Jal Sanjivani â€“ Ek Prayas
Like many drought-prone areas in the country, Damoh and Solapur had the common problems of drought, water scarcity, unjustified cropping patterns, and poor socio-economic conditions for small and marginal farmers and women. The communities lacked awareness about correct water usage and cropping patterns.
To solve this problem, in Patharia block of Damoh, under our project Jal Sanjivani, we implemented a series of canal treatments in the Kalara canal. We also built three-stop dams on the canal to conserve surface water, which is essential in regulating groundwater resources and providing irrigation facilities during dry periods. After the series of treatments done on the canal, water retention in the ponds has become perennial compared to previous water scarcity that started in October 2021 and lasted till May 2022.
This intervention has resulted in water accumulation in a 2 km stretch of the canal. Thus, about 93,80,000 litres of water have been impounded so far. As a result, several open wells in the nearby region have been filled with water. The wells used to have decreased water levels up to 7 to 9 meters. below the ground level (during October every year), the water level has increased by 6 to 7 meters. (i.e., only about 1.5 to 1.8 ft. below the ground level) due to the project interventions. All the 29 direct and 45 indirect beneficiaries in the villages are very happy due to the increase in water stock which will enable them to increase the frequency of irrigation for the Rabi crop. Earlier, they could irrigate the crops only twice during the season. However, now, with the increased water availability, they can undoubtedly irrigate the crops more frequently (about 4 times), thus, resulting in an increase in the productivity of 400 kilos/acre for different cultivable crops and a cultivated area of about 6.5 acres.
The Water Users' Groups for each Stop Dam of Kalara canal have been formed and trained. These groups make rules and schedules for the water usage to ensure optimal and equitable supply to the farmers. They have also created a practice where the irrigation process would occur from the well and not directly from the stream to increase water retention and encourage efficiency. The farmers in the village and the community are working towards creating a sustainable water ecosystem in the village and taking ownership and accountability for retaining the project's impact.
Due to this and the similar interventions carried out in the project geographies, the target villages of Damoh and Solapur districts will now have enough surface and groundwater for irrigation during dry periods.