Initiation of water harvesting: 1986
Water is a major agent of change in this village. Hardevsingh
Jadeja, the former sarpanch and the present block president
of 90 villages in Rajkot district, is proud that his village has generated
an income of Rs 5 crore, much higher than expected. In 2001, the village
generated an income of Rs 4.5 crore (see Down To Earth, Vol 10, No
6, August 15, 2001). It is one of the few villages in Gujarat to have
had three bumper crops in a single season.
Nearly 15 years ago, its people faced a major water crisis. The
groundwater table had receded to a depth of 250 metres. By 1985,
villagers started to build check dams and tanks by using funds under
the District Rural Development Authority (drda) programme (see Down
To Earth, Vol 10, No 2, June 15, 2001).
They built 45 check dams over an area of 1,090 hectares (ha). Last
year, the village received 400 mm of rainfall while this year, even
with no sign of rain, water is available at a depth of 15 metres.
Easier availability of water also led to an increase in cultivated
land area (see table: Water benefits).
With last year's bumper harvest, the village granaries are full.
The villagers have planted trees and constructed pipelines to supply
drinking water to individual homes.
Both Jadeja and Devji Baba, the present sarpanch are members of
the powerful village development committee (vdc), the body that
takes decisions on village welfare schemes, their management, finance
and people's participation. It has the power to even overrule decisions
of government officials that may be detrimental to the interests
of the village. This body has also ushered in social change. "Anyone
found littering or wasting water is fined Rs 50. "It is mandatory
for all girls to attend school," Jadeja informs.
Now the village uses remote sensing technique and geographic information
systems (gis) to locate subsurface dykes to store water. These are
natural underground water channels, which have gone dry over time.
But once excavated and injected with rainwater, these help in faster
recharge of ground water. Jadeja has a gis map of the entire taluk
. He has also helped in building check dams in the neighbouring villages
of Aniala and Kasturbadham, which has benefited the entire region
under Jadeja. This village shows all the necessary ingredients for
success: A visionary leader, a village institution to take decisions
and community participation in resource management
Source: Lalakiya, Jayesh, Unpublished
Report, A Study on Efficiency of Check Dams as a Water Harvesting
Techniques for Saurashtra, SBST, CEPT, pp21
RAJ SAMADHIYALA: WATER
|Land under cultivation (ha)
|Land irrigation (ha)
|Ground water level (m)Pre-monsoon
||1 to 3
|Perennial drinking water wells
|No. of trees
|Per hectare income (Rs)
Raj Samadhiyala has survived the drought of 2002 as well. Jadeja says,
"Earlier village was only doing rainfed agriculture but now we
are taking three crops. The agricultural production has gone up to
35 to 50 Mun (1 Mun = 20 Kg) of groundnut from 5 Mun. They are also
growing cotton now." Virendra Bhai, a shop owner says, "My
income has almost doubled as compared to that od eighties. Now there
is no credit business"
To Earth, June 30, 2002
Also read: Down
To Earth, January 15, 2001