Dahod District, Gujarat:
MAHUDI: Dahod, Gujarat
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
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
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