A Success Story Of Watershed Mission
Once Water Scarce Village Becomes Self Sufficient
Jhansi : Three years back Parasai-Sindh (a village 30 kms from Jhansi) with a population of 1500 was poverty ridden, mostly single cropped, drought like situation and migration to nearby towns for employment opportunities for livelihood. Then a transformation begun in the year 2011-12 when The Coca-Cola India Foundation for Rural Water Infrastructure and ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute For The Semi-Arid Tropic) along with NRCAF (National Research Centre for Agro-forestry farmers and Government of Uttar Pradesh), identified a micro-watershed – Parasai-Sindh, in Babina block of Jhansi district. The result of sustained efforts are clearly visible now. The fields in the project area are now producing more than two crops. Some of the farmers are yielding vegetables and fodder for their animals. Komal Singh, a villager with 12 acres of land, says “Earlier we were fully dependent on monsoon. Now we irrigate fields with our well which continue to supply water round the year. Because of irrigation facility my income has gone up and I am earning 3.5 lakh rupees a year”.
Prabha Devi a resident of Chhatpur while pointing towards a self dug well said “I along with my husband dug this 30 feet deep well in a month’s time. We get enough water. We pump this water thrice a day to irrigate our fields. We grow vegetables and fodder.”
According of Dr. Kaushal Garg, a scientist at ICRISAT, “This was a pilot site for improving water use efficiency and groundwater recharge and strengthening ecosystem services through community watershed management program.This watershed covers 1250 ha and comprises three villages named Parasai Chataarpur and Bachauni.”
Talking about project one of the officials from Coca-Cola Foundation said “It started with base survey and training to the stakeholders. The objective was to enhance water availability in target villages through water replenishment and recharging of wells. It was to be supported by enhanced water use efficiency and agricultural productivity through improved management of land and water resources.”
Bundelkhand is a hotspot of water scarcity, land degradation and poor socio-economic status. The region has experienced severe drought situation between 2004 and 2007.
Science-led interventions comprised
- Soil and water conservations practices
- Productivity enhancement activities
- Crop diversification and intensification
- Integrated nutrient and pest management and other livelihood based activities
The village and the watershed committees identified potential locations where different soil and water conservation interventions such as check dams and gully control structures could be made.
Series of check dams on main river stream were constructed which all together developed 125,000 m3 of storage capacity by the end of the June 2015 which enhanced groundwater level by 2 to 5 meter.
Hydrological monitoring showed that water table in Parasai-Sindh watershed increased by 2.5 meter on average, compared to pre- implementing watershed activities.
Impact of watershed intervention
- Despite 2 years of drought, there is still water in the adjoining wells at 4.5-5 metre depth. This is the only source of water for agriculture and is providing a livelihood
- Cropping intensity increased by 30%. For the first time in history, farmers were able to cultivate nearly 100 acres waste/barren land, due to surplus water availability in their wells. This resulted in extra source of the income (nearly 20,000 INR/ acre)
- Productivity of post-monsoonal crop especially wheat has doubled (ranging from 3500-4000 kg ha-1) after the watershed interventions. Wheat yield before the watershed interventions was in range of 1500-1800 Kg ha-1
- Fodder availability has drastically increased and therefore milch animal population has also increased by 30% within three years of project start
- It is estimated that Watershed interventions enhanced average annual family income from 50,000 INR (830 USD) to 125,000 INR (2080 USD) in a short span of three to four years period
- In addition, various income-generating activities such as vermicompost, nursery plantation and “dona-pattal” making were promoted