A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and global water technology company VA Tech WABAG Ltd, Chennai on September 19, 2017. This is to facilitate water for farming in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu for one year. S Varadarajan, Director and Chief Growth Officer, WABAG and Dr V Selvam, Executive Director, MSSRF signed the agreement in presence of Prof M S Swaminathan.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Swaminathan said this was an important agreement on the subject of water. “Ground water management holds the key to the dealing with the looming water crisis. We are a small institution and Wabag is a large entity. But small and large have come together with a common purpose on ground water restoration”, he said.
Mr Varadarajan, spoke of how water was a huge area of stress. “Agriculture uses about 75% of water and contributes about 15% to our GDP. We are hoping to improve this ratio with efficient water usage processes and help fallow lands become productive through our CSR”, he noted.
Dr V Selvam, emphasized the importance of scientific water management in water. “We are looking at converting at least two sub-basins into water surplus areas. We need partners to support these kinds of initiatives and happy that WABAG is interested in supporting water for agriculture”, he pointed out.
WABAG and MSSRF had facilitated rejuvenation of wells for farming in about 160 acres of land in Villupuram in 2015. While open wells are common for irrigation in this region, more than 65% of wells were degraded. These wells were renovated with the support of the MNC and with MSSRF’s technical inputs and facilitation on the field, leading to increased land under cultivation, enhanced production of crops and a revolving fund for farmers for additional support.
The new MoU will provide additional support of Rs 62 lakhs, which will be used for micro-irrigation technologies, as well as for rejuvenating defunct wells in the region. An expected output is to bring increased land under cultivation of pulses and oilseeds with micro irrigation systems and rejuvenating open wells with appropriate ground water recharge technologies.