Initiation of water harvesting: 1993
Villagers of Mandlikpur have benefited from well water recharging
and check dams. In 1993, this village began recharging its 150-odd
wells. Today, this village has about 300 wells in which water is available
at a depth of 18-30 metres. Well recharging was initiated by the Saurashtra
Lok Manch (slm), a non-governmental organisation (ngo) (see Down To
Earth , Vol 10, No 2, June 15, 2001).
In 2002, villagers further invested in water harvesting infrastructure.
With help from organisations like Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation
(baif), villagers contributed 10 per cent of the cost through shramdaan
or voluntary labour, to raise seven large check dams and make five
farm ponds. Water will be diverted from the check dams to the ponds
and recharge the wells in the coming monsoon.
But most of these wells are in the north and east of the village.
Nearly 40 per cent of the households, geographically located at
a higher level in the southwest, did not benefit from well recharging.
"Simply because they are not interested," says Vijay Bhai
Senjhalia, a villager.
In the drought of 2001, the entire village had drinking water (see
Down To Earth , Vol 10, No 2, June 15, 2001). But following the
monsoon in 2001, villagers with land in the recharged zone could
manage to cultivate crops (see Down To Earth, Vol 10, No 6, August
15, 2001) while the other side faced a crisis. Mandlikpur excelled
in groundnut production. Most farmers netted an annual income of
Rs 1 lakh. Last year before monsoon, Senjhalia managed 100 kilogrammes
(kg) of groundnut, while this year he reaped 400 kg per ha.
Today, while the neighbouring villages and water-parched towns
of Jethpur and Dhoraji depend on water tankers, nearly 50 per cent
of the houses in Mandlikpur have rooftop rainwater storage facilities.
However, the absence of a central village institution like a local
water committee fails to motivate the complacent. These villagers
are excited about water benefits expected from the Sardar Sarovar
project over the Narmada river. Hence even the panchayat is not
interested in motivating villagers to recharge their wells. "We
are getting Narmada water," says Savadasbhai Sanjalia, the
village sarpanch . Narmada water was recently made available to
the village but the supply was erratic. "In their enthusiasm
over receiving Narmada waters, villagers should not forget to recharge
their wells and harvest roof water," warns Shamjibhai Antala
Source: Down To Earth, June 30, 2002