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.

Over the last half century technological & infrastructural advancements in the form of bore wells, pumping technology and rural electrification, has enabled farmers in the dryland regions of Maharashtra to access and extract groundwater at unprecedented levels, enabling the intensification and extension of cultivation. However, high levels of abstraction accompanied by recurrent droughts have led dramatic declines in groundwater levels. Further the socio-legal paradigm that governs groundwater resources, privileges individual users while ignoring the common pool characteristics of groundwater and aquifers.

On September 13, 2016, an award ceremony was organised at Center for Studies in Rural Development (CSRD-Social Work College) at Ahmednagar to appreciate Jalsevaks for their efforts taken to increase the water harvesting potential for the stipulated time frame of the competition (May 2016). These Jalsevaks form a major component of the Water stewardship project being implemented in 106 villages of Maharashtra and Telangana

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.