It is well known that large water bodies such as oceans and rivers affect the climate. Although to a smaller extent, ponds also impact the surrounding climate; the ‘local climate’. The opportunity here lies in the fact that, unlike large oceans and lakes, ponds are easier to create and to manage. With good management and design choices, ponds can be significant assets in creating conducive local climates in (agro)ecosystems.
Persuading the women farmers to set aside some land for creating water harvesting structures seemed a Herculean challenge initially; however, when they saw the numerous benefits and ways to increase their household income, they became crusaders espousing the project and encouraging others to follow suit!
With a little bit of support and encouragement, the women of the community prove to be natural leaders, stepping into the unknown, being capable of taking decisions, and carrying forward the work of improving the standard of their lives, physically and economically. The women of Majhidi-Gokulnagar exemplify this in no uncertain terms.
Working on finding scientific ways to increase the availability of water in villages through most of the year led to collaboration between various stakeholders, including the community, the forest department, the MGNREGA cell and PRADAN. The secret lay in inclusion, building trust and collaboration while working for a common goal.
Supporting the villagers with technical know-how, introducing them to new ways of conserving the more-than-adequate rainwater each year, tying up with government agencies and programmes not only led to alleviating poverty and malnutrition but also gave the village women the confidence to take on leadership positions in local bodies
Decentralised participatory planning through MGNREGA to create durable livelihood assets like farm ponds, orchards, etc, has helped the farmers to increase their livelihood baskets and stopped distressed migration
Recognizing the importance of having a perennial source of water when planning any agricultural activity and change, the SHG women of Kelaur, supported by PRADAN and government departments, installed solar energy-powered water pumps, leading them to cultivating vegetables and fruit in their homesteads, which brought about a sea change in their economic status and self-sufficiency
Using the provisions under MGNREGA to gainfully engage the thousands of migrant labour, who are fleeing big cities and returning to their villages, is a productive way to turn the global crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity for creating assets that support rural livelihoods and lead to self-sufficiency.
Rain-fed rivers usually run dry in the months before the monsoon season. Rejuvenating a river is a complex, highly skilled and an essential process in order to sustain life and livelihoods all along its banks.
Finding a way to harvest rainwater by creating freshwater pockets in existing saline aquifers is a novel and creative way to solve the drinking water problem in the arid regions of Haryana, which have very few surface water resources