As the summer sun blazes away mercilessly, it is not just humans who need our thirst quenched. Birds and animals also have to keep themselves hydrated in this seemingly endless summer. While individuals and institutions are implementing ways to tackle water scarcity, Bandipur National Park in Karnataka has been using an eco-friendly alternative to keep animals in the park hydrated.
For the past two years, the park has been using solar energy to pump water, and with its help, the Forest Department has powered 45 ponds and lakes. The solar energy setup generates about five kilowatts of energy and pumps almost 30,000 litres of water every day.
Talking about the pumps, M.S. Ravikumar, Assistant Conservator of Forests, told NDTV,
The pumps are installed next to water bodies like lakes and ponds. The solar pumps aid in supplying water straight into these water bodies. These waterholes have emerged as the lifeline to animals and are constantly visited by animals in the area. This proves the success of this initiative. We have observed herds of animals, from deers to elephants and tigers, crowding these lakes and ponds. It is great to see the animals congregate around waterholes.
Spread over an area of 1,020 sq km, the tiger reserve comprises 85 lakes, which have enough water. Since a couple of years, borewells have been dug near the water bodies, and have been fitted with less noisy solar water pumps.
The Bandipur Tiger Reserve took these initiatives due to the wildfires that had dried up the existing water reserves. The fire in 2016 had caused a major loss of existing water bodies, asover 373 waterholes in the forest dried up due to intense heat. Now, the Forest Department is aiming to connect all waterholes with solar pumps. This would lead to a surplus supply of water for the animals.
A Forest Department official told Deccan Herald,
Out of a total of 373 water bodies, including lakes and ponds, 290 have dried up this year under the reserve. However, solar-powered pumps have been installed near 48 ponds to fill them with groundwater. Besides, check-dams to increase groundwater levels.