Mahudi, Dahod District, Gujarat:
MAHUDI: Dahod, Gujarat
Population: 600
Initiation of water harvesting: 1992

Just four days of rain have given this village drinking water security! "This would not be possible without our check dam," says Surtabhai, an old villager. The village valiantly battles the threat of a fourth consecutive drought year.

In 1992, the villagers constructed the first check dam on the seasonal river Machhan, with the help of N M Sadguru Water and Development Foundation (NMSWDF), a Dahod-based NGO. A decade ago, the village was just barren land. Just one check dam made all the difference. Subsequently, the villagers built two more check dams.

This year, villagers have put in labour to construct a pipeline system to bring drinking water on tap, from a well near the check dam to each falia or house cluster. Women no longer have to go long distances in search of water.

Villagers also control the use of water through the local village institution, called the lift irrigation committee. It ensures an equitable distribution of water and helps villagers take critical decisions to mitigate the impact of drought. For instance, last year, the committee decided to save water for drinking (see Down To Earth , Vol 10, No 2, June 15, 2001). It therefore banned use of water intensive crops like groundnut.

This year too, the committee has similarly prioritised the use of water. In early summer, the committee after taking stock of water availability allowed the cultivation of maize to provide fodder for livestock. It also has rules for judicious use of water.

Water sufficiency has impacted agriculture too. "The check dams have ensured water availability and good agricultural yield. Consequently, migration into nearby towns for work has virtually stopped," said Kanhaya Choudhary, senior project executive with NMSWDF.

The village committee also enjoys good relations with neighbouring villages. When Mahudi ran short of water for irrigation, the committee successfully negotiated with Kharsana, the neighbouring village situated upstream, to release water from their check dam, earlier than scheduled. Kharsana obliged and Mahudi could meet its immediate water needs. Mahudi thus saved its crops from ruin. "This incident has helped the two villages to strike a strong relationship," said Nansalai of Mahudi.

Although, the village has sufficient water for drinking and irrigation, they are surviving on ground water. This year, at the brink of monsoons, villagers are hoping that the rains will help them reinvest in their water bank.

December 2002: Water harvesting has brought good fortune to the villagers. This village now receives piped water supply for drinking from the well created at dam site. There was also a substantial increase in agricultural production. Sixty five farmers irrigated about hundred acres of land during the drought season. Dharu Bhai, chairman of Mahudi lift irrigation co-operative says, "Earlier we were taking only one crop in rainy season--maize or pigeon pea. But after the checkdam construction we are able to take three crops. Also, Farmers are now cultivating gram, wheat and vegetables". There is no change in livestock population but increase in fodder availability has increased the milk yield. Economic resurgence is also happening in this village. They have a jeep, tractor, three rickshaws, and a grain mill. More over the two mahila mandals in the hamlet has a deposit of around 65,000.

More about Harnath Jagawat who heads NMSWDF
No water
Water war
Look up!
How to harvest
    In rural areas
 n In urban areas
Jal yodhas
Way ahead
Center for Science & Environment CSE Store Equity Watch Gobar Times Down to Earth
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