Mapping groundwater levels is no longer rocket science or the domain of Babus as the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), an NGO working in across the world, has developed a digital platform that can be used by people with the help of a mobile or a computer to map the groundwater of their area.
The AKAH which is one of the organs of the global NGO Aga Khan Foundation has developed a digital platform that can be used by villagers for better management and conservation of groundwater resources. The Web-GIS-based tool, which includes a mobile application and notification advisory system, integrates real-time primary data, remote-sensed data, and secondary data to map the quantity and quality of water resources.
According to a release of the AKAH on World Water Day, “Users can input data and access analysis for specific watersheds and areas of interest. With up-to-date information on current groundwater levels and quality they can forecast scenarios for future changes to enable informed decision-making.”
On March 22, the World Water Day, AKAH won a Certificate of Recognition as runner-up in the 2021 TERI-IWA-UNDP Water Sustainability Awards for Excellence in Participatory Water Management.
The Water Sustainability Awards evaluate ideas, approaches, and innovations in the water sector in achieving the larger goal of Sustainable Development Goals on greater water-use efficiency and minimizing suffering from water scarcity.
Most arid areas of the world depend entirely on groundwater. It supplies a large proportion of the water used for drinking, sanitation, food production, and industrial processes. Sustainably using it is central to surviving and adapting to climate change.
Tameeza Alibhai, AKAH India CEO said on the importance of the digital tool, “People cannot conserve and manage what they cannot estimate, measure, or understand themselves.
“We believe making data understandable and readily accessible in the public domain builds transparency, accountability and ownership by all stakeholders to better manage and conserve precious water resources. We value the trust and engagement of the communities and volunteers we work with and the support of our local and international donors and partners who believe in our work on water security.”
Anita Miya, Programme Head, Environment Planning, AKAH, who along with Tameeza Alibhai received the award said, “The platform empowers the communities in taking charge of their groundwater and get serious about water scarcity.”
AKAH has been working on water sustainability for more than two decades in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat and its projects have helped in stemming the migration from villages in summers due to drought and water scarcity.
AKAH has introduced the tool – available in English and regional languages – in 78 villages with a population of over 200,000 in four districts of Maharashtra and Gujarat.