The following are drought-prone areas with average annual rainfall as low as 250 mm (national average is 1,200 mm) which once had no water for drinking or irrigation, no fodder for cattle, no employment, drudgery for women fetching water from long distances, no food security and high rates of migration. Read how RWH has transformed them into prosperous villages, with adequate employment, irrigation and drinking water through consecutive years of drought, multifold increase in agricultural productivity and incomes.
Alwar, Rajasthan (Average annual rainfall: less than 450 mm)
Arvari, a monsoonal stream has been made a perennial river. A forest has been created. 1058 villages have been made drought and flood free. Government has changed records of Alwar as a “dark zone” (water-deficit zone) to a “white zone”. Water is available for drinking and irrigation after three years of no rains.
Maharashtra (less than 300 mm)
Irrigation has increased from 80 – 1,200 acres, producing three crops a year worth Rs. 60 lakhs. The girls and boys of the village have won state-level competitions by learning swimming in this village pond. Hundreds of people visit everyday to see the miracle.
Raj Samadhiyala, Rajkot District,
Water table increased from 250 metre to 15 metre depth even with a failure of rains. In 2001, the village generated an income of Rs 4.5 crore. Average income per hectare has increased from Rs.4,600 in 1985 to Rs.31,000 in 2002.
Gujarat (830 mm; 350 mm in 1999)
Annual agricultural production has increased from 900 to 4000 quintals / hectare. The average annual income increased to Rs. 35,620 in 1999.
Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh (785 mm)
Fodder (grass) availability increased 5-6 times. Dependence on local moneylenders has gone down. In select micro-watersheds, loans from moneylenders had gone down by 22%. Grain banks have resulted in increased food security.
Hivre Bazar, Ahmednagar, Gujrat (580 mm)
The state won its first National Productivity award because of work done in this village. The village’s daily milk production has increased from 250 litres in 1995 to 2,600 litres today.
Darewadi village, Ahmed Nagar District,
Maharashtra (300 mm)
The village sells the surplus produce in big cities like Pune, Ahmednagar and Mumbai. Employment opportunities have increased from two to eight months in a year. They sell over 1,500 liters of milk every day to milk cooperatives in Ahmednagar.
During 2001, although the village received only 165 mm rainfall, the reservoirs were brimming with water. Gandhigram topped in groundnut production in Mandvi district in 2002. The village is now planning a cooperative for processing and marketing agricultural products.
Alwar District, Rajasthan
Average Annual Rainfall: 350-450 mm
Organisation: Tarun Bharat Sangh
Original Condition (1985): When Rajendra Singh started his work in Kishori village, the area had been marked “dark zone” (water-deficit) in the government records. The ground water was below 200 feet. Women spent from six to nine hours everyday fetching water. No agriculture was possible, and the village remained desolate with most of the youth migrating to nearby towns for employment.
Drawing inspiration from the wisdom and conviction of Mamu Patel, an old man in the village, Rajendra Singh initiated a major movement to harvest rain water. All the plans were made and carried out by the villagers, without the help of “qualified” engineers or funds from any big external agencies. More than 7,000 johads were built in more than 1000 villages covering ………. Sq. km of land. Massive afforestation was carried out.
Impact: From a small stream that would vanish in a few days after the monsoons, Arvari started flowing for one extra month each progressive year and became a perennial river in 1995. The government had to mark Alwar as a “white zone” since it had plenty of water. 1058 villages have been made drought and flood free. The villagers harvest up to three crops a year even after consecutive years of drought. 85% of the rural migration stopped. Employments were generated in farming, vegetable marketing, basket weaving, fruit production, construction of new ponds and water harvesting structures. Women’s drudgery of fetching water from long distances ended. They started sending their daughters to schools for the first time. They formed the Arvari River Parliament with 150 members from 70 villages of the basin area, to ensure that the Arvari remains clean and healthy and to solve internal disputes. More…..
Average Annual Rainfall: 250-300 mm
Original Condition (1980): The village was destitute: about a fifth of the families ate just once a day; -thirds borrowed grain from other villages at a high cost. Of the
1, 700 acres are arable only about 80 acres were irrigated through wells. There was little work in the village. Men went outside to earn a pittance breaking stones; women suffered prostitution. Family after family was in debt. A major proportion of the land had been mortgaged to money-lenders. With no other source of income, people had taken to manufacturing liquor: there were about 40 liquor stills. 90 per cent of the families were stricken by abdominal ailments. Child mortality was high. It was to this village that Anna Hazare returned 17 years ago and started RWH through percolation tanks, check dams and wells.
Impact: Of the around 1,700 acres of arable land, about 1200 acres are under irrigation, producing three crops a year worth Rs. 50-60 lakhs. The families who got one meal a day, now market vegetables, grain and milk. While neighboring villages waits for the Government tanker to bring drinking water, Ralegaon has enough not just for everyone in the village but also for the hundreds who troop into the village every day to see the wonder which has been wrought there. 4,00,000 trees have been planted. Liquor has been banished from the village. The girls and boys of the village have won state-level competitions by learning swimming in this village pond.
Raj Samadhiyala, Rajkot District,
Average Annual Rainfall: less than 300 mm
Original Condition: (1985): The village faced a major water crisis, with the groundwater table at a depth of 250 metres.
Villagers started to build check dams and tanks by using funds under the District Rural Development Authority (drda) programme. They built 45 check dams over an area of 1,090 hectares (ha). 35,000 trees were planted.
Impact: In 2001, the village generated an income of Rs 4.5 crore. It is one of the few villages in
to have had three bumper crops in a single season. In 2002, the village
received 400 mm of rainfall while in 2003, even with no sign of rain, water was
available at a depth of 15 metres. With bumper harvests, the village granaries
are full. The villagers have planted trees and constructed pipelines to supply
drinking water to individual homes. Perennial drinking water wells have
increased from two in 1985 to 14 in 2002. Average income per hectare has
increased from Rs.4,600 in 1985 to Rs.31,000 in 2002.
Mahudi, Dahod, Gujrat
Annual Rainfall: 830 mm (rainfall in 1999 was only 350 mm)
Organisation: N M Sadguru Water and Development Foundation
The village built a series of check dams near the source of the seasonal Macchan river and a series of small irrigation structures downstream. Watershed management measures such as terracing, planting trees, etc. were adopted.
Impact: Irrigation coverage and land under cultivation have doubled, increasing the annual agricultural production 4 fold from 900 quintals/ha to 4000 quintals/ha. From growing just one crop (maize or pigeon pea) in the rainy season, the villagers now grow three crops a year (gram, wheat and vegetables). There as been a drastic reduction in seasonal out migration. The average annual income in 1999 was Rs. 35,620. Villagers have constructed a pipeline system to bring drinking water on tap, from a well near the check dam to each falia or house cluster. Women no longer have to go long distances in search of water. Villagers control the use of water through the local village institution, called the lift irrigation committee ensuring equitable distribution of water, making rules for judicious use of water like banning the cultivation of intensive crops like groundnut. Increase in fodder availability has increased the milk yield. More…
Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh
Average Annual Rainfall: 785 mm
Organisation: Action for Social Advancement / Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Development
(RGWDM) of MP
State Government Mission
Original Condition: From 1963 to 1993. more than 15 per cent of the district forest and village commons turned to farmland. By 1993. the dense forest cover had shrunk to 4.9 per cent of the area. Deforestation resulted In the uplands being cultivated, land became less productive. Also. there were fewer jobs and less Income. People began to migrate to towns for work.
22% of the district’s land area was brought under RGWDM by April 1998. 374 villages were involved in developing 249 micro-watersheds (construction of small tanks and check dams).
Impact (1998): The irrigated area increased to 1,115 hectares in 18 microwatersheds, which is nearly double the irrigated area of 1994-95. In seven microwatersheds, the cropped area has increased by 7% and the cropping intensity of the cultivated land is also increasing. The rabi area (dry season crop) has increased by 340 ha in the same seven microwatersheds. There is also a shift towards cash crops with the area under soyabean and cotton having increased by 340 hectares. Food availability has increased by a minimum of one month to about four months. Some 313 village-level grain banks were established to ensure timely availability of foodgrains on easy credit. The protection of the land in the watershed and planting of various species of benefit to the local people (like bamboo, anwla, Acacia catechu and neem) has shown a 66 per cent reduction in wasteland area in 11 microwatersheds studied. Over 20,00,000 trees had regenerated. Fodder availability has increased 5-6 times. Dependence on local moneylenders has gone down. A study of select micro-watersheds revealed that loans from moneylenders had gone down by 22 per cent. Grain banks have resulted in increased food security. And distress migration has reduced considerably.
Hivare Bazar, Ahmednagar District, Gujrat
Organisation: Sarpanch, Government
Average Annual Rainfall: 580 mm
Original Condition (1989): Agriculture was unprofitable. 22 liquor shops, gambling and fighting made living conditions even worse. Families were migrating to meet their basic survival needs.
When Popat Pawar was made sarpanch, he initiated many programmes to restore the village’s environment. In 1995, the Adarsh Gaon Yojana launched by the government helped the villager build 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 33 loose stone bunds and nine check dams in a series on the downstream nallah.
Impact: State got its first National Productivity Award due to the works done in Hivare Bazar. Crops grown are jawar, bajra, wheat, onion, potato, and vegetables along with floriculture and horticulture. The village’s daily milk production has increased from 250 litres in 1995 to 2,600 liters today. 35 families who had migrated to Mumbai and Pune have returned. The village is also maintaining a patch of land where 100 different species of plants are duly preserved. 70 ha of forestland are entirely managed by the villagers. The department even does not have their guard to protect the reserves.
Darewadi village, Ahmed Nagar District,
Average Annual Rainfall: 300 mm
Organisation: Watershed Organisation Trust (WOT)
Original Condition (1996): In this remote drought-prone village in a rain-shadow region, there was no assurance of water for drinking or for irrigation. Even with reasonable good rains, agricultural production was not enough for 3-4 months resulting in widespread unemployment.
In 1997, the villagers took the permission from the forest department (FD) to work in the reserved forest zone following the ridge to valley concept, and in the following year the villagers started their work.
Impact: From the earlier pearl-millet farmers have diversified to vegetable cultivation, cotton, onions and improved cereals and pulses even selling the surplus into big cities like Pune, Ahmednagar and Mumbai. Employment opportunities have increased from two to eight months in a year. There are eight women's self Help Groups (SHGs) in the village and these groups have an apex body, the Samyukta Mahila Samitee (SMS) that is functioning well. Most important of all, they manage their savings and credit groups with internal lending, which provide immediate loans for their basic needs. They have undertaken a number of activities such as soak pit, kitchen gardens, improved cooking devices, water supply system and toilet construction. A number of income generation activities like dairy, nursery, homestead poultry, etc. have also been undertaken. At present they own improved cattle and sell over 1,500 liters of milk every day to milk cooperatives in Ahmednagar.
Average Annual Rainfall: 340 mm
Organisation: Shri Vivekanand Research and Training Institute (VRTI)
The villagers constructed 5 check-dams, 72 small check-dams and 72 nullah plugs.
Impact: During 2001, although the village received only 165 mm rainfall, the reservoirs were brimming with water. Groundwater was recharged and villagers received an uninterrupted piped water supply from their well. Gandhigram topped in groundnut production in Mandvi district in 2002. The villagers also introduced new crops like wheat, onion and jeera (cumin) and increased their agricultural yield. Profits flowed in. Work availability has also benefited landless labourers. These riches were channelled back into the village. In April 2002, farmers repaid Rs 2.5 lakh out of the Rs 5 lakh loan from Mandvi Gramin Bank for the construction of a dam. They also invested Rs 2 lakh in fencing the village to protect their crops from wild animals. The village is now planning a cooperative for processing and marketing agricultural products.