Since 2015, we have initiated integrated watershed development projects in the drought prone regions of Beed (Maharashtra), Siddipet (Telangana) and Magadi (Karnataka). The aim is to enable farming communities in semi-arid areas to become less vulnerable by adopting land use and water management practices by managing the use of land and water resources in a comprehensive manner. Watershed development involves restructuring of a valley to arrest or slow down rainfall and allow it to percolate into the soil. This helps in increasing the water table and availability of water for irrigation and domestic purposes. In regions dependent on agriculture, resultant higher water table ensures year-round cropping..
Our projects cover over 10,000 ha of land and will help restore the ecological balance of the region. The population in these villages is largely dependent on agriculture and belong to marginalised communities.Our intervention will improve the livelihoods for approximately 4,700 households.
We expect to restore close to 10 million kl of water per annum through these projects, which would be made available for agriculture requirements of the region and help to mitigate the impact of drought in future years. In addition, the project ensures adoption of sustainable farming practices by local farmers further contributing to water and soil regeneration.
The process of setting up a watershed management project is done in a participatory manner through the formation of a Village Watershed Committee. The committee is required to represent all sections of the community with at least 30% participation by women. The committee members are also provided access to finance from formal financial sources. This results in women getting opportunities to have a say in the management of their community’s natural resources.
The rising water table would result in improved agricultural productivity, which in turn will help generate local employment, reduce migration and increase household income. Off-farm activities such as dairy and poultry farming will also be positively impacted through our animal husbandry programmes. Going ahead, we will integrate these training programmes in the watershed project implementation.
A large number of women participate in watershed development and this will help in the formation of credit-linked women SHGs. Secondary impact such as, improvement in education, health and housing will enable holistic development of the region.
We have partnered with the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) for a 4-year period to ensure India’s most drought prone agricultural belts become less vulnerable to climate change. With NABARD we are jointly partnering with local NGOs that are carrying out the on-ground work in the villages.