Award winning climate change adaptation technology to be tested in Bihar

Inundated fields are a seasonal problem for farmers in Bihar, India.

Inundated fields are a seasonal problem for farmers in Bihar, India.

At last year’s COP24 meeting in Poland, Naireeta Services Pty Ltd (NSPL) were awarded the Technical Solutions prize in the Gender-Just Climate Solutions competition. The ‘Gender-Just Climate Solutions’ are awarded annually to showcase real solutions for a more just, equal and healthy planet. NSPL have combined the low cost, sustainable technology of the Bhungroo® system with a focus on women’s leadership, to provide farmers with a solution to the dual problem of too much water in the wet season, and not enough in the dry season.

The Bhungroo® (or “Straw”) is a method of aquifer storage and recovery, adapted and popularized by NSPL, that has attracted the attention of policy makers and scientists in India during the last few years. It helps to drain excess water into the upper aquifers in the wet season through a recharge structure that is also used to pump out water during the dry season. The technology not only helps to drain temporarily waterlogged areas, but also creates water resources that are available for irrigation of crops during the dry season. For more detailed description about the Bhungroo® listen to this podcast with NSPL’s Trupti Jain.

Like many locations across the EGP, Bihar suffers seasonally from both drought and waterlogging. It is important to find new solutions to protect crops in the face of prolonged and regular seasonal droughts interspersed with short spells of excess water in the monsoon season that flood productive fields and other depressions in this predominantly flat terrain.

Schematic diagram of the Bhungroo system (courtesy of www.unfccc.int/climate-action/momentum-for-change/women-for-results/bhungroo).

Schematic diagram of the Bhungroo system (courtesy of www.unfccc.int/climate-action/momentum-for-change/women-for-results/bhungroo).

A new project lead by Nalanda University aims to demonstrate the technical viability of the Bhungroo® in south Bihar. In order to analyze the technical viability, aquifer characteristics will be studied, a hydro-geological map of the study site will be produced, and long-term monitoring of recharged water will be initiated for continuous risk assessment. The project will also assess recharge capacity, economic benefits derived, and key social factors that help adoption of the Bhungroo® technology by small-holder farmers. The end result will be a robust assessment of this technology in Bihar from both a technical and socio-economic perspective, that will form the base of potential outscaling if appropriate.

For more information, please contact Dr Kuhu Chatterjee (kuhu.chatterjee@aciarsdip.com).

NewsTamara Jackson