कृषि प्रौद्योगिकी अनुप्रयोग अनुसंधान संस्थान
Agricultural Technology
Application Research Institute


Community tanks / ponds as a means of augmentation and management of village level water resources

Climate vulnerability: Drought

Existing practice

Large number of tanks with substantial water storage capacity constructed long ago have become defunct due to neglect, non-maintenance and silting up. Due to neglect of community tanks, surplus rainfall (runoff) during kharif is not stored properly and used. Hence, due to prolonged dry spells at critical stages, crop failures are experienced in some years or production is seriously affected. Rainfed crops in rabi, experience soil moisture deficit which results in low productivity. Kharif crops suffer due to prolonged dry spells sometimes leading to crop failures. Famers face these situations in NICRA villages in Namakkal (TN) and Kurnool (AP).

Resilient practice/ technology

One of the first works accomplished in NICRA villages was to identify these structures to carry out desiltation tanks with farmer's participation. The rich silt deposited in these structures was used by farmers for spreading in the fields, wherever necessary, to improve the water holding capacity of soils. This intervention helped in increasing the surface water resource availability, increased the ground water recharge observed through water table measurements in wells located nearer to the tanks.

At Vadavathur and Jambumadai, Namakkal, village tanks are predominant in these parts of Tamil Nadu since a long time, but have bean discontinued due to individual irrigation facilities through wells / canal irrigation facilities. Revival of this traditional practice of water storage in a large community/village based tanks was considered as one option for augmentation of water resources. The villages identified for interventions under NICRA were surveyed and suitable plan was prepared.

Impact of desilted community pond

Desiltation and renovation of three community ponds were done with community participation in ponds namely Senguttai, Aayiramkuttai and Periyakalingikuttai covering a surface area of 1045, 5035 & 3605 m2 and having storage capacity of 5735, 23000 & 16500 m3, respectively. An additional increase in water storage of 36617 cu.m was created through intervention after desilting and renovation in two phases during the year 2012 and 2013.

  1. Senguttai pond helped in recharging of 18 open wells and 11 bore wells; as a result crop was cultivated in 13.6 ha
  2. Aayiramkuttai pond helped in recharging of 45 open wells and 112 bore wells; as a result crop was cultivated in 73.6 ha
  3. Periyakalingikuttai pond helped in recharging of 45 open wells and 156 bore wells; as a result crop was cultivated in 137.5 ha area

Increase in storage capacity by desilting of community pond at Vadavathur, Namakkal

Name of the Pond Dimensions (Before intervention, m) (Dimensions After intervention, m) Major Cultivated Crops (Before) Major Cultivated Crops (After)
Senguttai 36 x 26 x 3.65 38 x 28 x 5.4 Onion and Sorghum Onion , Groundnut and Sorghum
Aayiramkuttai 30 x 22 x 1.85 92 x 55 x 4.5 Onion and Sorghum Onion, Paddy and Groundnut
Periyakalingikuttai 49 x 22 x 3.65 112 x 32 x 4.5 Onion and Sorghum Onion , Groundnut and Sorghum

Yagantipalle village of Kurnool is one of the drought prone districts in Andhra Pradesh. The village on an average receives an annual rainfall of 546 mm. Water scarcity, poor soil health and frequent droughts are the major climatic constraints faced by the farming community. About 200 tube wells were non-functional due to low water table during post-monsoon period. Hence, the village committee proposed to desilt the existing Burrakunta tank for deepening and use of tank silt to improve soil physical properties and fertility in farmers' fields.

Desilting was taken up during July 2012 and 1260 m3 silt was excavated in Yagantipalle village. Deepening of tank increased additional water storage capacity and observed that water table raised by 12 ft in tube wells during November 2012. Silt was applied to 15 acres covering 10 farmers. Cotton and castor were cultivated in silt applied soils. About 15 to 18% yield increase was observed in silt applied plots over the check due to high fertility status of silt.

After desilting