Healthy ecosystems and natural infrastructure are vital for clean, plentiful water required, both supply and recharging groundwater levels. They filter pollutants, buffer against floods and storms, and regulate water availability. A very important part of this natural infrastructure is the Ponds or Jhod in Haryana. They are an important hotspot for biodiversity. The Johad or the Jhod as the locals like to call in their native dialect, are more abundant than almost any other freshwater habitats and are found in all environments. The Jhods are also linked with the culture and tradition of that particular region.
Jhods have lost their existence and cultural significance due to the rapid urbanization and unregulated water resource exploitation. Traditionally they were of high relevance to the community nearby for their animals, especially cattle rearing and bathing in the agrarian state of Haryana. With time, the farmers switched to mechanization and ponds along with the cattle became insignificant. What we all as a society failed to realize is that these water bodies were acting as natural major recharge grounds for groundwater. Now most of the ponds in Haryana are either dry or have sewerage water flowing in them.
On the other side, we are highly dependent on ground-water for our day to day consumption and agriculture. Borewells and tube wells are common across the district. As per a report published by CGWB, there are areas in Gurugram facing 308% groundwater extraction.
Due to such non-judicious consumption and no proper recharge the groundwater level is falling by almost 2-5 meter per year in the district, making all the blocks in the critical and exploited category.
Most of the traditionally existing water bodies have either been encroached or levelled in the shadow of urbanization. According to a study from Revenue Records and GIS mapping done by Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, the number of water bodies in the district has been reduced from 644 to 124 in the last six decades (1994 - 2019).
The brighter side is there are almost 250 Jhod on Panchayat land and 18 ponds in Urban areas which can still be revived.
Under our umbrella campaign of Support a Pond, we have taken upon ‘Restore Jhod’, which is envisioned to be a collaborative undertaking between the Government Departments, Corporate CSR, Communities and Individuals, with the sole objective is to rejuvenate the ponds. Our objective is to:
● Restore 250 water bodies in the Panchayat Land mapped by GMDA
● Do complete Pond profiling to enable collaboration
● Facilitate the government departments and the local community in reviving the water bodies.
● Helping the CSR partners, take up pond rejuvenation and maintenance.