Two solar-powered deep water pumping systems have been installed at Bandipur Tiger Reserve by the WWF-India in collaboration with the Forest Department in a bid to ease water scarcity for the wild animals during summer.
They have been installed at Omkara and Kundukere ranges of the national park where vegetation is dry deciduous. These ranges are the epicentre of human-elephant conflicts. “These installations are not only innovative, clean and use renewable energy, but also an excellent example in habitat management following sound scientific technology,” stated WWF-India in a press release. WWF-India State director Hari Somashekar said they realised the need for it while observing the ground realities and suggested the idea of solar deep water pumping system to the Forest Department.
WWF-India said the pump delivers water directly to the waterhole and the solar pump works six-seven hours per day depending on the availability of sunlight. The pump has a capacity of supplying 50,000 litres of water per day and the overflow from the waterhole is discharged to tanks in the downstream through gravity flow. In all, 17 solar panels of 300 Watts have been installed. The authorities are impressed with the outcome and have observed the congregation of wild animals at the water holes.
Chief Conservation of Forests Heeralal, who is also the director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, said of the 300 tanks or waterholes, 180 have already dried up and the animals were searching for water, and straying out into human habitations. The need for a solution was imperative and the solar deep water pump has addressed the problem, he said.
Local officials say there was water scarcity in the range and the animals were finding it extremely difficult to sustain, especially in the Omkara range, which has no water source and the forests are fast drying up. This project has shown excellent results so far and wild animals such as tigers, elephants, spotted deer are sighted near these holes now, say the officials.
The installation of pumps, it is reckoned, will help reduce conflict situations.