Green Sheen Environment Foundation (GSEF), a non-profit organization that focuses on promising technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors for sustainable impact on the earth’s natural wealth and resources, has proposed to the Government an ambitious Rainwater Harvesting Plan for the National Highways.
Ms. Chintan Mehta
The proposal, which involves AI-based solutions for mapping of artificial groundwater recharge structures, revitalizing existing ponds and creating a database of all water bodies in the country by geo-tagging them, was submitted to Hon. Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Meanwhile, GSEF will be hosting a webinar on September 15, in collaboration with the National Water Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti, on “The Melting Peaks”, which will focus on the use of AI and innovation for better understanding and predicting of Glacial Lake Floods.
During the seminar, to be held next month, GSEF experts will speak about how they can offer AI-based solutions to overcome the challenges faced in the water sector. The keynote speaker will be Shri G. Asok Kumar, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission, Ministry of Jal Shakti along with the profound team of GSEF.
In its presentation to the Ministry, GSEF has said that water shortages may be a reality soon and could even lead to conflicts.
It has pointed out that there is increased demand for water due to the rise in population and change in lifestyles, which have become more water-intensive, at a time when the supplies are shrinking.
“Our population has quadrupled while water extraction has increased six-fold. Twelve per cent of India’s population is already living the ‘Day Zero‘ scenario, thanks to excessive groundwater pumping, an inefficient and wasteful water management system and years of deficient rains,” says Ms. Chintan Mehta, Founder and Chairperson, Green Sheen Environment Foundation, and President of the Chicago-based Scad Consultants.
Ms. Mehta said that GSEF’s Technology Lab, in collaboration with AI-based organizations like SCAD-AI, research-based organizations and academic programs, would help to analyze data and introduce new approaches for stronger conservation efforts.
“We drive Smarter Conservation decisions using data, technology and local insights,” she said. “The mission of our foundation is to leverage emerging technologies for smarter conservation decisions.”
Other founder members of the Foundation include Mr. Niraj Swami, a US-based technologist and innovator, and Mr. Hemant Shah, an Industrialist & Safety Professional in Vadodara, Gujarat. Ms. R Patel, a management professional, is the Global CIO of the Foundation.
GSEF has proposed that rainwater harvesting structures (RHS) could be set up along India’s national highways, which stretch over thousands of kilometers across the length and breadth of the country.
Taken together, India’s national highways, state highways, major district roads and other roads add up to about 33,00,000 km. Of these, the national highways are about 67,000 km.
“This huge connectivity of solid surface gives us an opportunity to utilize every single drop of rain for reuse. Apart from harvesting rainwater, which would help increase agricultural production, the project would also help reduce the maintenance costs of the roads themselves,” Mehta said.
According to GSEF, by connecting the roadside channels, about 400,000 liters of water can be collected from one km of a four-lane highway in an hour where there is average rainfall. It involves diverting, filtering, storing and artificial recharge.
It says the rainwater could be diverted to storage points at every 10 km along the highways. After filtering the water in a filtering tank, it can be stored in deep wells.
Artificial recharge would help augment the underground water tables by artificial infiltration of rainwater and the surface run-off, it said.
Among various benefits of such a project, there would be green belts along the highways, higher groundwater tables, lower temperatures along the highways due to heavy plantation, and commercial use of the plantation in future years.
“Structured rainwater harvesting will help to overcome water scarcity, reduce road maintenance costs, increase soil moisture content and fertility of roadside soil, add green cover and increase the scenic beauty of highways, and ensure growth of flora and fauna, including birds and animals, affected by pollution,” Ms. Mehta said.