Harvesting Water In India
March 22, 2019
The United Nations has designated March 22nd as World Water Day. This blog is based on a case studies from the 2016 and 2017 Global Agricultural Productivity Reports.
Eighty-percent of agriculture relies is rainfed, which creates significant challenges for farmers are around the world who are struggling to adjust to climate change and shifting weather patterns. For these farmers, harvesting water is as important as harvesting their crop. They need tools and techniques to more efficiently capture, store and manage water to remain productive during dry seasons and to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In rural India, consistent access to water is a critical issue. Two thirds of agriculture in India is rainfed, but the seasonal monsoons alternate with long, dry periods, making it difficult for communities to maintain an adequate groundwater supply.
The Mosaic Villages Project, a partnership between The Mosaic Company and the S M Sehgal Foundation, funded the construction of check dams in Santhawadi, Pathkhori, Nangal Hasanpur and Khohar. A check dam is a barrier across a drainage ditch or small waterway that counteracts erosion by reducing water flow velocity.
The check dams capture and store rainwater, which is then funneled into the underground aquifer, recharging groundwater levels and reducing salinity so that water can be used for consumption or irrigation. The check dams sponsored by The Mosaic Village Project have directly and indirectly benefited more than 52,000 people, and have a total reservoir capacity of more than 14 million gallons.
A Comprehensive Approach
In addition to the check dams, Mosaic and the Seghal Foundation collaborate on the Krishi Jyoti Project, a comprehensive approach to improving agricultural productivity, livelihoods and communities is some of the remotes villages in India. Krishi Jyoti (or “enlightened agriculture”) has directly benefited more than 26,000 farmers from 60 villages and boosted cultivation across nearly 16,000 acres of land.
The project helps farmers improve the productivity of three crops: pearl millet, wheat and mustard. It focuses on five key aspects of agricultural production: soil health, seed and fertilizer, water management, agronomic training and market linkages.
Village leaders selected farmers representing all castes and landholding sizes to participate in the program.
With balanced crop nutrition practices — using the right mix of macro- and micro-nutrients to meet the needs of the crops and soils — together with agronomic expertise and financial support, farmers increased yields by as much as 35 percent over traditional farming practices.
Average income per acre has also grown between 4,480 Rs ($70 US) for wheat to 5,760 Rs ($90 US) for mustard.
Communities participating in the Krishi Jyoti Project are using the additional income to help create a better life for future generations. The S M Sehgal Foundation and Mosaic funded renovations for 20 schools in Alwar, Mewat and Sonipat — including adding sanitation facilities, safe drinking water systems and school kitchens.