In two villages in Aurangabad, Shelud and Chartha, there are 16 defunct Kolhapur type weirs along the Dudhna river basin. Under Project Tushar Samruddhi , initiated by IL&FS CSR in collaboration with Savitribai Phule Mahila Ekatma Samaj Manch (SPMESM) and CII Western region, 2 defunct KT weirs were refurbished along the Dudhana river basin during the FY 2014-15.

The project has become a successful model of community development work. The first phase of the project, attracted many local partners and farmers; who contributed and participated in ways that were not anticipated or expected. The refurbished weirs have enhanced the storage and ground water recharge currently available in the villages.

An initial impact of the project was felt when, during the 2014-15 monsoons, the region only received less than half of the annual rainfall. Instead of 600 – 650mm, Shelud & Chartha, recorded only 297mm of rainfall from June – Dec 2014.

Thanks to the project, the villages have their own stock of drinking water, at least till April or May, which would not have been possible, considering the drought, without the Tushar Samruddhi project; which was a fact acknowledged by the villagers.

In spite of a flat 70% decrease in Cotton and Maize, the main crop, in Aurangabad region due to the rainfall this year, the villages of Shelud and Chartha were relatively less affected. The cotton yield was near normal and maize yield only decreased by 30% because the farmers were able to sustain the longer dry spells through protective irrigation; which was possible due to the increased ground water, made available by the KT weirs. Now a total of 300 acres, spanning across the two villages, have protected irrigation mechanisms in place.

Additionally, due to this intervention the farmers of two villages were able to save 71 acres out of the total 174 acres of pomegranate orchards. That generated income that they are heavily dependent up on. The farmers were able to achieve this by transferring water from the wells on the banks of the KT weirs, to 37 Farm Ponds, all within a 2km radius, to feed the orchards. Over 66700 CuM of water, collected in the refurbished KT weirs, was used to fill these 37 farm ponds.

In April 2015, all partners of the project met with the villagers to review the progress of the project and to plan the next phase. Present at the meeting was Mr. Alok Bhargawa – SIG, IL&FS, Mr. Rajeev Ahal-SIG, IL&FS, Mr. Sriram Chandran – Chairman CII Aurangabad, Mr. Sandip Nagori – Vice Chairman CII Aurangabad Mr. Prashant Deshpande -CII Aurangabad, Mr. Yogesh Kapse SIG, IL&FS, Dr. Prasanna Patil- SPMESM, Mr Suhas Ajgoankar – SPMESM. Also in attendance were many villagers, farmers and the Sarpanchs of two villages, Chartha and Shelud. Furthermore, the villagers showed willingness to participate in the work and take the project further to refurbishing 3 more defunct weirs.

After the demonstrated success of the Tushar Samruddhi Project, there has been an increasing demand from the nearby villages for expansion; endorsing the relevance of the project to combat water scarcity.

 


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