In distressing times of water crisis, some villages, which have effectively proofed themselves from droughts, stand out. This was made possible by not just constructing irrigation infrastructure, but also managing them effectively.
METHODOLOGY 1. Water Resource Management: a.Constructing small ponds, bunds, reservoirs, harvest rainwater, recharge groundwater- maintains adequate water for farming, consumption. b. Calculate, disseminate information on water levels, consumption and rationalising usage, with the help of hydrologists, Panchayats, village committees etc.
2. Ecological Farming: a. Growing trees, furrows, to increase water holding capacity of farms. Practice drip irrigation to increase efficiency. b. Ecologically sustainable farming based on water availability, soil health etc. e.g. growing green/black gram, millet, pulses, groundnut, instead of cotton, sugarcane in low rainfall areas. Shift sowing season, crop rotation, inter-cropping, organic farming (using cow dung/urine, neem) etc. c. Community grazing- ensure adequate fodder, and even fuel e.g. by growing bamboo, dhaman etc.
Thus, farmers not only cushioned against droughts, but also greatly enhanced incomes.
ADOPTING FOR OTHER PARTS 1. Conduct hydrological study, consult and involve local community, for constructing long-lasting infrastructure for irrigation andconservation. MGNREGA ideal for this. 2. Capacity building for water budgeting, managing and sharing resources, planning crops, using fertilisers etc. 3. Ensure awareness and usage of Soil Health Cards for conserving soil nutrition for sustainable agriculture. 4. Promote micro-finance to enable individual infrastructure constructions. 5. Enable a network of “farm schools” (suggested by Prof. Swaminathan) to test, develop, and disseminate new technologies, seeds, practices etc.
Thus, the objective of govt. must be in making villages SMART to make feasible, informed decisions for long-term sustainability.