, desilting chamber, recharge slab composed of layers of silica sand, gravel, pebbles and a manhole and different inlets. 
Chairman PCRWR Dr Muhammad Ashraf told APP that water crisis was a serious issue of the country and it was soaring in its every urban city.
“The groundwater recharge solutions are the need of the entire country. Especially in the prevailing floods that occurred in an unprecedented fashion in Pakistan,” he said.
Dr Ashraf said Pakistan was facing environmental degradation as in one season it had dryness and in other there were floods. “We have to increase water storage at every stage. We have to develop large, medium and small dams as per requirement.”
“Sixty per cent agriculture use water is coming from groundwater resources. We will have to either reduce groundwater extraction or increase water table recharge,” he added.
“Watershed management is imperative for flood and drought management whereas catchment area needed to be enhanced,” he said.
The artificial recharge well’s purpose was to intercept rainwater near catchment area and inject it into groundwater well. “It will help save water from evaporation, ponding and pollution,” Dr Ashraf explained.
He informed that the Capital Development Authority was establishing 100 recharge wells and 20 monitoring stations from its own resources in the federal capital.
“Groundwater recharge should be integral part of building bye-laws of public buildings including academic institutions and also private housing societies, and industries.”
To a question, he said a recharging well cost from Rs50,000 to Rs150,000 based upon the requirement and size of the household and storage capacity. 
He informed that the Vice Chancellor of Fatima Jinnah Women University after having negotiations with the PCRWR on recharge wells requested the Council to help her establish a facility at her own house in I-8 that cost Rs150,000 which she bore herself.   
Country Director Regional Representative for Central Asia International Water Management Institute Dr Mohsin Hafeez informed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report highlighted rise in heatwaves, heavy precipitation in South Asia region due to human induced activities.
“Groundwater is declining sharply in Punjab and water logging rising in Sindh. The water recharge in capital was 130-150mm in 1990 that remained the same in 2021 but the urbanisation has boomed at a rapid pace,” Dr Mohsin said. 
The rainwater harvesting recharging well had improved 4.5 mm water table at Kachnar Park, he added. 
When contacted, Deputy Director General Water Management CDA, Sardar Khan Zimri said the artificial groundwater recharge wells gave propitious results in the pilot phase and fast track implementation of the technology was underway at the remaining sites of the 100 planned in the federal capital. He said the Water Management Wing had proposed a provision in the building by-laws to adopt groundwater replenishing technology at household levels.

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