Groundwater recharge wells to help replenish aquifer, reduce urban flooding risk: Experts

ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (APP): The experts on Tuesday said groundwater recharge well was a cost effective nature based solution to revive aquifer and mitigate the risk of urban flooding through most modern technology available at the local level.

The Institute of Urbanism, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Pakistan Council for Research on Water Resources (PCRWR) and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (HBS) organised media fellowship on Harvesting Rainwater for Urban Flood Management
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Addressing the media, Chairman PCRWR Dr Muhammad Ashraf said 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 occured 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.”

The rainwater storage solutions like artificial lakes at housing societies or artificial recharge wells would help manage rainwater, he added.

“60% agriculture use water is coming from groundwater resources. We will have to either reduce groundwater extraction or increase water table recharge,” he added.

Flashfloods, he said, was not mitigatable in the federal capital or other mega urban even in pre-encroachment scenario of nullahs.

“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 (CDA) was establishing 100 recharge wells and 20 monitoring stations from its own resources in the federal capital.

In his welcome remarks Country Director Regional Representative for Central Asia IWMI Dr Mohsin Hafeez said the IPCC Report highlighted heatwave rise, heavy precipitation in South Asia Region due to human induced activities and both the natural phenomenon occured in this year.

He added that the worst flood occured combining riverine and hill torrents flood.

He said ill planned housing societies, construction on river beds and encroachments on water flows were causing mega disasters.

“Climate Change has major impact on water and there are nine of months drought and three months of rain but we have insufficient infrastructure as no dams have been constructed in past 50 years.”

He mentioned that the water recharge level in capital was 130-150 millimeters (mm) in 1990 that remained the same in 2021 but the rate urbanisation boom spiraled rapidly.
“4.5 mm water tabled improved at Kachnar Park artificial recharge well. We are implementing it on 100 sites in capital in collaboration with CDA and PCRWR.”

Deputy Director General Sardar Khan Zimri said the recharge wells were proposed in building bye-laws to recharge ground water by adopting the solution at household.
He informed that there were 62 recharge wells installed in the federal capital and out of which 8 to 10 failed due to more groundwater level at the sites whereas 50 of them were operational.

The media persons also visited the sites of recharge wells installed at PCRWR and Kachnar Park.

The IWMI Country Director told the media that I-8 Kachnar Park recharge well possessed most modern technology which was implemented after hydrological modelling of Islamabad in which seven potential sites for groundwater recharge were identified.

A PCRWR official briefed the journalists that Kachnar Park recharge well was the only site fully instrumented where water guage was installed alongwith automatic data drivers that monitor water inflow and temperature shift.

He informed that from May to September 78mm rainfall was recorded in the capital and 1.9 million gallons of rainwater was conserved on this site.

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