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10 Jun 2017 | Blog

Giving dugwells a new lease of life with solar powered pumps in the Soan Basin, Pakistan

Muhammad Kahlid Jami, Ali Kamran, Muneeb Ahmad, Dr. Munir Ahmad & Dr. Bashir Ahmad

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Novel interventions for climate change adaptation are a step forward in meeting grass-root needs. Such has been the case with HI-AWARE’s intervention in reviving the traditional dugwells in the Potohar region. A simple yet innovative idea, to make the intervention a reality various challenges and constraints had to be overcome. A cost-effective and climate smart solution had to be developed which could be used by farmers with smaller landholdings that were also completely dependent on dugwells for irrigation. To date, farmers in the region have been using traditional irrigation methods which is time consuming, and many times not entirely feasible. The solution contains a solar powered pump attached to an efficient irrigation system that allows farmers to grow off-season crops.

Designing these agricultural climate smart solutions required the consideration of several parameters, one being the limited availability of water. Dugwells usually get recharged from ground water, but during dry spells recharge of these wells is affected. With changing rainfall patterns, irrigation to crops using traditional flooding methods has become nearly impossible. There is very little water available when crop water requirement are high and tradeoff is a challenge. Controlling the rate of discharge under these conditions was an important aspect in designing the solar powered dugwell pumps. After several trials, discharge rates of the pumps were determined so that farmers could water their crops throughout the year.

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