Anil Kumar Agarwal, the founder of the Centre for Science and Environment,
spearheaded the Jal Swaraj
campaign. His thoughts, ideas and opinions remain the driving force
behind the movement. Agarwal conceptualised and edited Dying Wisdom,
that explore the tremendous potential of India's traditional water
harvesting systems; and Making Water Everybody's Business, that documents
technologies that are being practiced even today by communities in
various parts of the country. These two widely-read publications have
gone a long way in putting the issue of community-based water management.
in the national agenda.
Agarwal, who passed away on January 2, 2002, graduated as an engineer
from one of India's leading engineering colleges in 1970, but gave
up a promising technical career to become a science journalist in
order to explore the country's scientific and technological needs.
He joined Delhi's leading daily, Hindustan Times, as a science correspondent
in 1973 and soon discovered India's most evocative environmental movement
known as the Chipko Movement in 1974. The reportage of this movement
not only led to a nationwide interest in environmental conservation
but also brought home to Agarwal the importance that the environment
and its natural resource base hold for the local village economy and
for meeting the daily needs of village people in terms of water, firewood,
fodder, manure, building materials and medicinal herbs. This was still
a time when the leadership of the developing world still believed
that economic development must take precedence over environmental
conservation. But this understanding of the relationship between the
poor and their environment soon turned Agarwal into a lifelong environmentalist
and a reknowned environmental analyst and writer.
Anna Hazare is one of India's most noted
social activists. A former army jeep driver and Ramon Magsaysay Award
winner, Anna is well known and respected as the man who turned the
ecology and economy of the village of Ralegan Siddhi around. The village
has become a model of rural development through the implementation
of government schemes designed for the upliftment of the rural poor.
His name is synonymous with rural development and people's power.
Hazare hit the headlines in May 1994 when he undertook a protest fast
at the Sant Dyaneshwar temple at Alandi, Maharashtra. Earlier, the
same month, he launched the Bhrastachar Virodhi Janandolan (People's
movement against corruption), after having returned his Padmashree
In 1998, he was hauled to court on a defamation suit filed by then
Maharashtra social welfare minister Babanrao Golap. After a few days
in jail, he was released following a public uproar.
He is a staunch Gandhian.
His watershed management style is as follows:
- Conservation of water
- Voluntary spirit
- Social upliftment
- Women's emancipation
- Participation of youth
- Consensual politics
- Family planning
- Ban on felling of trees
- Ban on open grazing
More on Ralegan
S Anna Hazare
A Gandhian and an environmental activist, Anupam Mishra is
among the most knowledgeable persons in India on traditional water
harvesting systems. He has travelled to various part of the country,
especially Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh,
visiting various water harvesting systems managed by people. He has
also interacted with grassroot-level water harvesters, inspired and
supported them and helped them in their traditional water harvesting
systems campaign. He has written two books on traditional tank
management in India and various traditional water harvesting systems
in Rajasthan titled Aaj bhi khare hai talab and Rajasthan
ki rajat boonde. Mishra continues to travel to different parts
of the country, while keeping in touch with grassroot-level water
harvesters and NGOs and inspiring them. The mission of the Gandhi
Peace Foundation is to promote the environmental activities of rural
development agencies; to prepare survey reports on distressed areas
and place them before concerned authorities; to disseminate environmental
information through the publication of up-to-date reports on environmental
issues; to organise workshops and seminars for environmental experts,
policy makers, individuals and organisations engaged in environmental
Gandhi Peace Foundation
221 - 223, Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg
New Delhi 110 002
Tel: 23237491, 23237493
Professor Vaidyanathan is an eminent agricultural scientist,
whose area of specialisation is management of tanks. He led the study
conducted by the Madras Institute of Development Studies, that has
made a case for the renovation of tanks, traditionally
managed by the communities in South India to mitigate water crisis
in urban as well as rural areas. Vaidyanathan=92s publication, Tanks
of South India, that takes an in-depth look at these issues has wide
acclaim. At present, he is the chairperson of the Tamil
Nadu unit of the National Water Harvester's Network. Formerly, he
held the post of chairperson, government of India, Planning Commission
Committee on Irrigation Pricing (1992) and Member, government of TamilNadu,
High Power Committee on
Wasteland and Watershed Development (1996) as well as Chairperson,
Indian Society of Agricultural Economics. He has written books like
India's Agricultural Development in a Regional Perspective, Performance
of Indian agriculture since Independence in Agrarian Questions: Water
and Resources Management: Institutions and Irrigation in India by
Kaushik Basu (ed.).
Professor A Vaidyanathan
B-1 Sonali Apts
11 Beach Road
The people of Nagpur district, Maharashtra joined hands with their
local administration and successfully harvested 11,000 billion litres
of rainwater at virtually no cost. Their initiatives pushed away the
usual water scarcity by at least three months. September 12,
2001 arrived with a new dawn, when Ashwini Bhide, a lady IAS officer
in Nagpur's zilla parishad agreed to implement rainwater harvesting
in her area at the suggestion of Mohan Dharia, who is working with
Vanrai, a Pune-based non-governmental organisation. Within a short
span of five days, she not only organised a training workshop for
her colleagues working at the grassroots level but also placed a system
of checks and balances to ensure that the panchayat samitis implement
the project seriously and not just on paper.
The results speak for themselves. In just 21 days, they successfully
constructed about 222 bandharas (weirs) as developed by Vanrai.
These bandharas comprise of bunding the village nallahs
with sandbags piled up in the shape of a dam. While Vanrai deposited
80,000 sandbags for the project, the respective gram panchayats also
contributed with 60,000 bags. In this region, Kolhapuri bandharas
used to be popular, but they are not only expensive to build but
also difficult to maintain. According to Bhide, "A Kolhapuri
bandhara requires Rs 50 lakh to harvest 390 TMC of water. Moreover,
a regular state project would have taken more than a year to take
off. About 1,000 Kolhapuri weirs exist in the district and less than
100 are functioning." On the other hand, bandharas like
those made by Vanarai make use of the locally available sand and shram
daan (voluntary labour) by villagers, thus eliminating the money
and corruption factors.
The notable feature is that members from the state and society
worked together. Girish Gandhi, working with Vanrai, said, "We
have implemented this project in many places in Nagpur and Pune districts.
But this is the first time that the district administration has implemented
it on a large scale" - thus, marking a new beginning
"We do not need bore wells. By spending a very small fraction
of the amount that we would have otherwise spent on digging a well,
we can catch still more water," says Bheema Bhat Hardikar, a
farmer from Anavatti, Karnataka. He speaks from his three years of
experience in rainwater harvesting that has ensured enough water for
the nursery on a part of the 25 guntas of land that he owns. Adike
Patrika, a local magazine, introduced him to the idea and he decided
to implement it. A 700 ft stormwater drain around the farm has been
dug. Ten earthen bunds are built at a cost of Rs 250 across the stormwater
drain. An infiltration pit near the well collects the runoff from
the drain. The excess water from the first infiltration pit flows
into the second one and then, back to the drain. He has also constructed
small trenches to divert all the runoff from the neighbouring areas
to the storm drain. All these works have yielded good results.
Brahmin Street, Anavatti,
Shimoga DT 577 413
Tel: 0818 - 2467 110
Bhupal Singh from Nahi Kalan, Raipur, Uttranchal, not only mobilised
his village to fight for a ban on limestone mining but also in sustaining
a campaign to protect its forest and water as well. Since 1980s, the
village has not faced any water-related problems. There was
a steady depletion in the groundwater table due to limestone mining.
The impact was reflected on the forests as well. The seasonal river
Bidalna was often running dry. But as villagers were getting work,
few complained. It all started when the young people protested. But
the mining contractor stonewalled their queries. He was just interested
in his profits. So, the villagers decided to fight for their land
and rights. The support from Sunderlal Bhaugana and Chipko Andolan
was encouraging. The Supreme Court order in the late 1980s banned
all mining activities in the entire region.
The issues were taken up on a priority basis. Protection of
forests is essential. The region receives about 3,500 to 4,000 mm
of rain annually. The terrain is characterised by steep slopes. Dense
forests are a pre-requisite for effective development of water resources.
Due to these works, the overall soil moisture and vegetative cover
got enhanced. Singh mobilised villagers to desilt four ponds and constructed
three on the flat sloping hilltops. For more works, money was needed
and it was not available. However, due to lack of basic infrastructure
like roads, people are migrating.
C R Shanmugam, a civil engineer, works as a project consultant for
Dhan Foundation, a Madurai-based NGO. He has revived about 20,000
300-1,000-year-old water tanks, which are now managed by people in
villages across Tamil Nadu. The tanks recharge groundwater, besides
ensuring water for irrigation. "A man with a vision and wisdom"
is what people say about him. But, in all humility, Shanmugam believes
he is "only a cog in the wheel".
Chewang Norphel, 62, of Leh, Ladakh, makes zings
Norphel says, "I realised that all the problems in the region
were related to water. In most areas. It was scarce. In others it
was being wasted."
In Ladakh, the annual average rainfall is 50 mm. The only source of
water are glaciers, which melt in summer. This water reaches the villages
late in the season. The locals manage this water carefully and store
it for the year.
Norphel proposes that artificial glaciers be built as a substitute
for dams. He believes that dams are an enormous financial burden and
they bring about environmental and social hazards. Artificial glaciers
are easy to build. First, Norphel channelises glacier water into a
depression lying in the shadow area of a mountain, hidden from sunlight.
He places half-inch-wide iron pipes at the edge of the depression.
As the water keeps collecting in the pipes, it freezes. As more water
seeps in, it pushes out the frozen blocks, and in turn, itself gets
frozen. This keeps happening in a continuos cycle, and these frozen
blocks create a clean, artificial glacier. Norphel has made four such
In 1996, a year after retirement, Norphel joined the Leh Nutrition
Project, a non-governmental organisation, as project manager for watershed
Devendra, who is in his 60s, is the president of the Kedar Village
Tank Farmers Society in Tamil Nadu. The society was formed in 1989
and there are around 217 members working with it from 13 different
communities. The society operates and irrigates an area of approximately
119 hectares. The Centre for Water Resources, Anna University, gave
the society Rs 27.6 lakh for research in 1990. After forming the society,
they collected Rs 40,000 as seed money and the government also pitched
in with a grant of Rs 50,000 for the work. The society designed the
structures themselves and constructed a 1.5 km long road all along
the canal to maintain it and also to mobilise their vehicles and machines
for their fields. This reduced the cost of transportation and the
villagers could save 50 per cent of the cost of harvesting. Initially,
the society collected money from the villagers. Then the Irrigation
Management Training Institute, Trichi, gave them a generous grant,
which the society has kept in a fixed deposit and the interest on
it is used for maintenance purposes, which comes to about Rs 30,000
Devendra says, "Before the intervention of the society,
small farmers did not get water because big land owners took a long
time to irrigate their land. The society intervened and constructed
an earthen sub-channel so that the water reaches both the small and
Initially, the society did face difficulties. Water channels
were being damaged. This was checked by the active cooperation of
local people who fixed a fine of Rs 100 for such irresponsible acts.
People reported an increase in the productivity of their lands
due to the availability of water even during the drought period. This
has drastically changed their economic status.
E R R Sadasivam
E R R Sadasivam is the owner of a 'tree museum' in Elur village in
Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. Spread over 30 ha, the museum houses
over 100 species of trees and also hyenas, wild cats, jackals and
peacocks. When he inherited this property in 1950, it was just a barren
patch of land. It was his hard work, with the assistance of the villagers,
that transformed it into what it is today. 112 villages are now enjoying
the benefits of this hard work, with all the barren land being converted
to woodlands, and that too, without any financial assistance. For
Sadasivam, profit is not the driving force. According to him, happiness
lies in making people understand the value of trees. To his peers,
he is a 'national asset', and rightly so.
Ganesan manages the water supply of Madaivini Patti, a tiny locality
on the outskirts of village Vairavan Patti in Madurai district, Tamil
Nadu. He is a neerkatti (irrigator).
Ganesan believes that if effective, kanmoy (tank) management
is crucial to social harmony. He knows the topography of his village
at the back of his hands. He knows exactly where the water comes from
and where it should go. He knows the water needs of each and every
farmer. He maintains the kanmoy embankments and operates the
sluice valves that release water in the channels.
Ganesan is poor. In exchange for maintaining the channels and the
kanmoy, he receives rice from each farmer in proportion to
the field size (4.5 kg of rice per 60 cents of crop area). In addition,
he gets 4 kg of rice from each farmer for operating the sluice valves.
For Ganesan, however, work in the village is restricted to the monsoon.
For the rest of the year, he has to look for daily wage work either
as an agricultural labourer or as a loader in the nearby towns. Sometimes
he manages Rs 50 a day, sometimes even less than that.
Ganesan's two sons and four daughters are not interested in carrying
on with the neerkatti tradition. But as long as there are paddy
fields, the limited water will need to be managed with care. There
will have to be a neerkatti.
Hardevsingh B Jadeja
Jadeja, the former head (sarpanch) of the village council of Raj-Samadhiyala
village in Rajkot, transformed the socio-economic status of his
village by implementing water harvesting projects. He is now the
taluka pradhan, looking after 93 villages. A post-graduate in English
Literature, he had organised the people in his village to take up
12 watershed management projects. He also initiated the drive to
plant trees. Today the village is one of the most prosperous in
the area boasting over 3 crores in earnings and cultivating two
crops despite the drought situation. The once-water starved village
no longer faces drinking water scarcity thanks to his efforts.
Harshdevsingh B Jadeja
Ph: 9825075246, 0281-285246
Jagawat heads an NGO working in the field of
natural resource management. He and his team work on the development
and regeneration of local natural resources through participatory
management. The focus is on land and water as the entry point before
going on to integrate these with other resource management activities.
They work in the tribal areas of western India, mainly in the states
of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, covering over 350 villages
and 77,000 rural/ tribal families. Through their work they have demonstrated
the importance of water harvesting for the development of rural tribal
areas as well as its role in combating drought. During the drought
of 1999-2000, these villages were part of the success stories covered
in many national and international media reports of those who had
withstood the test of managing on stored water. Through community
participation, the organisation has endeavoured to develop and expand
environmentally, technically and socially viable interventions leading
to poverty alleviation. Empowering women and other disadvantaged groups
to ensure equitable and sustainable development is one of their goals.
NM Sadguru Water and Development Foundation
PB No. 71
Ph: (02673)222030, 231350
A simple enthusiastic native of village Laporiya,
Jaipur, Laxman Singh, has revived village's ecosystem by adopting
a sustainable water management approach. Popularly known as the chauka
(dykes) system. This unique method involves rectangular plots of land
that store rainwater in dyked pastures. Even at the height of summer,
when the grass all but dies out, the roots can be seen lying down
dormant and binding the soil while also retaining the soil moisture.
Following a scientific approach, the excessive runoff from chauka
flows to a seasonal river. Further, a six kilometre long channel brings
water to the three tanks - Anna Sagar, Dev Sagar, and Phool Sagar
are built in a series.
In early 1980s, he travelled and experienced the conservation practices
from different parts of India, enriching and strengthening this well
known innovation. Working with water since 1978, Laxman Singh and
the other residents formed Gram Vikas Navyuvak Mandal Laporiya (GVNML).
It has renovated and constructed village tanks with people participation.
For past several years, the region has been ravaged by severe drought
but a visit to this village belies this reality.
Illiteracy, poverty, five children to look after and belonging to
a backward community have not thwarted Janaki - a woman in her 40s
- to use her innovative skills and solve the persisting water problem
in her village of Kepulakodi, about 32 kms from Mangalore, Karnataka.
To avoid a kilometre-long slippery walk down the hill during
the monsoons, she came up with the idea of using her saree to harvest
rainwater to meet her drinking water needs. First, she firmly fixed
bamboo rods to the saree to keep it stable against heavy rains and
winds. Then, its four corners were tied to bamboo poles, giving it
a funnel-like shape. Thus, water could easily sieve into the pitcher.
"Even 15 minutes of rain is sufficient to meet cooking and drinking
water needs", said Janaki. Impressed by its user-friendly applicability,
a local non-governmental organisation, Maithri Trust, is promoting
Initially involved in adult education and health activities, Jawan
Lal took it as a challenge to transform degraded lands to productive
assets in Barwa village for about 110 families. Jawan Lal says, "We
realised the importance of water and afforestation early, but people
were not ready to join us and it took us one year to win them over
to our way of thinking." The panchayat, which was reluctant to
hand over the degraded lands, was persuaded by Jawan Lal. But more
problems cropped up when the villagers were misinformed that the land
to be developed would be occupied by Seva Mandir. Finally, after a
lot of clarifications and meetings the matter was settled. In early
1980s, he played a key role in constructing a check dam in collaboration
with the village panchayat. This was followed by the construction
of ponds in 1998 and 2000. Jawan Lal wants to extend the watershed
management programme to improve the standard of the farming sector
in the village. Arranging a separate meeting for women helped in overcoming
the attendance problem owing to the purdah system. Jawan Lal
says, "Our women handle their own meetings separately and they
have opened their savings account also. Savings have grown up to Rs
2,30,000." Today, he stands tall amongst other village leaders
for his uprightness and dedication.
General Secretary of Thar Integrated Social Development Society, a
Jaisalmer based non-governmental organisation is a committed environmentalist.
He has been involved in awareness generation, implementation of the
traditional water harvesting practices and dissemination of traditional
technical wisdom in the region. He has revived systems like Nadis
(village ponds), Paar
and Tankas in the villages along with the villagers. Bhatti has also
worked extensively in reviving and developing the orans (sacred grooves)
in Jaisalmer district. Bhatti developed his skills got motivation
to carry forward the work while working with Magha
Ram Suthar - a barefoot engineer. At present he is highly committed
towards developing a region specific drought-proofing model for Jaisalmer
For further information contact
Jethu Singh Bhatti
Jaisalmer - 345 001
Tel: 02992 - 250534
Fax: 02992 - 253639
Working as a geophysicist at different levels, Vyas has given a well-researched
analysis guiding the state's policy decisions in favour of promoting
rainwater harvesting. Later, he also advised the government on technical
aspects of the Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Development Mission. Although
he retired in 1998, the government continued to seek his services
till 2001. Very few know that he has been a reputed academician with
a decade of teaching experience. Vyas has also written two books on
the subject - Economic Geology (1973) and Applied Aspects
of Dug Well Hydraulics (1993).
7, New Adarsh Nagar Colony,
Jabalpur 482 004
A concerned villager, he mobilised his village Kursala in Kalahandi,
Orissa, to overcome its persistant water shortage. The result is evident.
The village, which used to face a drinking water scarcity in the month
of January, now has adequate water for irrigation even in May and
June. Dawn arrived in Kursala in the early 1990s, when, appalled
with the depleting water status and growing poverty and migration,
an educated villager Komal Lochan Jani decided to take action. He
knew the groundwater levels would improve only if rainwater is used
for recharging. Jani has also heard that a good vegetative cover (including
grasses and forests) facilitates the recharge process as this cover
acts as a filtering medium. Thus, he started by mobilising the youth
to work for the conservation of forests that were vanishing. Gradually,
the people of Kursala took up his concern and initiative, and they
worked together. Intensive plantation work (including fruit-bearing
trees) was taken up. About 50 small ponds were built and sustainable
water management practices were sacredly adopted. Kursala has not
only broken the cycle of irregular rains, drought and migration but
have recently handed over 492 acres of forest back to the state as
Komal Lochan Jani / Amrinder Kishore
The Indian National Trust for the Welfare of Tribals (INTWOT)
7/C - 7/230, Rohini,
New Delhi 110 085
Tel: 27046583, 27055172
Kunhikannan Nair looks very young for his 55 years. He carves surangams.
Nair's fields in Kodom Vellur village of Kasaragod district,
Kerala, are lush green, with coconut, areca nut, rubber and pepper
trees and a little paddy. Although plantations have mushroomed in
northern Kerala, there is not much money to be made in the fields.
Nair recalls the sleepless nights he used to spend worrying about
water for his fields. Kerala is one of the wettest states in India.
But very little water actually gets stored due to the slope of the
Western Ghats, despite the heavy monsoons.
At 53, Nair arranged for a Rs 5,000 loan from a cooperative bank to
make his first surangam. Today, Nair doesn't have to spend
sleepless nights any more. Thanks to his surangams,
he has assured water supply for paddy. He is now able to save a lot
of money which he would otherwise have spent hiring pump sets. The
yield of coconut has risen. There is enough water for home and fields
all through the year.
Laxmi Narayan Joshi, watershed committee chairman of Saipur village,
has been a source of inspiration for the villagers. The watershed
work started in 1998-99. Medbandi, a stone embankment built
on the lower side of an agriculture field on a hill slope to conserve
soil and moisture and help create a level field for cultivation was
done in about 300 hectares of agricultural land. A pond of about 1.5
ha with 8,000 cubic metre storage capacity was also built. Joshi
says, "There was a lack of vegetation in the watershed area which
resulted in soil and water erosion. Improper management of soil and
water resources in the area led to poor recharging of the well and
it affected the supply of fuel and fodder."
Due to medbandi in agricultural fields, water requirement
of plants is being met better. The villagers have also been convinced
to replace wheat with sarson (mustard), jau (oats) and
channa (gram), crops that require less water.
"It is easy and judicious to promote water efficient crops
in our area. We have planted 6,000 trees in 62 ha land. It promotes
groundwater recharge by reducing the flow," Joshi adds.
Magga Ram Suthar
Magga Ram Suthar, 67, makes beris
or kuis. He belongs to the Suthar (carpenter) community and
comes from Pithala's only Suthar family. He also knows how to catch
the meagre rainfall (annual average: around 160 mm) in the area during
In Pithla, groundwater can be struck at a depth of 90-107 m, and this
water is mostly saline. In many areas, however, a rocky belt of gypsum,
known as bittoo, runs under the surface. It is this belt of
gypsum that is the key to Maggar Ram's method of water harvesting.
During the digging of a beri, once the bittoo level
is reached, it is lined with stones.
An interesting feature is the shape of beri in areas where
the bittoo is found at a shallow level - the mouth of the beri
is made narrower to prevent water loss by evaporation. It gets wider
as the depth increases, giving greater surface area for water to seep
Magga Ram constructed his last beri 15 years ago. Today, there
is no demand for new beris. In 1991 a government tubewell struck
fresh water some seven km away from Pithala. This water reaches the
village through a pipeline. But even today, when this tubewell fails,
villagers walk up to Magga Ram's beris.
Shabdo village in Fatehpur block in Gaya district of Bihar is still
struggling to come out of the shock caused by the death of two of
their Jal Yodhas (water warriors). Mahesh Kant and Sarita of the Institute
of Research and Action (IRA), a Patna based NGO, who revolutionized
the villagers life by reviving an age-old water harvesting system
ahar and pyne, were shot dead on January 24, 2004. They fell
victims to the regions land mafia, who consistently opposed
IRAs work in the region.
To unite the villagers from different castes and community,
in this naxalite dominated region and then imparting the lessons on
water conservation was never an easy task for Mahesh and Sarita. Few
months back, Mahesh shared his experiences, In the beginning
we were considered as state governments spy and were not readily
accepted by villagers. But they did not give up.
They educated the villagers on the relevance of ahar and pyne in the
socio-economic well being of the local community. This traditional
water harvesting technique comprised of a channel (locally named as
pyne) diverts water from rivers to a tank (ahar) from where it is
distributed to the fields. The system went into disuse because of
siltation as well as encroachment by the influential lot, adversely
affecting the livelihood security of the local population.
Persistent efforts started yielding its results after almost three
years. 30,000 villagers from forty villages (including Shabdo) came
together forgetting the caste differences to revive Hadadwa pyne45
kilometre long water harvesting system. There was very little external
assistance for this initiativemost of the work came in as shramdaan
(voluntary labour). The villagers have also devised a management system
in the form of sinchai samiti --the irrigation committees --who operate
and maintain the ahar and pyne. The impacts are visibletwo crops
in a year (quite unusual few years back) resulting in additional revenue.
Most of the tubewells have water today, thanks to the groundwater
recharge facilitated by the ahar.
Another outstanding initiative was the introduction of community farming
in Shabdofirst of its kind in the region. Today, management
of 175 acres of agricultural land belonging to forty families (individual
share being 2-3 acres) is looked after by the Sinchai Samiti. Daily
meetings are organized to finalise the days plan of action.
Instead of every one working in the field, the work is delegated to
individual farmers (as decided in the meeting) in rotation. The benefits
are also shared in accordance to the landholdings.
IRA has also promoted diversification in income generation activities
as well. For the first time in 2003, fishing was done in the ahar
spending Rs 8, 000. The return was three folds. Interestingly the
return is again channelized back into this activity.
For their efforts, Mahesh and Sarita, the young activists will be
always remembered forever for their contribution to the society. At
the same time it is a challenge for the villagers to keep the momentum
Manna Singh, a farmer, is the chairman of Sitapur project in Madhya
Pradesh. Couple of years back, 46-year-old Singh was sent as a district
representative to Anna Hazare for getting trained. In the year 1996,
Union ministry of rural development supported the Sitapur project
with a financial aid of Rs 12 lakh. The work started in 1997 and is
expected to be completed soon. In the rainy season, the hills
called Bhilai hills used to carry sand and silt and make the field
unfit for cultivation. So far, 32 check dams have been constructed
at a cost of Rs 41,000 and the Raksamada dam at a cost of Rs 93,000.
As a result of this, the land has become cultivable. Moreover, he
is actively pursuing afforestation of the region near the Son river
so that the cultivation of the nearby villages located in the lower
landscape do not suffer from the sand and silt which flows towards
it and washes away the fertile soil.
Bhai Suvagia, Saurashtra, Gujarat
Concerned over the water level in the region of Saurashtra, which
had receeded from 15 m in 1990 to 120-210 metres in 1998, Mansukh
Bhai Suvagia, a 37-year-old government servant decided to initiate
steps to tackle the problem. With the help of villagers, he
launched a Lok Fund scheme and collected more than Rs 1 lakh to build
17 check dams in the area. "These are the cheapest check dams
in the whole country," says Suvagia.
Well-planned locations and building according to the requirements
were the two main reasons for the low cost of construction. Cost was
further reduced as the villagers built the dams themselves.
Suvagia's wife Rasila helped him out in his work by mobilising
the village women to get involved in the building of the dams. Four
dams have been built in the area with the help of local women.
At present, in over 100 villages of the Saurashtra region, money
is being raised to build dams. The amount of money collected ranges
from Rs 1-5 lakh. Jamka village in Junagadh district is successfully
carrying out the work of building check dams. The village is 1,011.7
hectares in area with a population of 3,000 and the area under cultivation
is 809.4 hectares. Even though the area has one river and four rivulets,
the water supply is inadequate. Moreover, with 1,200 bore wells the
water level has gone down to 200 metres in the last 15 years. The
villagers started constructing the dams in 1999 and so far, 51 check
dams and two ponds have been built to harvest water. As a result,
the water situation has improved and the farmers are able to cultivate
kharif and rabi crops even during drought conditions.
Mansukhbhai projects the profit as around Rs 3 crore in the years
of good rainfall. This includes money from agriculture, livestock
and trees used for afforestation. "It puts the government in
a very bad light," says Suvagia. He is all set to spread the
message to the rest of Saurashtra and has already created awareness
in about 500 villages. He feels that CSE is doing a good job of spreading
the message of self- help to other parts of the country.
Iftikhar Hussain Ansari
Moulana Iftikhar Hussain Ansari is a politician, a businessman and
now the 'Green Maulvi' of Jammu and Kashmir. As minister for housing
and urban development, he has been credited with establishing the
J&K Lakes and Waterways Development Authority in 1997 to preserve
the Dal lake. Hampered by a massive fund crunch, there has only been
a marginal change in the lake's condition. But the de-weeding process
has been started with some success. The Moulana firmly believes that
he can tide over the current problem. Once the glory of the Dal is
restored, he plans to start cleaning the Jhelum river.
Narayan Hazary is an ardent believer of the Panchayati Raj system.
He advocates the concept of village democracy in Kesharpur
village. The list of his achievements is endless: He started a village-level
school in 1954; he set up the Despran Madhusadan Library in 1957;
he established Pragati Shishu Sangh, a childrens organisation;
and from 1972 he spearheaded the Buddhagram Environmental Movement
(BEM) to regenerate the forests. BEM was aimed at regenerating the
green cover of the barren Binjagiri forest and Malati hills. The forest
and the hill are finally regaining their cover. Meanwhile, Hazary
teaches political science in Nagaland but remains the guiding force
behind all activities in Kesharpur village.
Obensao Kikon comes from Wokha district in Nagaland. An ardent
jungle burner at one time, his stint as the chairperson of the
Market Federation of Nagaland changed his outlook, and there has been
no looking back ever since. His 615-ha land in Wokha is full of teak
and bamboo trees. He encourages plantation of short-rotation species
to help the local people meet their fuelwood demands. Besides, he
also heads the Kimpvur Valley Multipurpose Cooperative Project Society
comprising three villages. What is his aim in life? To enhance the
living standards of the poor, he says.
His aim: to enhance the living
standards of poor people.
Parasu Ram Mishra
P. R. Mishra
Parasu Ram Mishra, the man behind the Sukhomajri experiment, passed
away on March 25, 2000 in Palamau, Jharkhand. He was 75.
A leading soil conservationist at the Soil and Water Training Institute,
Chandigarh, Mishra spent most of his years converting Sukhomajri and
other villages of Palamau from drought-prone poverty-stricken hamlets
to self-sustainable units of prosperous economic activity.
When Mishra embarked on the Sukhomajri project in the early 1970s,
the village was riddled with ecological problems. The land was sparsely
vegetated and it could sustain only poor crops. Soil erosion caused
heavy runoff and soil loss. Even though the region had an adequate
1,100 mm of rainfall, groundwater levels were low.
Mishra's intervention was to change all that. Today, Sukhomajri possesses
a forest wealth estimated at Rs 90 crore.
The transformation of Sukhomajri
from a barren land into a green belt was due to a model of sustainable
development called the Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP) that was developed
by Mishra himself.
The CVP's basic strategy is to make a one-time investment of cash,
plants and technology and to convert it into a self-sustaining process
of production and reinvestment from a common village fund. The investment
in what Mishra calls a 'multi-tiered, multi-rooted, multi-layered'
planting cycle guarantees year--round employment for all members of
the village society ("students" in CVP terminology) and
returns - in the short, medium and longer terms - from grass and vegetables,
fruit trees, and timber respectively.
A typical block of 8 or 12 ha of pooled land is divided by water-retaining
tie-ridges into smaller quadrants and literally filled with plants,
intercropped to maximise the symbiotic relationships of nitrogen-fixing
and nitrogen-hungry species. Yams and other tubers go underground,
pulses, beans, fruits, bamboo and timber spring up from the earth,
the different root systems carefully grown together to prevent overcrowding
and to maximise use of groundwater at all levels.
An enterprising sarpanch, Popat Pawar brought water, prosperity and
respect to his village Hivare Bazar, in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. With
the support of the village youth, Pawar transformed his village from
a 'punishment zone' to the one that got Maharashtra its first National
Productivity Award for the best watershed work. He is an ardent follower
of Anna Hazare and believes, "The development process needs both
the state and society to work together. However, the society should
always be on the drivers' seat and work responsibly." It
all started in 1989, when the youth of the village wanted a change.
The village had about 22 liquor shops, and excessive gambling and
violence had ruined its reputation, society, ecology and economy.
The drought of 1972 had marked the beginning of a disaster and they
wanted it to end. Pawar was elected sarpanch with popular support.
His was not an easy journey, but he never gave up. After forming
the yuva mandali (village youth group), he concentrated on
improving education standards. The village school was locked for two
months till the state assigned good teachers. Pawar's first success,
however, was also closely followed by his first failure. The plantation
work that they had begun with was vandalised by some villagers. Henceforth,
he decided to take up works only on demand. The entire focus shifted
to building the moral base of Hivre Bazar in accordance with the path
shown by Anna Hazare.
Once the attitude of the people changed everything started falling
in place. Thanks to their diligence, in 1994 under the joint forest
management programme, afforestation works were taken up, successfully.
Today, the village boasts of a thick forest cover, maintained by the
villagers themselves. In 1995, under Adarsh Gaon Yojana, watershed
works were taken. About 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 33
loose stone bunds and nine check dams were built. With increased water
availability villagers have diversified without encouraging unsustained
water use practices. Even the state has acknowledged the efforts by
funding a training centre for the sarpanches.
Pawar insists on using state funds for village development.
He says, "It is our money and we want to use it for the purpose
it has been allocated". Significantly, he is taking Hivre
Bazar on the path on environmental
self-reliance. He specifies, "For the past one-year, the people
have taken all the decisions themselves. I am not even consulted,
just updated". An inspiring journey, indeed.
Premjibhai Patel had to go to Mumbai for work in 1975 but the fast-paced
lifestyle and a desire to do something meaningful perturbed him endlessly.
Finally, he returned to his village Bhayavadar in Upleta block of
Gujarat. There he brought about a revolution of sorts. One that showed
people that the answer to the fuelwood problem in the arid region
was growing simply more trees. This also solved the problems of erosion
and water shortage. Now, he is concentrating on the construction of
traditional check-dams in Upleta.
Pandit Punyadhar Jha alias Bol Bam. A resident of Andhra Tharhi village
of Madhubani district in Bihar, the octogenarian has spent a good
part of his life planting trees. Jha has planted a record 10,000 trees
in various districts of Bihar till now, and he plans to continuing
doing so in the future.
His knowledge bank: the Agni Puranas,
which detail traditional plantation methods.
His motto: one tree is equal to
District collector of Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, R K Gupta
is actively involved in not only creating awareness on water conservation
and its management but working towards making it a reality as well.
He is a man with multiple facets. He is an engineer and an IPS (Indian
Police Service) officer with profound interest in agricultural research.
His calculations show that "Even with 50 per cent of annual rainfall,
it is possible to avert drought". The rainfall in Khandwa,
for the past three to four years has been 30 to 40 per cent less than
usual. In spite of this, there has been no drinking water problem,
no fodder shortage, soil erosion has reduced by 90 per cent, per capita
income has increased two-fold, and almost this entire area is under
rabi cultivation. Gupta and his team has innovatively redesigned
the existing strategy for the works done under Pani Roko Abhiyan (PRA),
a community-based rainwater harvesting program of the MP government,
that has resulted in this transformation.
Gupta's 'total water management strategy' entails the creation
of earthen structures to store and percolate the runoff rainwater.
Even five to seven cm of rainfall does not go waste. "After completing
the water budget (a detailed assessment of the demand and supply of
the water) of the district, it became evident that 90 per cent of
the water is used for cultivation - and, most of it is groundwater.
Thus, this source needs to be replenished", emphasised Gupta.
The size and kind of the structures is determined by the cost
of water that they store. All the structures like earthen checks,
kundis, bunds, bori bandhans, Khandwa hydraulic structures have been
redesigned to meet the local requirements.
"In 2001, we started the technical training of 14,000 villagers,
with the hope that at least 1,000 of them will actually implement
- and, it happened. In one village, a villager diverted the access
water used in animal shed to the dried bore well. After 15 days, he
found out that a dry hand pump about 100 m has started yielding. The
villager realised the importance of rainwater harvesting. And, we
just shared such experiences to motivate others", said Gupta.
Some experiences from Khandwa.
These stories clearly indicate the strength of rainwater harvesting
systems in effectively dealing with drought. "We are at the take-off
stage, as now people start the works and then approach us for financial
assistance. This is our achievement," says Gupta.
- It took some time for the people of Dhanta village to understand
the concept. Initially, with the cooperation of the few villagers,
nallah (drain) recharge work was undertaken. The entire
catchment area was treated with a total water management technique.
Three months after the monsoon, the water table in the pond at
the tail-end of the nallah started increasing. This incident
changed the attitude of the villagers. As a result, "The
wells that used to dry up in summers even after normal rains now
have adequate water. It just takes four hours for the well to
recharge after eight hours of extraction", said a villager.
- The villagers of Dhotakheda collectively constructed a kuccha
bandh on a seasonal nallah - Chotapchaad. With this structure
not only was their annual water problem solved, they also had
enough water to share it with nearby villages.
- Jeevan Singh Pawar, a resident of Attubhikari village, about
16 km from the district headquarters, recharged a nearby well
by diverting the leaking water from the air valve of the irrigation
pipeline. As a result, the well that used to dry up in January
now had water at a depth of 10 ft - enough water to irrigate the
Chief executive officer
Tel: 0733 - 23264
R S Jamir is the first Indian Police Service officer from Nagaland.
More importantly, he is the co-founder of the Luzheto Welfare Society,
a social forestry organisation. After the demise of co-founder Hekiye
Sema in 1998 he has been carrying forward the work single-handedly.
Although restricted to Luzheto village, his work in regenerating the
barren lands has helped people live off the forests once again. As
a sign of gratitude, villagers have named a hill after him. He
was at the right place at the right time. We can never thank him enough,
says a villager on Jamir.
Though he has lost the political authority over the people
of Thar, who once used to be his subjects, Maharaja Gaj Singh continues
to work for their well-being. This 38th Rathore Chief of Marwar, lovingly
known as Bapji, is actively involved in popularising community-based
water harvesting practices in the Thar region. Concerned with
the growing water crisis, he teamed up with Rajendra Singh, the secretary
of the Alwar-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Tarun Bharat
Sangh, to organise Jal Chetna Yatras and sammelans to spread
the message. His ability to relate to the villagers in their own language,
and addressing their livelihood concerns has earned him creditability
and support of the people of Pali, Barmer and Jalore districts of
western Rajasthan. Due to his concerted efforts he has also generated
interest among the other sardars of the former princely states of
Jodhpur, Nagaur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalore, Sirohi and Pali to take
up similar activities.
Working as a catalyst, the Maharaja is motivating locals to
get involved and work for a better (and wetter) future instead of
relying on state handouts. In return, he has received complete cooperation
from the people. While expressing his gratitude, Bapji said, "In
the present context maharajas no longer have wealth. I am lucky to
have invaluable wealth in the form of your support and dedication
to mitigate this perpetual problem." A royal water crusader,
Brig Shakti Singh
Umaid Bhavan Palace,
On October 2, 1985, five young
men got off a bus at Kishori village in Thanagazi block of the district
of Alwar, Rajasthan. They were from the Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS),
a voluntary organisation set up in 1975. Among them was Rajendra
Singh, the secretary of TBS. Rajendra Singh spearheaded the movement
for the regeneration of the area. Always an activist, he had fought
against illegal quarrying in the Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan.
No engineers were called. They were guided by traditional wisdom.
Mangu Lal Patel, an old man from nearby village Gopalpura told them,
"Do not talk too much; dig tanks and build.
You will get results."
This year, on July 30, 2001 Rajendra Singh was conferred the Magsaysay
award for community leadership. When the news reached him, he was
touring Sikar, Rajasthan to do what he does best - mobilize communities
to manage their water resources. On receiving the award, Singh said,
"The social technique adopted by the people and TBS has been
recognised with the achievement of this award. The award is for the
Ram Karan Bhadana, a Gujjar, is not involved in sheep rearing as others
of his community. He is committed towards development. He is a well-known
activist for development works in his village, which has a population
of 2,000-2,500. He was actively involved in creating awareness, giving
importance to tree and pond worship, making ponds and removing encroachments
from pastures. He constructed three
ponds one after the other and changed the face of the village. The
first pond is named Phoolsagar because it is surrounded by flowers.
The second pond is named Devsagar because of the temples that surround
it. The third pond is directly linked with agriculture and is named
Annasagar. Four chaukas (bunds) have been made to store
water for livestock. The money was raised from many sources, including
friends and relatives.
Bhadana says, "Earlier our people were going to Jaipur and other
towns to work as labourers but now they are in their own village.
The lands which were earlier not able to sustain them are now producing
profits for them."
Ram Karan says, "The villagers' efforts and Bhadana's motivation
have changed the face of the village. We have made good channels for
irrigation and started cultivating in the lands, which were earlier
An unassuming villager of Laporiya in Jaipur, Rajasthan,
who is ardently involved in the sustainable development and management
of water resources. Bhadhana is known in his village for his selfless
work. He has always tried to combine
conservation practices with spiritualism. Explaining his unflinching
faith, Bhadhana said, "The last time we had good rains was in
1997. But we will survive this drought as well. By god's grace we
have water". Though the region is ravaged with drought, Laporiya
gathered in December 2002 to celebrate 'Dev Uthni Gyaras', a Hindu
way for thanking the bountiful nature. They also performed pooja at
three village water tanks that are completely dry. One cannot help
asking what are the villagers grateful for? "These are the reason
why there is water in our wells. We collect whatever little rain we
get. Without these, Laporiya would have been history", shared
Bhadhana. About 189 families of Laporiya, like most of the other villagers
of Rajasthan, are facing the worst spell of drought but what sets
them apart is the unflinching faith in their water and soil conservation
Ram Karan Bhadhana
Laporiya, P O Gugardu,
Jaipur 303 008
Lahsedi vill. (Churu)
Ran Singh of Lahsedi village,
district Churu. Rajasthan makes kundis.
Ran Singh started building kundis
since he was 13 years old. So far, he has built some 400 or 450 kundis.
With local groundwater being saline, these kundis are the main
source of water for the villagers.
A tall, well-built, articulate man of 62, Ran Singh says, "Pipelines
are most unpredictable. The government waterworks are like waterless
eyes that cannot see. What is their use?"
He understands rain and the behaviour of water - how it travels and
how it should be stored. Making a kundi needs considerable
engineering skills and takes about 25 days. After selecting an appropriate
area, the first consideration is the incline, asit should catch as
much rainwater as possible.
Kundis have brought Ran Singh a lot of respect in his village.
Visitors throng his house almost every day. People greet and salute
him as he walks down the local street. He is always eager to share
a joke with his neighbours. Despite his age, a good joke is never
lost on him. He catches it like water.
Rakesh Trivedi (50) is a multi-faceted personality. A professor of
zoology, director of the eco-estate faculty of the Centre for Environmental
Protection, Research and Development in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and
a contributor for Nai Duniya, a Hindi daily. His obsession with trees
has also earned him the title 'Tree Man of Indore'. So far, he has
planted 6,000 trees in the city alone. But that's not enough. He believes
he has to plant many more trees, God and 'people willing'.
Ranjit Kumar Pattnaik is a household name In Angul district of Orissa.
In 1988. he went on a padyatra across 600 villages In Angul to raise
awareness about the Importance of natural resources. Pattnaik established
the Youth Association for Rural Reconstruction. Initially aimed at
fighting against pollution of the Brahmani river by Industries. Pattnaik
has also been Instrumental In forming village organisations to save
forests and sanctuaries In the state.
Can mango and cashew plants grow successfully in a water-scarce land,
without further degrading the environment? The answer is yes. Ravindra
Shetye, a Mumbai-based ecologist has done it successfully by harvesting
and utilising rain on his 60 acre and in Dahagaon village of Ratnagiri
district, Maharashtra. On January 29, the Ashoka foundation conferred
him with Ashoka Award'. It all started when in 1992 he decided
to develop an abandoned land in a village with no electricity or any
perennial source of irrigation. During monsoon, he conserved rain
in stone-lined tanks, constructed on various sites of the plantation
with the capacity to hold 0.2 million litres of water, ensuring frequent
water for the plants for the first three years. Today, about 5,000
cashew and 2,000 mango trees have started giving the initial yield.
The annual capital input is Rs six lakh. Shetye is now planning to
share his gains with the entire Konkan region.
Socio-economic Eco Development
10, Amitchs, Whireless Road,
J B Nagar, Andheri (East)
Mumbai 400 059
Roland Martins is the driving force behind Jagrut Goenkaranchi Fauz.
perhaps Goa's most effective grassroots organisation. He has led many
protests against unsustainable tourism projects. One of his notable
campaigns has been against the government's plan to freeze a 75-80-km
stretch of coastal Goa for 19 luxury hotels. The plan was eventually
scrapped. Then there was Operation Cold Turkey against drug traffickers
and Operation Blockalds to spread awareness about aids. Despite many
successes. Martins remains a foot soldier. literally for he uses public
transport and figuratively for his perusal of the mission.
Ufrakhal, Paudi Garhwal located in the midst of Chamoli and
Almora was known as the backward area in the region. However, as Sachidanand
Bharti entered the scene, transformation set in. He started mobilising
the entire village, especially the women, to work for forest conservation.
Bharti and his village-based organisation Dadhutoli Lok Vikas Sansthan
started receiving support as locals started understanding the need
to treat and develop water, land and forest in an integrated manner
to achieve sustainable results. Bharti guided villagers to take
up afforestation work. Initial failure such as dying saplings instigated
him to find a solution. After a number of discussions with the villagers,
it was decided to dig small pits near the newly planted saplings -
so, that when it rains these pits collect enough water. The idea worked.
By the year 1990-91, the village could boast of one of the thickest
forests in the region. Today, this forest is covered with trees like
Baas, Kaafal, Amaat, Chir, Awala among many other species.
Bharti's path has been illuminated by the guidance of Anupam
Mishra and various community-based water harvesting initiatives going
on in different parts of the country. With the support of the villagers,
he started digging a series of 1,500 small pits (locally called Jal
Tarais) in the forests of Gaadkhark. The impact was immediate and
evidently inspiring. Today, a number a small nallahs (drains)
have become perennial, which culminate into a big nallah known
Sachidanand Bharti is a media-shy person, who is working selflessly
for the community and the nature. The works are carried without any
external financial assistance. By simply mobilising what the community
has to or is willing to offer. Bharti has motivated the locals to
deliver the message of conservation and prosperity.
Dadhutoli Lok Vikas Sansthan
Paudi Garhwal, Uttranchal
Shivanajayya is a person of many talents. He is the principal of a
college, a writer, an organic farmer and a water conservationist.
He has a five-acre farm in Tumkur district, Karnataka. The soil
in this region is red. Rainfall is highly erratic - as a result the
farmers are completely dependent on bore wells. Following the practice,
in 1990, he also got a bore well dug. The yield was good for the next
four years after which it started falling. He was forced to lower
the pump from 140 to 180 feet. Yet, the situation did not improve,
adversely affecting the crops sown.
While trying to find a solution, he realised that barely 30
feet away from the bore well flowed a seasonal rivulet, which had
water till the month of January. This encouraged him to go in for
an artificial recharge technique.
A deep trench was dug from the casing pipe to the riverbed ensuring
a regular supply. Blue metal was spread around the pipe and the trench
was refilled with soil. To check the inflow of leaves or other materials,
a mesh was tied on the outer end of the pipe. Expenditure was not
more than Rs 1,000, and the results are worth noting. The output has
doubled and the bore well runs for more than six months a year.
Kadalivana, J C Pura,
Tumkur DT 572 214
Shamjibhai Jadavbhai Antala has many names - Pied Piper of Saurashtra.
rainmaker. one-man army and messiah. He has accomplished the impossible
in a land with a history of severe water scarcity, hostile climate
and rocky topography. He has ensured that the fields remain green
by teaching people the importance of rainwater harvesting. He propogated
the concept of well recharging amongst the rural masses in Gujarat.
He is a member of the Gujarat Ecology Commission, State Watershed
Mission Advisory Committee(Govt. of Orissa) and Rajiv Gandhi Watershed
Mission (Govt. of MP).
Ram Krupa Near Mandan,
Opp. Bus Stand, Dhoraji - 360410
Tel: (02824) (O) 223150 (R) 221940
Popularly known as the 'Rainman of Canara Coast', Shree Padre has
used his journalistic skills to create a strong farmer network throughout
western Karnataka and north Kerala.
Apart from writing a weekly RWH column in the leading Kannada daily,
Vijaya Karnataka, he has so far conducted more than 350 RWH slide-shows
in the nooks and corners of southern Karnataka and northern Kerala.
Taking information/inspiration from his writings hundreds of farmers
have got success in RWH without govt subsidy and with a very low cost.
Shree emphasises in-situ methods and gives importance to traditional
methods as well. His persistent efforts to popularise RWH has yielded
fruits. Today there are many new-comers who are spreading the awareness
through the now popular Neerimgisona Banni ( Come, let us harvest
water) workshops in southern Karnataka. He has written 8 books on
the subject, out of which one is in English. ( Rainwater Harvesting)
Padre is the convener of an informal platform for RWH , Jalakoota
that documents success stories from world over and disseminates the
selected ones to people. He says he would be grateful if grass-root
rainharvesting activists can share their experiences,success stories
& relevant photographs for him to document & spread.His favourite
slogan : " If water scarcity splits people, Rainharvesting can
bring them together."
It all started with Adike Patrike, a monthly newsletter launched in
1988 to give farmers a voice. Several 'writing workshops' were conducted
for the interested farmers. He encouraged them to share their problems
and solutions through the newsletter. Padre has also come up with
the idea of 'Samruddhi', a group giving voice to those farmers who
can neither read nor write. Once a month, the group organises a meet,
where farmers just discuss various issues and then the dialogue is
edited and published in the Patrike. In 1995, Adike Patrike started
a series on the various ways in which people conserve water. "I
constantly stumble upon a farmer or a householder who has devised
a novel method. They are often simple but suited to the situation",
says Padre. Recently, he has started sharing these stories with the
CSE newsletter Catch Water as well, widening the network.
Shree is always on the look out for information on Traditional Water
Conservation Systems, Community RWH successes, Success Stories of
RWH , Commonmen spreading RWH awareness etc.He says he will be grateful
to receive & share info on these areas.
Via Perla, Kerala - 671 552
Phone : (08251) 647234 (R) ; (04998) 266148 (R)
E-mail : email@example.com
Web : www.farmedia.org/profiles/Padre.html
T R Sureshchandra
"When knowledge is combined with careful observation, solutions
are bound to be found," says T R Sureshchandra, an arecanut farmer
from Kalmadka, Karnataka. This is the way he solved his water related
problems. It all started in 1999, when he dug a 205 feet deep
bore well as a supplementary source of irrigation. He used 15 sprinklers.
The yield was good. However, to his dismay a year later the yield
started dropping. A thorough examination revealed that on the side
of this bore was a rainwater harvesting tank and in monsoon the excess
runoff used to overflow touching the casing pipe - yet there were
no signs of significant natural recharge.
Suresh, a regular reader of Adike Patrika, a local farm
magazine, had some idea about artificial recharge. He started feeding
the dry well by siphoning water from the tank during the monsoons.
Positive results encouraged him to revive another farm pond to ensure
sustained irrigation supply.
minister for industries, (Mokukchung) Nagaland
Tiameren Aier is a former state minister for industries and also owner
of teak and rubber plantations in Mokukchung district of Nagaland.
He is involved in educating people about the adverse effects of jhum
(shifting) cultivation. He has also started a college where he
plans to introduce environmental awareness training to farmers and
dropouts. Unfortunately, not many in his hometown are aware of the
green face of this former politician.
Radha and Manisha Mhaiskar
are senior officers from the Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
posted in Aurangabad and Wardha districts of Maharashtra respectively.
Their style of functioning has ensured active community participation
in developing water supply schemes, without spending a penny out of
the state exchequer. Initially it was very difficult for V Radha to
convince the people of Sarola village to revive their 30-year-old
percolation tank, which was running dry. Today, it is brimming with
water. It is the only village among the 700 in Aurangabad district
not to suffer from water scarcity. Things took a positive turn when,
instead of financial support, she offered farmers to freely use the
self-dug out silt from the pit. On its part, the administration has
ingeniously modified the Employment Guarantee Scheme - allowing people
do water related works for employment.
In Wardha, three schemes were already underway - Jalada, Sampada and
Vasundhara - when Mhaiskar came on deputation. Her challenge was to
consolidate and sequence the existing schemes to make water supply
sustainable, by involving the community. The administration has ensured
transparency at every level. The state government has applauded these
initiatives, as replicable models.
Vasimalai is Executive Director of a national NGO, Professional Assistance
for Development Action (PRADAN) in India. After his graduation in
Agronomy, he served for two years on an irrigation research program
with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Subsequently, he completed
management studies at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
He worked with a Gandhian NGO to actualize the self-governance of
villages by promoting people organizations and facilitating the implementation
of poverty alleviation programs by village assemblies. He was involved
in enhancing the capacity of NGOs in natural resource management for
more than a decade. He is a member of a national advisory committee
to the Water Resources Ministry whose goal is to build farmers' stakes
in Government programs. He is currently involved in Institutional
development of people-based economic organisations. He provided
advice to field operations in natural resource management enterprise
promotion and rural women's credit programs.
'Where there is a will there is a way', goes a popular saying, which
perfectly applies to Vijay Kedia, an Aurangabad-based mechanical engineer/builder.
While working on his family farm, his improved his understanding of
water and its various facets. Further, the knowledge of raditional
rainwater harvesting systems of Rajasthan encouraged him to innovatively
modify the existing techniques to suit the local context. The Dewas
roof water filter, Kedia-farm pattern bandhara (an earthen
dam, commonly found in Maharashtra) and a rain gauge are the result
of eight years of exploration. The potential of these low cost structures
in eradicating ecological and economic poverty has been widely acknowledged.
A Kedia bandhara costs only Rs 5,000 and can capture
70 - 80 per cent of the monsoon runoff, while keeping the soil moist
for next five to six months. It is constructed by digging a two feet
wide and eight to ten feet deep trench before the bandhara,
and refilling it with soil after vertically lining it with a PVC sheet.
The trench acts as a vertical aquifer. The PVC sheet stops the water
from percolating outside. In his farm, following the seventh century
model at Ghadasisar in Jaisalmer, the bhandaras are constructed
in a series - thus, preventing the runoff going waste. The wells are
constructed in the bottom of the bhandara - ensuring a sustained availability
These days he is actively spreading the knowledge around with
one message - "Sai jitna dee jiye, wame kutumb samaye"
(the rain god is giving us enough water, it has to be managed intelligently),
which Kedia believes can sustainably solve the water scarcity.
He has also designed a simple rain gauge, which costs only Rs
2, with a two-litre plastic bottle.
72, Pannalal Nagar
Aurangabad 431 005
Tel: 0240-2337974 / 2339934
Prominent water warrior and founder of paani panchayat, Vilasrao Salunke,
passed away on April 23 2001 following a heart attack. At the time
of his death, he was 65. Salunke has been closely associated with
CSE. He initiated a system of equitable distribution of water through
a people's council. In this system, the number of family heads with
no land holdings decides the water distribution. He is widely recognised
for his zealous effort to promote community-based management. His
works were acknowledged and honoured with the Jamnalal Bajaj Award
in 1985, and the Stockholm Award in 1986.
Gram Gaurav Pratisthan
113 St Patriks town,Cooperative Society