- What is new in this UTFI project?
UTFI represents a new management and mitigation approach that has the capacity to reduce vulnerability and risks. The novel aspects of the approach include the strategic operation of recharge structures and the creation of linkages between communities in urban centres and those in rural areas upstream. Whilst the technical components of UTFI are not necessarily new, the integrated approach and the proposed mode of operation is. To our knowledge this has yet to be put into mainstream practice at scale anywhere in the world. Although firmly grounded in South Asia, there are opportunities to extend the research into other regions in future.
- Would our UTFI pilot compete with agriculture for Canal water during dry season?
No, UTFI pilot is meant only for recharge during the wet season using canal water. On the other hand, the team hopes that it would help boost irrigation since farmers would be able to access groundwater at a higher level bringing down their energy costs.
- How are we involving local communities in the UTFI project pilot in India?
Community engagement is an important aspect of this project and steps have been taken right from the beginning to involve the local people. Starting from the field mission to choose the suitable site for demonstration, the team met and discussed with village Pradhan (Village Head), owner of the ponds and other local leaders of the village about UTFI piloting and ascertained their willingness and support for the project activities. Before beginning implementation of the pilot trial by renovating the pond, the team had a meeting with the village community explaining the concept of the project and the benefits that the village will receive. Simple and easy to read communication material like brochure were prepared in English as well as in Hindi and was provided to the local people to better explain the project. A village resolution was also prepared which was signed by the village community including Gram Pradhan (village head) and members of the Panchayat (elected village body) to show their support and understanding.
- Which places would be suitable for the UTFI approach and what are the key requirements?
UTFI is suitable for humid regions including the tropics and semi-arid tropics. Key requirements include regular seasonal flooding affecting high valued land uses (e.g. urban/ industry), intensive Groundwater use from surficial aquifers, land for storage or recharge and regions where local participation is possible.
- Is this a traditional form of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)?
No. The UTFI concept is unique when applied at the scale which is being proposed and trialed.