Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

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Savitribai Phule Pune University Rejuvenates British-Era Pond to Store Rainwater

A defunct pond for years now, Hatti Haud will be operational from June onwards.

Representational image. Photo credit: Pixahive

The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), jointly with Karve Institute of Social Service, has revitalised a British-era pond on its premises to collect rainwater. A defunct pond for years now, Hatti Haud will be operational from June onwards.

The revival mission of the pond began in 2019, but faced hurdles due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It led to the target of completion from 2021 to this year.

Hatti Haud, located behind the Centre for Modeling and Simulation department of SPPU, was built by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule as part of building a ‘bund’, say old records. The reservoir was used by British officers for their elephants and horses. However, before 2019, the 30-metre-long pond had piled with construction debris and waste.

“I realised that there is no proper rainwater management system in the city. I conceptualised and designed the project to rejuvenate the pond and sent a proposal to the university,” said a news report quoting Dr (Professor) Mahesh Thakur, director of the corporate social responsibility cell at the Karve Institute of Social Service.

The design for the land was finalised after a thorough scientific survey. The team used environment-friendly construction materials. “In place of cement, only stones were used,” said SPPU Registrar Dr Prafulla Pawar.

The funding for the entire project was aided by Cummins India Foundation through their community care initiative. The department of environmental science and estate department of Pune university assisted the Karve institute with handling of the project.

The pond could earlier hold only two lakh litre of water. Today, it can hold approximately 87 lakh litre of rainwater, informed the team, which is also building a smaller replica of the pond with a capacity of 22 lakh to store the water spilling from the elephant pond.

The rainwater harvested during the monsoon months June onwards will be supplied to the entire university campus. It will not only reduce varsity’s dependency on municipal water supply, but also water the green space in the premises.

An important feature under development at the SPPU campus is the Nakshatra forest. The half-acre forest is located behind the Centre for Modelling and Simulation department of the SPPU. Located adjacent to the Hatti Haud, this forest is inspired by a sacred grove in Karnataka. It has 27 plants, with each plant associated with one zodiac sign of Indian astrology.

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