The Hyderabad-based Centre for Environment Concerns (CEC), a non-governmental organisation, has come out with what it claims as a unique irrigation technology called System of Water for Agriculture Rejuvenation (SWAR), aimed at transforming the irrigation system.
According to CEC director K.S. Gopal, Swar shifts irrigation from surface to measured moisture at plant root zone. This also serves as an ecosystem to foster soil micro-organisms besides rationing plant water requirements.
Explaining the effectiveness of Swar, he said in the very first year of its market introduction in 2015, the system had bagged two global innovation awards.
Swar uses less water and wastes nothing.
The first was the Champion Innovation Prize on Water and Forestry at the 2015 Paris International Exposition and the second, USAID/SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) half-a-million-dollar innovation cash prize under the “Securing Water for Food” international competition.
Technically, Swar involves storing of water in overhead tanks and sending it through a small diameter pipe to a customised locally-made clay pot that is buried near the root area.
The clay pot contains micro-tubes that transmit water through a sand pouch, to prevent the roots from invading the pipes and the pot. The slow oozing of water provides moisture for a prolonged period, the level of which is calculated based on soil type, plant species and its age.
Thus, Swar uses less water and wastes nothing.
Mr. Gopal said that the National Highways Authority of India was currently holding discussions with CEC for adopting Swar for raising trees on either side of the highways at various places. He felt that the system would be suitable for Haritha Haram, the massive tree plantation programme of the Telangana government.
So far, Mr. Gopal said, CEC had implemented Swar in the biodiversity forest raised by ITC Ltd in Prakasam district, at Gnana Prabodhini, an agricultural education institute at Osmanabad in Maharashtra and at various places in Anantapur and Ranga Reddy districts.
The Andhra Pradesh government has placed orders for implementation of the system in an extent of 400 acres in Anantapur, Kurnool and Chittoor.
This article was originally published in The Hindu