Meet Rahul Bakare who is helping drought-prone villages to save 165 crore litres of water
In 2014, Rahul Bakare left the foundation to start his own venture wherein he brought along Vinit Phadnis, a hydrogeology expert for launching Urdhvam Environmental Technologies Pvt Ltd.
Maharashtra has been in a constant state of drought since the year 2012. The region received lower rainfall during the monsoon season June to September 2012, resulting in drought in Maharashtra in 2013. It was one of the worst droughts to hit the state in 40 years. Some villages faced a severe crisis as they fell in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats. The list of villages includes Shelkewadi, Randulabad, Satichiwadi, Muthalane, Phalakewadi, and Thapewadi.
However, these villages have now turned the odds in their favour by becoming water sufficient and creating water management policies that ensured the villagers never faced the same fate again. It was made possible by the Pune-based engineer Rahul Bakare who established the Participatory Groundwater Management Network that helped the villages become drought-free. The engineer has worked across different parts of the country for helping the villages with water security through his innovative, patented and affordable borewell recharge technology called 'BoreCharger.' It is a device that increases groundwater recharge, farm yield, duration of supply and improves water quality considerably.
The 50-year-old engineer had a comfortable salary as he was working in the software industry until 2003, Later in 2009 he came back to India and continued his profession. Though having a luxurious life Rahul was missing out on the mental satisfaction in his life which led him to take a step towards the cause of water security. He focussed on irrigation water security, indebtedness and farmer suicides. To understand these issues the engineer opted for agriculture after completing his post-graduation in IIM Calcutta. He purchased a piece of land to practise agriculture. People who were close to him opposed his decision as Rahul had no experience in farming and it will take him years to understand the farmer's issue and address their problems.
As the luck would have it Rahul got the opportunity to become the Director of Grants at a philanthropic organisation which was launched by Rohini Nilekani, Arghyam Foundation with an aim to establish water security. Also, he had worked on 80 projects across India with several NGOs as stakeholders where they attempted to blend technical knowledge based on scientific data with traditional knowledge of the locals to work on the sustainable solution on water security.
In 2014, Rahul Bakare left the foundation to start his own venture wherein he brought along Vinit Phadnis, a hydrogeology expert for launching Urdhvam Environmental Technologies Pvt Ltd. With the expertise got from the past work they created an innovative machine 'BoreCharger' that would increase the groundwater by recharging the capacity of borewells and improve water quality.
BoreCharger consists of angiography technology that uses underwater camera systems for studying various aquifers underground. After identifying an aquifer the device creates perforations in the casing pipe at hydro-geologically appropriate depths. It uses a patented robotic arm that allows water from the upper aquifer to enter and store in the deeper ones. Also, the technology has an additional benefit where the freshwater from the upper layers enters a saline bottom aquifer that improves the water quality. In this way, the water level increases from 600 feet to 200 feet and even 50 feet. It totally depends on the rain quantity and recharges potential. BoreCharger not only improves the yield of borewells but also increases supply duration by at least two to three months. At present, there are more than 1500 BoreCharger interventions done on the borewells across eight states of India that help to recharge 165 crore litres of water.