STORING RAINDROPS FOR RESUSCITATIONSTORING RAINDROPS FOR RESUSCITATIONIn the summers of 2002, Dr. Vibha Gupta met the women from Girad village of Samudrapur block, Wardha, who informed about the acute water crisis in their village. In addition, they explained how a mass exodus from the adjoining three water-scarce villages has aggravated their crisis. On reaching Girad, she found that the wells were drying. Ugly fights and violence at water sources ended in police station. The local farmers were undergoing a terrible economic crisis as 80 percent farmers were reeling under heavy debts taken for purchasing chemical farm inputs.
In search of water, tigers from the adjoining forest moved down to these villages. Outside villages refused to marry their daughters to men of these villages; and liquor booths were outnumbering food stalls. The famous pilgrimage – Farid Baba Dargah – annually attracted 15-20 lakh pilgrims, whose water needs also added to this water crisis.
With the help of the local community, MSS led an anti-liquor campaign and succeeded in banning its sale. Then, a detailed watershed action plan was prepared and CAPART agreed to fund it.
In three years, watershed structures and 36,000 new trees planted by community started showing results. The level of groundwater and well-water in the village rose by 5-6 feet. Initially during summers, these villages were supplied 2.4 crore litres of drinking water through water tankers, costing Ten Lakh rupees. Now a regular supply of tap water has replaced these water tankers.
CONSERVING PRESERVING SOIL EROSIONCurrently, seven community ponds and 50 farm ponds provide irrigation to 1,000 farmers. Farm bunds and drains brought 200-acre additional land under cultivation. A total of 5602 Metric Ton soil is also saved from erosion. MSS conserved a total watershed area of 2500 hectares. It has constructed 36 kilometre long Continuous Contour Trenches (CCTs) to check rainwater from flowing down the Girad Tekri ( or hillock) over which is situated the Farid Baba Dargah. It has succeeded in conserving 9000 cubic metres of water during every monsoon by constructing Gulley Plugs, CCT stone bunds and several other measures to catch every raindrop falling on the hillock.
To prevent farmers from polluting and misusing water , Natural Farming wAS introduced to local farmers. These farmers use no chemicals, optimally utilize water, show noticeable rise in productivity and have saved the expenditure on chemical farm inputs, amounting to nearly 2.5 crore rupees.