The short film “Under the Blazing Sun” was shot during the summers of 2016 and 2017 in two semi- arid districts of Maharashtra in India. The film attempts to explore the problem of heat stress experienced by rural communities. While urban population is better equipped to tackle the heat problem, is that the case with the rural population? If yes how? If not then, what are their problems?

The year 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded globally according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).The effects of these rising temperatures are felt acutely in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, India where heat-waves are a common phenomenon. The impacts of these heat-waves are understudied as most existing studies focus primarily on urban areas.

In a new paper researchers at WOTR examine how agricultural practices in rural Maharashtra are being transformed in response to climatic and non-climatic challenges. Using WOTR’s vulnerability assessment tool, Co-DriVE-PD, we found that caste and community had important bearings on people’s livelihoods, approaches to agriculture, and resource access – all of which affected their vulnerability. […]

By WOTR’s Agriculture Team According to the Gaia theory, earth’s physical and biological processes are linked to form a self-regulating and self-aware system. The regulating processes are often slow and continue over decades or even centuries. With the increasing human interventions; appropriation of most of the natural resources in a hasty manner to fulfill the need […]

This week Eshwer Kale, a researcher at WOTR appeared on NDTV India’s Prime Time with Ravish Kumar to discuss the implications of the government’s emphasis on farm ponds in the budget. On the show Eshwer explained that the implementation and use of farm ponds Maharashtra, where farmers fill huge farm ponds, lined with plastic, by pumping groundwater is a cause for worry. This practice, rather than reducing the vulnerability of rural communities, may result in declining groundwater levels and the de facto privatisation of what was once a shared resource.

In Rural India, bazaars are still a grand weekly event, where makeshift stalls appear on the roadside for the day. It is an amalgamation of culture, emotions and colours. Apart from selling a variety of products ranging from vegetables to clothes, from livestock to sweetmeats, these are places where people meet, catch up, and network with each other.
This photo essay showcases some glimpses captured from our visit to the weekly bazaar at Dhavalpuri.

The construction of farm pond is being portrayed as a miracle strategy by the state as well as by the popular media but, the manner of its implementation and practice in arid and semi-arid regions of Maharashtra needs immediate attention. WOTR’s recent commentary published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) and the Vanrai special edition (Marathi) highlights the need for regulating the overall farm pond practices. It also proposes different strategies as corrective measures to the ongoing implementation of these structures.

Our perceptions and plans to address issues revolving around our water resources need to adapt if we are to respond effectively to the challenge of climate change. Most of our surface water bodies and aquifers are stressed not just in terms of availability of water but also at the quality front. The reasons can be attributed to changes in the timing, form and intensity of precipitation; changes in agricultural practices, urbanisation, industrial pollution and the use of surface and groundwater . It has the potential to have a long lasting impact on various ecosystems and their services that we are completely dependent on. The impacts are likely to affect the ongoing and future programs designed to protect water quality, public health, safety and livelihood of people. With this in mind, WOTR’s Groundwater and Ecology team continued to explore villages in their second leg of Mula-Pravara sub-basinal seasonal study to assess the reasons for the declining water quality.

87 villages across 3 blocks of Ambad, Bhokardan and Jafrabad in Jalna district of Maharashtra are a part of the PPCP project (Public – Private – Civil Partnership), joint effort between the Government of Maharashtra, Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) and Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR).

WOTR participated at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that took place in Marrakech, Morocco from the 7th to 18th November 2016.