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SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION

Dr. Nagaraj Sitaram
Professor Civil Engg. Dept.
SET, JU, Bangalore
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ABSTRACT:

The growing population in our country is posing a serious threat on the
available soil and water resource.
water is well documented.

The growing scarcity of fertile soil and

It demands to take-up proper conservation

practices for conserving the available resources.

The water and soil

conservation practices should always form an integral part of management of
soil and fresh water resources. This paper discusses the main causes and
suggests remedial measures to protect soil erosion and water depletion in the
Country.
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INTRODUCTION:

Air, water, soil and plants are the Gifts of God. Human kind cannot think of

Fig.1 - Nature,Man kind & Animals
their survival without any one of these. We are blessed with all the resources
in plenty of amount but our misuse and carelessness can change the
situation. We should conserve these gifts for

generations to come (Fig. 1).

Conservation of soil and water is one of the prime challenges in Civil
Engineering. Human kind is suffering a lot due to loss of water and soil in
terms of loss of agricultural production and scarcity of water. Hence it is the
duty of Civil Engineers to save the nature from the blink of extinction. About
45% of the land available in the country is brought under cultivation. This

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navigation begins to suffer. d) Huge quantities of soil fill up the rivers. The techniques for soil and water conservation have to be dealt together because these methods are of similar in nature. we are far behind than the developed countries. Over grazing of pastures can also accelerate the soil erosion. which acts like a blanket for soil. which carries-away the grains of sand. The raindrops cause rain to splash and produce fluid force.2 Soil Erosion due to Wind Motion soil from one place to another. Bad farming practices also increases the soil losses which in turn initiate chain reaction of events leading to more water and soil loss. The main impacts of soil erosion are listed below: a) Decline in crop yield b) The fertility of soil is reduced c) The soil that was once a natural resource for the farmers becomes mud and silt after soil degradation. The main reason for all sorts of erosion is lack of vegetation. silt and clay down the hill slopes. Wind movements also add to causes of soil erosion as shown in Fig.proportion seems to be higher when compared to neighbouring Countries. 3. thus reducing the carrying capacity of water. The very high increase in population has triggered the need for more food production and settlement. But in terms of total agricultural production.2. 2 . The main reason behind this is due to improper usage of land and wrong agricultural practices. e) As rivers silt up. A heavy wind transports tons of Fig.0 SOIL EROSION AND WATER WASTAGE: Soil Erosion starts with the direct impact of raindrop on the topsoil. which needs to be met without affecting the ecological balance of the earth.

In household usage water wastage can be in many ways like leaking of faucets. The cropland becomes pastures. The Cities and low-lying plains begin to suffer from the downstream effects of soil erosion. flood control and hydroelectric schemes may be wrecked. toilets. 3). railway traffic jams because of landslides. As soil erosion progresses. g) Reservoirs designed to last many decades may be filled up with silt in a short time than the designed period. i) Costly irrigation.f) In rainy season the damage can be manifolds due to road. The adverse effects of wastage of water are listed below:     Affects agriculture production due to scarcity of water Human life would be affected. gullies get deepened (Fig. j) The economic result of downstream erosion is a rise in the cost of energy. hoses etc.3 Soil Erosion in a Valley Due to Rainfall & Wind 3 . Water wastage can start from household industries and agricultural lands. etc. showerheads. Industries and factories may close due to shortage of water The economy will be brought down due to all these reasons Fig. pastures burn easily and the land becomes a wasteland. if supply of water is less or polluted in the urban cities. Many parts of the country are hit by drought due to insufficient rainfall. h) The chances for floods are more as the rivers flow out of their usual courses. In industries water wastage normally cause water pollution in the nearby water bodies. water food and goods.

the other part faces drought situation.0 SOIL CONSERVATION: 4. This results in social unrest and political discontent. 4. hence food shortage affects these plans. The exact amount of wasteland in India is not known. But dependable sources claim that about 80% of this wasteland can be reclaimed and put under proper usage. when one part of the country suffers from floods. The life in rural population becomes more difficult and people migrate to urban areas for employment. In India there are hundred of rivers flowing East and West dumping gallons of pure water and tons of soil into the ocean. Such adverse conditions has to be noticed and measures should be taken to stop it. loss in agricultural production and decrease in revenue means more food shortages. A water conservation practice becomes a hot topic of discussion at the time of drought. Our country has diverse climate.1 Basic Requirements of Design Technique: 4 Fig. Water along with soil is the most important material needs to be conserved. So proper conservation methods should be deployed to restore this land to become fertile land. In this regard inter water transfer through river basins may also improve water shortage. Proper methods are needed to conserve/distribute water without affecting the soil of the land. Since the developmental plans are dependent on the agricultural sector.5 Effect of Grazing on Soil Erosion rate .2.0 NEED FOR CONSERVATION OF SOIL AND WATER: In an agriculturally inclined country like India.

Controlling Overgrazing: The lack of fodder results in overgrazing (Fig. economic survey alongwith social factors. 5).Reconnaissance on the land usage pattern Methods : Fig. The accompanying Fig. Vegetation cover . It also holds up the soil and prevents its erosion also. To store water in Ponds and wells and its proper usage. Economic and Social factors .Survey of livestock population and stock of grazing area in the region. Land usage . The roots of the tree reduce the heavy rush of water in terrain thus reducing the rate of erosion of soil. The trees also reduce the intensities of wind and hence reduce its capacity to carry the soil along with it. The livestock should be spread to other pasturelands to reduce the overgrazing of a certain region.To study the flow of excess water. 5 .A study of flora and fauna of the region Animal grazing .Population survey. 4 explains how tree roots conserve the soil and water. .2  A study of an ecology and rainfall distribution in the area . (The impact of rain drop is reduced due to vegetation). Trees help a lot in the field of soil conservation.     4. To stop this grazing land should be sort out and the number of livestock should be properly surveyed.4 Effects of Vegetation on Soil Erosion rate 1) 2) Afforestation: The first and foremost method that can stop soil erosion is afforestation. To plan measures to prevent floods and droughts.

3) Construction of Gabion dams: The clayey soil shrinks in dry season and expands in the wet season. 6. Thus these soils are more proven for erosion. The various types of dams are shown in the Fig. Such dams have shown very good results in many parts of our country. as it is washed away more easily with water than other type of soil particularly in the rainy season.6 Various types of Gabion Dam 6 . Fig. Various techniques are used for the construction of these dams. To stop this construction of Gabion dams is recommended.

For terrain with gradient up to 1%.4) Other structural methods for soil conservation: (Fig. Terracing method . Series of dams . These check dams once constructed should also be maintained properly for long term usage. The construction methods of these dams are shown in figures. There are many ways of water conservation methods which are 7 .Normally recommended for terrain with 1 to 6% Gradient. To stop the heavy flow of water and soil. dams are constructed using boulders and earth so that soil in terrains are not washed out into the valleys.7 Check dams and Series of dams Contour dams . In terrains the main reason for soil erosion is the heavy gushing of water from the top soil causing sheet erosion and gully erosion. 7) Fig.0 WATER CONSERVATION: Water conservation is designed as any beneficial reduction in water use or in water losses.Small dams with spillways These construction methods help very much in soil conservation.Earthen dams with channel spillways Check dams . 5.For slopes with more than 10% gradient Stream Bunding.

State. Sometime recycling and reuse of water alongwith the reallocation of fresh water resource are of great use and highly effective. local Govt. agricultural sectors) – System operators (Municipal. The water conservation practices are generally technical or of regulatory type. investment in appliances. waste reduction. devices.). It can be done by replacement of existing plumbing equipment with equipment that consumes less water. industrial. processes and technologies that reduce water input. Such practices include leak detection. Installing indoor plumbing fixtures that save the water carries out an engineering practice for individual residential water user.highly effective for water saving. without reducing consumer satisfaction and output. Other potential areas of saving are optional. which are simple and most economical. Among these “Water Saving Devices” are more popular in domestic and commercial fixtures. Flow plumbing fixtures and retrofit programs are permanent and one time conservation measures which can be implemented automatically with little or no additional costs over life time. 6. The Engineering practices for water conservation are aimed to reduce the water input. etc.0 URBAN WATER CONSERVATION: Approximately 50% of urban water are for interior use. Table 1: Potential Residential Interior Water Savings Feature Water Saving as a % of interior use 8 . These user groups can adopt various methods. These practices are based on modification to hardware and water supply operational procedures. The Table-1 lists the possible water savings and their percentage reduction. practices. Water Management can be divided into two basic groups – System users (house hold. which can promote or enhance the efficiency of their use and work towards better water management.

Water reuse is the use of wastewater or reclaimed water from one application such as municipal wastewater treatment for another application such as landscape watering. and fire protection etc. The factors. 9 . This method has already received a great amount of attention by industries and in controlling the quantity waste discharges.For Newly Constructed Houses: Low flush toilets Low flow shower heads Low flow kitchen and lavatories faucets Pressure reducing valves Insulated hot water lines Low water using cloth washers Low water using dish washer For Existing Houses: Plastic bottles or water dams in toilet reservoir Replace showerheads with low flow variety or install flow Restrictors. 8.0 WATER REUSE AND RECYCLING: Water recycling is the reuse of water for the same application for which it was originally used. In the industrial sector. aesthetic uses such as fountains. Place low flow aerators in kitchen and lavatory faucets or Replace entire unit. The reused water must be used for beneficial purpose and in accordance with applicable rules (such as local ordinances governing water reuse). the savings are achieved through recycling of water. are listed below: a) b) Identification of water reuse opportunities Determination of the minimum water quality needed for a given Industrial process. This also helps to avoid penalties levied onto them by the Govt. Pressure reducing valves Insulated hot-water lines 7. Some potential applications for the reuse of wastewater (or reclaimed water) include industrial usage. Recycled water might require treatment before it can be used again.0 18 12 2 5 4 5 4 18 12 2 5 1 INDUSTRIAL/COMMERCIAL USERS: Various Industrial house and commercial users can implement conservation practices for water conservation. landscape irrigation. Pollution authorities for contributing to the water pollution. which are considered for industrial water reuse program.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of establishing water reuse program is their contribution in delaying or eliminating the need to expand potable water supply and treatment facilities. Determination of mode of water transport for new usage. distribute water more efficiently across the field. The information helps in making decisions about scheduling applications or improving the efficiency of the irrigation system. Because system modifications require the purchase of equipment. Field practices are techniques that keep water in the field. 8. 8.2. Management strategies involve monitoring of soil and water conditions and collecting information on water use and effectively.2 Users Practices for Agricultural: 8. which can be used for more effective of water by using landscape irrigation. field Practices.2. management strategies and system modifications.1 Cooling Water Re-circulation: The reuse of water in cooling towers of industrial applications represents one of the largest water usages. deep root systems and by maintaining irrigation equipments and 10 . including design of landscapes for low maintenance. By using water efficient irrigation equipments like drip systems. The recycling water with a recalculating cooling system can greatly reduce water use by using the same water to perform several cooling operations. The reuse of wastewater or reclaimed water is beneficial because it reduces the demands on available surface and ground waters. 8. The water savings are substantial to result in reduction of overall cost savings to the concerned industry. System modifications require making changes to an existing irrigation system or replacing an existing system with a new one.c) d) Identification of wastewater sources that satisfy the water quality requirements as per State Pollution Control Board.1 Irrigation: Water-saving in irrigation practices fall into three categories. they are usually more expensive than field practices and management strategies.2 Landscape Irrigation: There are several general ways. or encourage the retention of soil moisture.

All along the compound wall with number of pits of 2m to 3m depths and 1m diameters. In general trenches are recommended with a minimum width of 0.scheduling of irrigation to give maximum crop yield.  Utilisation of dried up well. Depending upon size and configuration of the plot area. utilizing the rooftop water. hilly. In alluvial areas energy saving for 1meter rise in ground water level is around 0. but also helps in restoring the local ground water availability. the dimension and location of the trenches and pits are to be planned. Different structure can be adopted for ground water recharge. Capturing and storing rainwater for use is particularly important in dry land. and if These implemented methods in good are less expensive spirit by each and very house or housing project. Now a days acute shortage of water has encouraged even Rain water harnessing. 11 . Availability of rainwater from rooftops is so high in the urban areas and if properly diverted and used artificial recharge not only increase the groundwater availability but also help in reducing water scarcity problem of cities and towns. 8. This cost effective process not only save the precious rainwater going as a waste.40 kilowatt per hour. Commonly run off water from rooftops are let off into drains. Dried well can be utilize as recharge wells by connecting them to water outlet pipes through rooftops. urban and coastal area. will help in augmenting the groundwater availability of the area. 8 Example of Rainwater Harvesting through storage in tanks.5 meters. Harvested rainfall can be stored in sub surface ground water reservoir by adapting artificial recharge techniques to meet the household needs Fig. to serve as effective recharge points.8) from roof catchments and stored in reservoirs. The combination of trenches and pit recharge is better for more groundwater recharge.3 Rooftop Water Collections and Recharge: This is one of the techniques through which rainwater is captured (fig. The main objective of rooftop rainwater harvesting is to make water available for future use. instead of this the outlet can be connected through pipe to a storage tank and let into gravel filled trenches. pits or existing open wells/bore wells etc.

gravel and sand for better percolation. The top sand layer needs to be cleared and re-laid once in two years to remove settled silts for restoring the percolation. Pits are dug deeper and away from building foundations. Apart from this a longitude trench of 1. The shaft may be cased or uncased on the top. relatively high rate of recharge and utilizing of groundwater during non rainy days. The main advantage of direct injection of rooftop run off water are harvesting more rooftop rainwater. gravel and sand in order to store excess run off water during rainy days that will eventually percolate.  Centralised percolation through pits. These wells can be used both as production wells and recharge wells. It involves direct discharge of rainwater through a setting sump to the underground waterbed. The topsoil may be loosened before monsoon. The run off water from rooftops can be diverted into bare soil or garden in the premises of household.  Recharge through Shafts - This is recommended for steep slope areas. length of 2meters and depth of 10 to 15 meters preferably terminating above the aquifer (waterbed) level.5 meter depth with a width of 0. pits with 1meter diameters and 2 to 3meters depth are recommended. where the soil is more previous. This method applicable to houses having large open areas. but are back with filled with permeable soil. The shafts are deep pits with a width of 1meter. for batter recharge. The pits may be back filled with permeable material like pebbles. which facilitates more effective and faster percolation and mitigation of biological and chemical pollution.5 to 1 meter may be dug and filled with well rounded pebbles. The combination of water spreading and pit recharge is better for more groundwater recharge.  Recharge through wells. 12 . Commonly. Decentralised percolation through water spreading and longitudinal trenches.0 to 1.

In addition to the run off from rooftop. to avoid possible turbidity. The storm run off generated within an area can be utilised for groundwater recharging by diverting it into suitably designed structures near pavements. play grounds. Typical Filter Units and Recharge Well/Shaft: Direct recharge of the aquifer through open wells will be an easier and less expensive process in the shallow aquifer region.5. Industries government organisation can implement multiit. parking lots. The rooftop run off water can be directed into open wells through pipes and settling pit. The rainwater. municipal parks. as they depend mostly upon groundwater sources for all-purpose. stadiums. Storm Run-off Collection and Recharge: The problem of storm run off and ground water depletion in the city can best be tackled together by harvesting the storm run off for artificially recharge of ground water reserves. and earmarking some open spaces exclusively for 13 . The bore wells used for with drawl of groundwater can also be used for recharge with a valve control between the storage tank/settling pits and bore well.8. less expensive but more effective. 8. can be used directly for washing purposes and for storing the water temporarily in This method is storied buildings and settling sumps for later use. from the rooftops.4. airports etc. part of the run off from paved and other open area can also be diverted to the recharge pits/trenches.

energy.the purpose. 9. It is an important ingredient in all of the major challenges we face – production of food and fibre. pollution control. The design of recharge structure should involve construction of sufficient numbers of recharge pits and trenches filled with gravel. The location of these recharge structures should near to the places where storm run off is collected. coastal soil erosion. transportation and environmental quality. The growing scarcity of water and fertile land is discussed in detail.0 CONCLUSIONS: Water and soil are essential natural resource. Water and soil conservation measures. have to play a key element in addressing these demands. Our ingenuity and skills will be tested to find ways to satisfy the increasing demand for fertile land and fresh water resources. 14 . landslides. which are discussed in the paper. posing problem for traffic and disposal.