“Watery” villages in a famine-hit region!
Medsinga is a village with a population of 2700 in the Osmanabad Taluka. Rainfall is the only source of water. It has a farming area of approximately 1200 hectares, with sugarcane, soybean, Bengal gram (harbhara), pigeon pea (tur), sorghum as the main crops, as well as orchards of mangoes and figs. Sugarcane occupies the majority of the farming area.
The village was provided with potable water through the Ruibhar Regional Tap Water Scheme. However, there were problems in getting sufficient water: sometimes the problem was with water availability, other times, with power or other technical snags. The condition of water for agriculture was even worse. Plans needed to be formed to tackle all these problems, and a solution was eventually found: water conservation activities. The inhabitants of the village came up with something ingenious. Assistant agriculturist A. L. Jadhav agreed to help and provided information on various water conservation schemes. The work was started with the cooperation of Raghuram Agle, the Sarpanch, and other members of the Gram Panchayat.
“The ‘Medsinga Pattern” of water conservation through public participation has become famous in the Osmanabad district.” -Sudarshan Sutar
Drinking water woes solved!
Instead of depending on the Ruibhar Scheme for water, the Gram Panchayat dug two bore wells. To store water, four tanks, each with a capacity of five thousand litres, were constructed in various areas. Taps were fixed and water was supplied. The two bore wells are close to the village reservoir. Very little water could be stored in the reservoir because of silt deposits. Hence, dredging was started under the Comprehensive Water Catchment scheme. The villagers also pitched in. Within a short time, nearly 10,500 cubic meters of silt was dredged, and the results quickly became evident. Rainwater was harvested and stored in the reservoir. The water level which was only a meter-and-a-half earlier, deepened to three meters. Even the bore well dug by the Gram Panchayat for water supply can retain water now. There is no water shortage, even in the sweltering summer of the month of July. No tanker is needed here anymore. Hand pumps too operate with sufficient pressure.
Increased source for water for agriculture
There is a stream running not far from the village, on which about 16 cement bunds were constructed in the past. But all of them were in need of repairs. So, repairs were carried out and dredging was carried out, for which funds were made available under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Groundwater Conservation Campaign. A water storage capacity of almost 64 TMC was created thanks to the bund repairs and the depth of the stream also increased. This resulted in another water source for agriculture. As these bunds are built on all four of the village limits, this has proved beneficial for a farming area of approximately one thousand hectares in the area around the village.
Bunds built by farmers
The positive effects of dredging the village reservoir and the bunds were experienced this year, as even after scanty rainfall last year, water is available even up to July this year. Wells have retained their water levels. Farmers have now understood the importance of water conservation, and so, every farmer has built bunds on his own farms. Water drainage has been prevented by digging same-level troughs. Arrangements have been made to prevent drainage of water as much as possible. Thanks to all these measures, water is retained in the farm land of each farmer. These bunding and water conservation works have been completed in almost 950 hectares of farm land in the village.
Water recharging in the village reservoir as well as bunds
‘Recharge shafts’ were constructed in the village reservoir as well as the bunds. Inside the reservoir, a pit of 13x7x2 meters was dug at a separate location. Another pit of 22 meters was dug inside this pit, in which a bore was drilled to a distance of 70 feet. A pipe with holes at every inch of its length was lowered inside it to a distance of 14 feet. Coir rope was wound around the pipe before it was lowered into the pit. Pebbles and stones from the stream were placed around it to ensure that it would remain in place. The purpose was to retain water through the process of recharging. This experiment was carried out in the village reservoir and in four of the bunds, i.e., at five locations.
Various activities of water conservation have resulted in an increase in the water levels of almost 27 wells in the village and the surrounding area. The water, which usually remained at the level of one-and-a-half to two meters during summer, is now steady at five meters, even though there has been no rainfall till July this year. The water levels in 32 bore wells have also increased significantly. Electrical pumps which could run hardly for two hours before can now easily run for four hours.
Increase in water capacity
The village reservoir, cement bunds, farm bunding works, and water conservation activities and experiments have resulted in a total increase of 503.35 TMC in the water storage capacity: 10.5 TMC from the village reservoir, 64 TMC in the bunds, and 428.85 TMC from farm bunding and other works. The villagers’ efforts were supported by the then district collector K. N. Nagargoje, district agriculture inspector Shankar Totawar, Taluka agriculture officer Sanjay Jadhav, circle agriculture officer G. V. Saste, agriculture superintendent R. B. Patil, agriculture assistant A. L. Jadhav and others. An expenditure of about 80 lakh 76 thousand rupees was granted under the Comprehensive Catchment Area Development, Mahatma Jotiba Phule Water Conservation Movement and other schemes.
A leader in social activities
Medsinga village has won the Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Gram Swachchhata Abhiyan award. With cleanliness always having been a priority in this village, there is also the additional fact that nearly six thousand trees have been planted in the area. An agricultural library has been started for the youth as well as the farmers in the village. Various periodicals, dailies, including “Agrowon”, books and literature are available in the library. A modern gymnasium is also available in the village.
“We were able to carry out water conservation activities thanks to the department of agriculture and public participation. The problem of drinking water and water for agriculture in the village is solved now.”-Raghuram Agle, Sarpanch, Medsinga
“I have crops of soybean and sugarcane in my fifteen acres of farm land. This year, the water level in the well has risen. The electric water pump, which used to run only for an hour or an hour-and-a-half a day before, now runs for four hours each day.” -Vinod Landge, farmer, Medsinga
“I have three acres of sugarcane crop in my total fourteen acres of farm land. I have two bore wells. The water level in them has increased.” -Baliram Rohile, farmer, Medsinga
- Significant works in Medsinga
- Farmers build bunds in their own farms
- Same-level troughs according to the descent of land
- Various experiments and activities with the purpose of letting as much water as possible to be retained in the farm lands
- Dredging of the village reservoir, repairs of the cement bunds