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Salinity moderating
and proofing of coastal aquifers



Working for the last one decade in water management issues in the UNESCO endorsed Auroville Bioregion, an area covering 1400 sq km on the Kaluvelly watershed, Auroville Water Harvest inaugurated the “Salinity Moderating and Proofing of Coastal Aquifers” a 3 year integrated development project for villages in Vanur Taluk, in Kodur village on 15th February 2006.

The development of the mini watershed is based on an integrated approach, which comprises water, land, ecology, sanitation livestock and people. The villages covered under this project are Anpakkam, Kaluperumpakkam, Olundiapet, Kodur, Vilvanatham, Rayaottai and Rayapudupakkam. The major objective of the research cum action project is to fight saline water intrusion and to sustain all water resources with active participation of users and stakeholders.


This project is mainly funded by Fondation Ensemble, France, co funded by organisations in Germany and the Indian government.

•  Fondation Ensemble - main Financial Partner : 67 % of the budget

•  Beneficiaries -field work and financial partners : 7 %

•  City of Hilden , Germany - infrastructure for groundwater supplementation along the coast and financial partner : 8 %

•  Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungshilfe - the pilot program on sanitation and financial partner: 2 %


Since 1995, salty water intrusion is monitored in the coastal aquifers, which is the consequence of over-pumping of ground water and the decay of the monsoon harvesting tanks.

Kodur and the surrounding villages show a high increase of salinity in their ground water and simultaneously degradation in the tanks and ponds. With the active participation of various stakeholders and community, these surface water structures will be rehabilitated under the project through the formation of Water User's Associations. Physical work like desilting ponds, clearing irrigation channels, building check dams, rehabilitating tanks will take place. This will be planned and implemented with the communities. Taking cognizance of the Millennium Development Goals, sanitation is an important and integrated component of the project along with activities for women's empowerment. Agricultural development activities like organic farming, crop and water management and demonstration plots and land development activities are a big component in the project.
The research component focuses on ground water monitoring, surface water monitoring, meteorology data collection, water and soil quality analysis which will help in analyzing the impact of salinity on the groundwater and locate more solutions for the same. Recharge structures along the coast will be constructed to prevent soil erosion and help in increase recharge capacity of the water table.


The inaugural ceremony on the 15 th of February 2006 was presided over by Mr R.Varadharajan, Regional Director (i/c) CGWB-SECR, Chennai and the Chief Guest was Mr J.Sampath, Project Officer, DRDA, Villupuram. The Project Officer of the District Rural Development Agency, Mr J Sampath launched this project in one of the operational villages, Kodur. There was an exhibition with posters on the various components of the projects and the critical situation of ground water in the area.


The main objectives of the project are:


Institutional building

To create village level local institutions (Water Users Associations) and framework involving all the beneficiaries of the watershed development project to manage and maintain the existing surface water bodies in the village.


Capacity building

To train the members of Water User Association and farmers in management of water tanks, improved organic agricultural practices, equity in water distribution and basic agricultural meteorology of the region and to correlate the same with irrigation water management.


Quality of life

To improve sanitation facilities in the villages in order to reduce water borne diseases.

To create awareness among the public about safe drinking water and sanitation practices.


Surface water management

To increase rainwater harvest ing capacities and improve groundwater recharge by rehabilitating the storage reservoirs such as tanks and ponds.


Natural resource management

To create awareness among the various users of land and water about the ill effects of poor management of natural resources and the necessity of conservation of the resources.

To test the quality of the soil periodically and to introduce soil fertility cards to the farmers.


Groundwater recharge

To develop groundwater recharge by creating appropriate structures along the waterways and in the fields.


Hydro meteorological management

To create a Hydro meteorological data collection framework through weather stations and to train the people in assessing the water balance of their own area.

To monitor specific water data in order to assess the evolution of the water availability and quality in the region.


Appropriate agriculture

To establish integrated organic farming demonstration plots in order to increase the overall income of the farm and improve the impact on the environment.



To conduct research on the impact of rehabilitated structures, best agricultural practices and valorisation of natural resources in a sustainable way on groundwater recharge, groundwater and surface water quality and soil fertility.


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