A WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE
Since 2006, Pravah has been served by a wastewater infrastructure system called the 'Purandar Irrigation Scheme'. A series of pumping houses and pipelines transport wastewater from the Mula-Mutha River flowing through the city of Pune to nearby villages. Pravah is one such village reached by the infrastructure.
From Pune, wastewater is lifted and pumped through a series of pipes and canals until it reaches Pravah, where it is released through outlet points at various locations. Interestingly, farmers have tinkered this infrastructure -attaching pipelines and extensions to the outlet constructed by the government to transport water directly to their farms. They use this water for cultivation during the summer, submitting water demands to government officers and paying accordingly.
The scheme represents the efforts of the Government of Maharashtra to address water scarcity in drought-prone areas without compromising on water availability elsewhere. It also aims to increase agriculture efficiency, encouraging farmers to shift from traditional rain-fed crops to commercial cash crops. In Pravah, farmers have specialized in flower cultivation, which are sold at the Pune markets, especially around Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
The Mula-Mutha River in Pune...
...where the scheme starts, the river appears unclean and highly contaminated.
From Pune, a series of pump systems lift and channel the water...
Following the wastewater infrastructure...
...until it reaches the highest point along the infrastructure.
After being lifted, the wastewater starts flowing to the villages channelled through open canals.
When the wastewater reaches Pravah, it is stored in wells and ponds before being used to irrigate
Everyday socio-technological engagements
Water infrastructures and technologies shape complex waterscapes. Waterscapes emerge as entanglements of ecological, socio-economic and political configurations, which interact and shape one another.
Although often designed 'from above' to facilitate political agendas and discourses of development, water infrastructures can only work if people actively engage with them, materially and politically, re-arranging their configurations in order to make them work for their purposes.
This is also the case in Pravah, where the 'wastewaterscape' created by this irrigation scheme only works because farmers 'tinker' with it, re- shaping and diverting its flow to match their needs. For example, while the outlets do not reach all farms directly, some have constructed systems of piped extension to reconfigure the designed infrastructure.