Earthen Bunding to harvest Rainwater : A Story of Coimbatore

05 Dec 2019


Coimbatore District is located in the north-western part of Tamil Nadu State. The groundwater was overexploited in 213 out of 228 Gram Panchayats of the district while the remaining 15 were in semi-critical zone. During the last 10 years, the average rainfall in the district declined from 690 mm to 616 mm, which leads to a reduction in the water table and natural resources. An uncertainty in seasonal monsoon reduced water storage in the reservoirs and conventional water bodies with depletion of the water table. This led to scarcity of water for public utilities and irrigation purposes.
Hence, it was proposed to harvest rainwater through earthen bunds in the land belonging to small and marginal farmers under MGNREGS.


“We are getting groundwater, so we expanded the area under irrigation using the groundwater for cultivating the crops”. —Palani Muthu, Beneficiary


The project was implemented by the respective GPs with the technical support of the District Rural Development Agency, Coimbatore at a total cost of Rs. 47 crores during 2017–2019. Initially, the sanction was accorded for the creation of earthen bunds in 376 locations in 228 Gram Panchayats in the district, which was later extended to all the blocks in the district. In all, 7,174 earthen bunding projects were approved by the District Rural Development Agency for small and marginal farmers.
Initially, the farmers were not willing to take up earthen bunding work on their small pieces of lands. However, through extensive deliberations in Gram Sabha in the Village Panchayat, all the marginal and small farmers were convinced and motivated to take up this project in their lands.


The project has been implemented on the land of 7,550 farmers covering an area of 24,160 acres since 2017–2018 Approximately, 6,764 crore litres (2.4 TMC) of water is reportedly accumulating every year, which helps in the recharge of the aquifer. After the implementation of the earthen bunding project, the groundwater table in Coimbatore District has also risen considerably. As per the State Government’s reports, the groundwater levels have been recorded at depths of 29.76 m, 22.31 m and 17.62 m during the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. The data show that there is a considerable increase in the groundwater level.

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