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.
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
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
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.
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'.
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 works.
Ram Karan Bhadhana
Laporiya, P O Gugardu,
Jaipur 303 008
He is the district collector of Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh,
who is actively involved in not only creating awareness on water
conservation and its management but working towards making it
a reality as well. R K Gupta 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
people here, have remarkable achievements to highlight like,
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.
The chief executive officer, zilla panchayat, R K 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 that "Rainwater
should not walk, it should crawl and creep", that is
after every ten meters (m), and earthen structures are constructed
to store and percolate the runoff. Even five to seven centimetres
(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",
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.
The program does not attract people with entry point activities
(like construction of road or temple) unlike the other watershed
programs. "In 2001, we started with 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", shared Gupta.
Following are some of the 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,"
- 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 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", happily shared a villager.
- The villagers of Dhotakheda collectively constructed a
kuccha bandh on a seasonal nallah - Chotapchaad. With this
structure not only their annual water problem was solved,
but they 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. With the result, the well
that used to dry up in the month of January had water at
ten feet - enough water to irrigate the rabi crop.
Chief executive officer
Tel: 0733 - 23264