Farmers plant saplings in their paddy field on the outskirts of Jammu July 6, 2009. India will boost spending on irrigation and roll out more jobs and loans for farmers to spur the rural economy and lift farm sector growth to 4 percent, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta (INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR POLITICS BUSINESS AGRICULTURE) - RTR25D8S
A newly developed mobile application can come to the aid of experts looking to source data on groundwater level and create awareness about the issue among farmers.
Data for the software programme, MyWell App, has been provided by a network of village-level volunteers.
The smartphone and SMS-based app collects and analyses data related to depth of well water in a given village, amount of rainfall there, level of check dam water and quality of water, among others.
The app has been developed as part of a project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research called MARVI or Managing Groundwater Use and Sustaining Aquifer Recharge through Village-level Interventions.
"In the last five years, the MARVI project has covered 11 villages in Meghraj watershed area in Gujarat and Dharta watershed area in Rajasthan.
"It has created a team of volunteers in each village whom we call 'bhujal jankaars' (or groundwater informed volunteers)," said Basant Maheshwari, an expert on groundwater management from the Western Sydney University, who is a partner in the project.
"These bhujal jankaars monitor groundwater level in their villages and provide regular data for the app, which is uploaded on the mobile application for all to see," he said.
The app currently covers details of five villages in Rajasthan and six in Gujarat which are facing the problem of groundwater depletion.
Real-time data on groundwater level is vital for regulating its use for farming, Maheshwari said.
The app will be scaled up to include more number of villages and additional features like photographs and choice of local languages in times to come.
The data provided for the application is critical to building an understanding on groundwater levels and their fluctuations during the monsoon and other seasons.
Maheshwari and other experts are here to participate in a workshop on MARVI.
The project started in February 2012 with funding from the Australian government and includes seven core partners and two associate partners.