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Pond renovation, bund and shutter construction – Improving water storage and supply in the village of Kadapakkam, India

Submitted by Sibylle Kabisch 24th April 2014 9:52


Kadapakkam's renovated pond and bund construction

The village of Kadapakkam with its 600 inhabitants is located around 4 km from the coastline of the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. The village’s main pond was used for irrigation and recharge of groundwater. But the community faced a severe shortage of water for much of the year as the pond as well as the groundwater showed high levels of salinity. The pond is flooded during rainy season and falls dry in summer. Every day, from 4-6 pm water for drinking was pumped up from a borehole to the overhead tank, which was recharged mainly through the pond. The water turned saline in spring 2012 and it could no longer be used for drinking purposes. Climate change with its projected increase in temperatures, a higher frequency of droughts and more extreme weather events such as backwater floods could render these challenges even more pressing in the future.

Supported by the EU-financed “AdaptCap” project, the people of Kadapakkam addressed these problems by excavating, renovating and deepening the pond by 2 m. Thus, the pond now cuts through a layer of sand, which absorbs more water during the rainy season. It also acts as a filter and improves the quality of the ground water, reducing the salinity level. Constructing a bund as well as shutters prevents sea water from flooding land and canals, decreasing further salinisation of soil, surface and ground water. Overall 140 families benefit from being able to access a more reliable and better quality water supply. This adaptation measure has resulted in:

  • Additional water storage capacities: Deepened pond reaches sandy layer absorbing more water during rainy season and throughout the year, therefore 18 hand pumps pumping ground water now provide saline free drinking water
  • Prevent salinisation: Shutters stop backwater flow into pond, decreasing flooding and subsequent salinisation of water and land

Implementation costs

The overall costs of this measure – including a local vulnerability and needs assessment, capacity building measures in the community, technical support as well as material and labour costs – amounted to Rs. 827,140. Of these, Rs. 767,140 were borne by AdaptCap while the community contributed Rs. 60,000.

Operation & maintenance of the system

In order to remain operative in the long run, several parts of the system require regular operation and maintenance (O&M). Regular O&M activities include:

  • Ensuring that the pond, bund and shutters are fully intact
  • Strengthening the bund and taking care of grass cover around bund to stabilise bund
  • Repairing the bund and shutter, as required

The community has distributed the responsibilities and time frames for O&M activities among their members. The Village Development Committee (VDC) and the farmer’s community regularly carry out O&M tasks. This way practically all maintenance activities are implemented by the community itself. The average monthly O&M costs amount to Rs. 2,750. A monthly contribution fee is collected from all the beneficiaries in the village and the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme is tapped for renovation works, assisted by the Panchayat.

M&E of activities and benefits

A monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system was developed to regularly screen and assess the adaptation project’s sustainability and impact. Information is collected in four areas:

  • Effectively achieved vulnerability reduction
  • Acceptance by and technical feasibility for the community
  • Cost for implementation and regular O&M
  • Positive and negative side effects (i.e., environmental, social, economic)

 Challenges and lessons learnt

  • Ensure a strong buy-in by community for adaptation measure to allow for an efficient and sustainable implementation.
  • Renovation and repair works to excavate and deepen the pond and build bund and shutters should not be done during rainy season as heavy rain events damage measures under construction and delay finish. The time schedule needs to be designed keeping this in mind.
  • In the case of severe flooding, fully protecting the pond from inflow of sea water still remains a challenge.


Bund construction

Project background and partners

The project “AdaptCap – Strengthening Adaptation Capacities and Minimizing Risks of Vulnerable Coastal Communities in India” financed by the European Commission has set out to strengthen the adaptation capacities of vulnerable coastal communities in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu (India) and minimize their climate change-related risks using an integrated approach.

The three-year initiative is implemented by the Indo-German Environment Partnership Programme of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ-IGEP) in partnership with four Indian and international partners.

GIZ-IGEP is responsible for the overall implementation and project management.

AVVAI Village Welfare Society (AVVAI) supports the stakeholders in three cities and nine villages in Tamil Nadu as a local partner, providing training and implementation support in assessing adaptation needs and developing and carrying out adaptation measures.

Academy of Gandhian Studies (AGS) fulfills the same role in Andhra Pradesh.

adelphi contributed to developing technology solutions for the pilot projects and M&E frameworks, designing and implementing capacity building programmes and providing technical support for pilot project implementation.

ICLEI South Asia led the implementation of activities in the six urban areas targeted by AdaptCap.