Impact of Pond Development on Farmers in Gwalior
Gwalior, located in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh, has an extreme climate, especially in summer, with scorching heat levels in April, May, and June. The maximum temperature in peak summers reaches 43 to 48 degrees centigrade. Agriculture is the main livelihood in the community and the agricultural community depends on surface water to provide irrigation for their crops, but the region has a diminishing water table that threatens farmer livelihoods.
S M Sehgal Foundation (Sehgal Foundation) implemented the project “Jal Vikas” in partnership with DCB Bank Limited in the Morena and Ghatigaon blocks of Gwalior district in Madhya Pradesh in 2021–22, with a primary objective to replenish the depleting water table by implementing solutions such as ponds with recharge wells. To make water available to meet the farm community’s agricultural needs, 38 million liters of surface water storage capacity were created in Dugnawali and Bhatpura Dang villages, directly benefitting 364 households—a population of over 1,950 people and 825 livestock. The recharge well in Dugnawali village created additional water storage and recharge capacity. The intervention improved the volume and quality of groundwater in the long run and provides greater water security for households and livestock.
Kamal Kishore, a long-time resident of Dugnawali village and a beneficiary of the Jal Vikas project, expressed that the pond development work carried out in Dugnawali has provided timely and adequate irrigation to his crops. He says, “Ever since the development of the pond, the water level of my well has risen! Before, I could run the motor for about 1.5 hours before running out of water, and now the motor can be run for three hours at ease.”
A similar experience resonates with Kartar Singh Gurjar and Lokendra Phul Rajendra of Bhatpura Dung village. As a result of the pond development activity, water availability is allowing the farmers to diversify with more crops. Kartar Singh says, “I can irrigate my crops timely now because of the pond. The water levels in our bores and tube wells have also increased; I also cultivated some vegetables for home consumption this year, along with other crops.”
Lokendra Phul says, “I used to cultivate mustard in one bigha land; this year, because of water availability in the pond, I doubled my crop area and cultivated mustard in two bigha land.”
The project beneficiaries and villagers at large expressed their heartfelt gratitude to DCB Bank Limited and Sehgal Foundation for the results of the work.