Jal Jagruti Abhiyan
“Since my childhood, I’ve never seen so much of water in the nalla and in my farm well.”
- Pandurang, farmer from Maske Village, Latur, Maharashtra
The only source of water in Latur, a district of Maharashtra, is rains. In recent years, owing to the erratic nature of the monsoons and the overuse of ground water, drought has become fairly common. Over the course of many dry summers, all water sources including local rivers, streams have dried and groundwater has been exhausted. In many areas, the farmers have barely any water left for drinking, let alone farming.
Under our “Jal Jagruti Abhiyaan” initiated in 2013, The Art of Living adopted four villages within Latur. Working closely with the local community we were able to rejuvenate a local rain-fed river that had been dry for decades. Subsequently, hundreds of acres of dry abandoned farmlands were reclaimed, forest and green cover increased, soil erosion and rainwater runoff significantly restricted.
What change did we bring?
The immediate impact of the project was drinking water supply being restored to the entire population of the four adopted villages. Irrigation was made possible to hundreds of acres of previously unused land.
The long-term impact that we achieved is the sense of ownership that the local community has developed about local water resources. They have now started working proactively for water retention and are taking up more responsibility of the issues that they are facing.
How does the journey look so far?
- Work completed - 290 km
- Work in progress in 60 km
- Work done in 9 districts
- Work in progress in 6 districts
- 25 rivers have been rejuvenated in Maharashtra; 3 in Karnataka and 4 in Tamil Nadu
- Work in progress in Manjara River, Latur. Total six rivers in Latur
- Canals - 75
- Lakes and ponds - 18
- Dam - Gangapur Dam in Nashik
- Total number of villages benefited - 102
- Over 2 lakh beneficiaries
- 28.5 Lakh cubic meter silt removed
- Over 10,150 acres of land irrigated
- Length of rivers and canals covered - 44,095 meters
How did we work?
We engaged with the local community and met with a lot of resistance and pessimism. We worked with them patiently and provided them with a roadmap of how the transformation could be achieved. Slowly, the villagers started to believe in the vision and once we had the community buy-in, we started implementation. All the work was done by voluntary labor from the local community. This has lead to a deep sense of responsibility amongst the local people.
What did we learn?
Most regions in India that lie south of the Vindhyas are currently suffering with acute water shortage. We cannot depend on government interventions alone to solve this problem. We have to actively engage the local community and local bodies to work towards a solution.