Work in Devprayag Block, TehriGarhwal, Uttrakhand:
AADHAAR is working in 7 villages of two Panchayats Mahar and Kimkhola (block Devprayag, District Tehri). The population of these panchayat is around 2500 and also has around 965 animal populations. These panchayats have around 280 hectare of agricultural land.
Situated adjacent to each other, Gram Panchayat Mahar and Kimkhola (block Hindolakhal, Tehsil Devprayag, District Tehri) are situated on the highway connecting Devprayag-Hindolakhal to Tehri.
Panchayat Mahar is situated adjustment to the road and has four revenue villages scattered over a geographical area of three-four kms while Panchayat Kimkhola is situated in the mountain, about four k.m. from the highway. These panchayats fall in semi arid, lower ranges of mountains and are therefore more prone to acute water shortage especially in summers.
Although both the panchayats are covered by tap water scheme, the supply feeds about twenty seven- twenty eight panchayats and covers a distance of twenty one-twenty two kms before reaching Mahar and Kimkhola panchayats. Being the last two panchayats to be served by this water pipeline, these panchayats receive water supply for .5-1 hours once in 3-4 days for most part of the year with the situation getting worse in summers.
With no provision for irrigation and the agriculture dependent on infrequent and irregular rainfall, most of the families have given up agriculture. This has also resulted in migration in the panchayats. According to the community, there has been an 80% decrease in cultivation in the panchayats over the years due to drought as a result of which, the once fertile land now lies barren. The traditional water conservation structures like “Chaals’ etc are lying in a state of neglect and have dried up.
On the other hand total drinking water demand for the panchayats is10000lpcd as government of India norms (40 lpcd/day) and if we include animal population in this, villages need 28950 lpcd (@30lpcd) more water per day. More over at least 3500 cubic meter per hectares water is required for crops.
To overcome with these problems AADHAAR is working on a project-Community Action for Sustaining Livelihood through Promoting Rain Water Management and Environmental Conservation with the support of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The main interventions of the project are areound natural resource mangement and rain water harvesting.
Working in Solan, Himachal:
AADHAAR members have been providing support to H.P Institute of Public Admistration , Himachal Pradesh and were actively involved in capacity building & strengthening PRIs. AADHAAR has adopted Gram Panchayat Delgi of Kandaghat block (H.P.) for model building work under Lab to Land through voluntary interventions.
AADHHAR members have also prepared IEC under the programme for information dissemination among rural masses.
Work in Tehri Garhwal, Uttrakhand
“Community Action for Sustaining Livelihood through Promoting Rain Water Management and Environmental Conservation”
I. About the Project
Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) has been supporting AADHAAR under the project “Community Action for Sustaining Livelihood through Promoting Rain Water Management and Environmental Conservation” since Feb 2013. This year long support has been crucial for the organization as SDTT was the first funder to support the nascent organization to work on the issue of rain water management with the long-term objective of sustaining livelihood in the region.
Under the project, five (5) villages of Gram Panchayat Mahar (Block Devprayag, District Tehri Garhwal) are being covered which has a total population of about 1212 besides animal population of about 622 (mainly buffaloes, cows and goats). These villages face acute water shortage almost drought like conditions in the summers. As a result, the locals have given up agriculture while women and children in the villages spend most of the day fetching water from nearby available sources. Water is thus the biggest concern facing the community in the Panchayat and adjacent areas.
II. What was proposed under the Project?
Under the project, it was proposed to develop some model strategies and solutions to address the problem of water scarcity, which include constructing rain water harvesting structures ( ferro cement tank and LDPE tanks) with community participation, plantation (fodder and other trees), constructing infiltration tanks etc with the participation of community collectives (SHG and others).
III. Outcomes of the Project
During the yearlong implementation, the project has been able to deliver on outputs and objectives proposed under the project. Given that the project support was for the duration of one year, it is very early to speak in terms of the impact of the project but objectives that had been set out under the project have been achieved to a great extent.
a. Community Mobilisation: Given that there are no community collectives in the field area (formal or informal), 6 women SHGs have been formed. SHG members now understand the importance of savings and are now starting credit and inter-loaning among them. There is a collective saving of Rs. 1.2 lac (approx.) in the SHGs. Village Water and Sanitation Committee has also been formed which has been actively engaged in planning and monitoring of the field level activities relating to construction. It also facilitated community contribution (cash and kind) for the construction of water tanks. However, these community based groups are in their nascent stage and would need continuous support in order to sustain and grow.
b. LDPE Tanks for agriculture promotion through rain water conservation: As proposed, 20 LDPE tanks have been constructed in the field as model structures for promoting agriculture through rain water conservation. The proposed size for the tanks is 9 cubic meters but there have been cases where the beneficiaries have contributed their share in cash and kind in which case, the size of the tanks has varied. It is expected that the households would benefit from increased agricultural production (cereals, vegetables etc) due to availability of water for agriculture in the agricultural fields itself.
Also, instead of using plastic sheets at the base of the tanks, a different technique (based on local knowledge) has been used whereby the tank floors have been cemented to give more permanence to the structures.
C. Catchment Area Protection (gully plugging-Stone cratewire Check-dam): Three stone crate wire check-dams have been constructed on the seasonal water stream (locally called Gadera) in the Gram Panchayat in order to prevent massive loss of water during the rainy season. Three check dams have been constructed under the project with contribution from the Gram Panchayat in kind.
D. Ferro Cement Tank: 18 Ferro cement tanks (3000 ltrs) have been constructed in the villages with contribution in cash and kind from individual beneficiaries. These tanks would serve the daily needs of the households especially during summers when the villages face acute water crisis.
E. Infiltration Well: One Infiltration well is being constructed on the same water stream (gadera) which is also being treated through check-dam construction. The site was selected on the basis of the local knowledge about availability of water in the stream all throughout the year. This is a new technique of water conservation that is being introduced in the region and if successful, it would serve as a model before the community as well as the district admn.
F. Plantation: With community participation, plantation was carried out both on individual as well as community land. Both fodder and horticulture saplings were planted to promote green coverage in and around villages. Out of the total 2000, about 25% saplings have survived the first year. 80% of the saplings planted in individual land have survived.
G. Capacity Building of SHG and VWSC members through Exposure visits:
With no formal or informal community based groups existing in the field area prior to the project, it was essential to provide these new groups with information and knowledge on issues pertaining to collectivization and group management. Information was imparted to these groups informally during the monthly meetings and through exposure visits. Sri Bhubaneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA), Anjanisain (Tehri Garhwal) and Grassroots (Ranikhet) were visited by the members of the groups to learn from other organizations and the initiatives that women SHGs are involved. The visits have helped these women to understand the importance of these groups and how this could lead the way for their economic betterment.
IV. Impact in the Field
With the project ending in Feb 2014, one of the main impacts is that the community is increasingly beginning to realize the importance of social collectives especially women who have formed SHGs. These women now understand how their small initiative could lead to social and economic changes at the community level and especially after the exposure visit to Grassroots, women are thinking of starting inter loaning to get involved in livelihood promotion activities. At the same time, a segment of the community is beginning to realize the need for rain water conservation and have asked for AADHAAR’s support on the issue of water and sanitation in the future as well.
It is clearly visible in the Gram Panchayat that Households, who have constructed rain water harvesting ferro cement tanks, are using them for washing cloths and utensils. Interestingly they found tanks very useful in religious or marriage ceremonies. Through these tanks, around 1,08000 liters (3000 liter X 2 times X 18 Tanks) water is saved. Similarly LDPE tanks would help in storing at-least 180000 liters (9000 liters X 20 Tanks) for agriculture purposes.