Harnessing the rain
Water scarcity remains a stark reality in many parts of India. Villages in and around the coastline are affected by soil salinity, which impacts the life of farmers and villagers in a major way as fresh water for irrigation is not easily available. One of the most effective ways of conserving water is rain water harvesting as it improves water quality, recharges ground water and ensures fresh water sufficiency.
In villages in Jamnagar, a few kilometres from the coast, the farmers are happy now; their crops are growing after more than a decade of failure. These farmers have benefited from Essar Foundation's water resource development project that has targeted ten villages in a unique rain water harvesting programme. Initiated in early 2013, the project is based on a rigorous assessment study conducted by Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF), the technical partner for the project. To date, work has been carried out in the villages of Jhakhar, Singach and Vadinar to harvest rain water in watershed structures and make fresh water available for agriculture and drinking purposes.
New water harvesting structures have been created and existing structures repaired. Tasks like pond deepening, repairing existing dams, creating check dams, nala plugging, well recharge structures, farm ponds, and the creation of percolation tanks have resulted in fresh water all year round.
The project has created water storage of more than 70 million litres and a recharge capacity of about 230 million litres, benefiting more than a thousand families in the vicinity. In the next phase of the project, the villages of Mithoi, Kathi Devaria and Timbdi have been earmarked for water resource development work.