Category Current Posts

A quarter of India’s lands turning into deserts

-By Arjuna Srinidhi More than a quarter of the country is turning to desert, including the degradation of agricultural areas (ISRO, 2016).  Analyses of satellite images show India has about 32% of its land affected by degradation, of which desertification is a major component. New areas in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and eastern […]

” Thoda toh socho “

On the occasion of the World Environment Day we attempted to make a a stop block motion film;a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example to give animated figures the impression of movement. The film reminds us about simple solutions that we often take for granted. 

Enterprising agriculturalist 2: Entrepreneurship and Employment in a village in Western Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, agriculture serves as a major source of rural livelihood. This sector is most vulnerable to climate change, as it is highly dependent on weather, and the vagaries of the climate. Given this uncertainty people are continually modifying their agricultural practices to suit their specific needs, available knowledge and resources. In this blog, following our earlier blog on pomegranate cultivation, we turn to a village in Jalna called Hivre Korda that has diversified its economy in response to changes in aspiration and agrarian distress. We visited this village and conducted group discussions with different landholding farmers like large, medium, small and landless for one of our studies.

Is anybody bothered about the springs of the Western Ghats?

A research study  on the importance of natural springs in the northern Western Ghat regions of Akole and Sangamner in Ahmednagar district ,carried out by the WOTR research team  was featured as an article on  the India Water Portal (Hindi).    The article highlights the urgent need to document these natural water sources for their conservation […]

Do we understand the importance of our underground reservoirs?

Groundwater is an integral part of the hydrogeological cycle and is an important natural resource of great social and economic significance. Today, groundwater resources across the country are under great stress: pollution , over-extraction, increasing stress due to population growth, emerging equity issues and added climate change. In much of Maharashtra, this precious natural resource occurs in weathered and fractured formations of the unsaturated zone. The hydrogeology of Deccan basalt is quite complex. This poses a challenge in identifying suitable groundwater bearing zones and location of recharge sites. Competition for this scarce resource has meant that farmers are drilling more wells of greater depth, leading to a greater disruption in the underground natural hydrological flow. Responding to this challenge requires a two- pronged approach. First, it is important to generate scientific and reliable knowledge that helps stakeholders to access and understand their underground reservoirs (aquifers). Second, an appropriate institutional setup must be put in place to ensure that this knowledge is operationalised in a sustainable and equitable manner. In this blog, we look at some of the work that we’ve been doing on the first front.

GROUNDWATER-A DISTURBING DIP

As many parts of Maharashtra continue to be inundated with rain it is easy to forget that at this time last year much of the state was reeling under drought. While the rains this year will recharge groundwater tables, given current groundwater usage patterns it is unlikely that this water would contribute to help farmers tide over the next. KV Maitreyi looks at the root causes of water scarcity and what the state is doing to overcome it

THE VILLAGES OF THE OLD: A STORY OF SELF-AUGMENTING MIGRATION AND RE-MIGRATION PATTERN

Perched in the remote areas of Koyna backwaters and the buffer zone of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary are a few villages which have been following a strange pattern of life for sixty years now. Being one of the highest rainfall receiving areas of Maharashtra, water scarcity is not a problem that bothers the farmers here. Yet, a huge number of young people migrate each year to faraway cities for work and livelihood, only to come back in their ripe years to pursue agriculture. This blog post traces the path of this migration right from when it triggered to the present day scenario and reflects on its impacts on the surrounding environment and the local social fabric.

COMBATING DESERTIFICATION THROUGH COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP

Desertification is seen as one of the most pressing issues affecting the lives of millions across the arid and semi- arid regions of the world. It is a consequence of a series of land degradation processes, where water acts as a limiting factor for land use patterns of the ecosystem. However, owing to the current rate of human activities, this natural process has accelerated in its timeline and is posing serious risks of decreased productivity and food insecurity. This post underlines the causes and impacts of desertification. It also traces the initiatives taken by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), in combating desertification and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the communities.

A matter of discussion, A discussion that matters!

It’s 17th June. It is the World Day to combat desertification and drought.

Since 22 years now, WOTR has contributed to fight land degradation and water scarcity in the wake of climate change. Each day we strive to treat and heal the land through Ecosystem Based Watershed Development, Natural Resource Management and Climate smart agriculture in the dry lands of rural India.

As professionals in the development space, we must consciously reflect on our actions and introspect whether we practice what we preach in the name of sustainable development. With this in mind and as a part of an organisation that fights desertification and drought, we decided to have a discussion on what each of us understands by desertification, how we perceive WOTR’s work in this regard and most importantly, what can be done individually as well as unitedly to fight the concerned issue.

Through this post we bring to you excerpts of a stimulating discussion that yielded stimulating results.

Enterprising Agriculturalists: Insights into agrarian prosperity from women’s perspectives

Located on the bank of the river Mula that flows through the Sangamner taluka, Borban is a small, prosperous village with the population of 600 persons. The majority of the village is engaged in agriculture and more than 95 percent of the farmers in the village belong to the small and marginal landholding category. While Borban has without a doubt benefitted from its rich resource endowment, one must also recognize the role that agricultural entrepreneurship has played. Further taking a gender perspective allows us to peel back the veneer of prosperity and ask whether indeed all is well in Borban?