The NITI Aayog recently commended the impact of community best practices for watershed management, in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
“Local community in the water scarce Parasai-Sindh region of Jhansi, #UttarPradesh increased groundwater level by 2-5 meters & made 100 acres of land cultivable by constructing check dams, farm ponds and renovating existing structures in 8 locations. #BestWaterPractices” – said a recent Facebook post from NITI Aayog’s handle.
The Parasai-Sindh watershed of Babina block, Jhansi, was jointly developed by ICAR-Central Agroforestry Research Institute, Jhansi, and ICRISAT Development Center, ICRISAT, with the involvement of the local community between 2012 and 2016. The project focused on rainwater harvesting, productivity enhancement interventions and agroforestry works.
Renovation of traditional water-harvesting tanks and construction of check dams on a major stream in the village helped increase the storage capacity for rainwater to nearly 100,000 m3. These water-harvesting structures saved over 200,000 m3 of runoff, on average, every year, raising the groundwater table by 2–5 meters. This benefited crop intensification (from 80% to 140%) and enhanced crop yield (20–30%) and production, both in Kharif and Rabi seasons. Nearly 100 ha of fallow land in upland areas were also brought under cultivation with enhanced groundwater availability.
The intervention subsequently reduced fodder scarcity and enhanced milk production. Overall, by the end of the 4-year project, household income in this region more than doubled.
ICRISAT, with over 40 years of expertise in watershed development, has supported watershed-based community initiatives in more than 300 locations across Asia and Africa.