Series: Combating drought – 2: Success stories

As India reels under a back-to-back drought, with 10 states declared affected and nearly 2,00,000 villages affected, it’s time to ask whether the present situation could’ve been avoided. And yet, here are examples from across India where, armed with little more than determination and imagination, ordinary people have turned things around to create little oases.

Mr Prime Minister good news
Jitendra Choube, Shreeshan Venkatesh, Karnika Bahuguna & Kundan Pandey, Down to Earth
Many years after former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s garibi hatao slogan, Modi’s definitive target to fix the problem of farmers has evoked the same hopes. In the context of the current drought, many find this unachievable. There is fierce academic debate over the ways and means to achieve this. But Down To Earth (DTE) reporters found that many villages have insulated themselves from drought, including the current spell. These villages, located in India’s most drought-prone areas, are beautiful examples in difficult places. They are no more bothered by the performance of the monsoon. In a span of just two decades, these villages, once hopeless, have scripted economic miracles. In a way, they dreamt before the prime minister, and DTE shows the way they made the dream come true.

7 Ways Indian Villages Adopted Water Management to Combat Drought
Neeti Vijaykumar, The Better India
It’s no secret that rainwater management and water harvesting can bring about a major socioeconomic turn around in villages and farmlands. Besides the well-known Hiware Bazar in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, and Anna Hazare’s Ralegan Siddhi, many other villages in India have adopted efficient water management systems, and they’re all reaping the benefits. These methods have proved to be especially useful when temperatures rise, rainfall comes late, and drought hits the land.

Here, they go against the grain
Deshdeep Saxena, The Times of India
In parched Bundelkhand in Madhya Pradesh, villagers in Dargai Khurd and Gour have devised clever ways to recycle water — they bathe on coir cots and place a vessel beneath to collect the water draining down. This will later be used to wash clothes and utensils. Six kilometres farther down in Gayajeetpura, a bath can thankfully still be had without resorting to such extreme economy. (Also read; In UP’s parched Bundelkhand, one farmer scripts a success story, sets example)

A people’s movement in Uttar Pradesh to revive a river
Mohammad Ali, The Hindu
A group of villagers from Malakpur in Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh are trying to breathe new life into Katha, a 150-km long river which is dead now. With help from a local scientist, farmers are leading the effort to turn a one kilometre stretch of the barren riverbed into a lake. People from dozens of villages have started digging the river bed to level the surface, and plan to tap nearby water sources to feed it. The self-made engineering plan is to put up check dams to harvest monsoon water along the one kilometre stretch of the river bed which is 5-40 feet deep.

Tackling drought, the Channapatna way
B.S. Satish kumar, The Hindu
When most of the areas in the State are reeling under the worst drought in five decades, Channapatna taluk presents a contrast picture. There are no signs of drought in its villages, despite being drought prone. In fact, the Channapatna MLA, who used to haggle with the government earlier to get drought assistance, has categorically told authorities that his constituency does not need any relief. The villagers of this taluk, which used to suffer from acute drinking water shortage, are finding this summer much more comfortable than the previous ones in the last 17 to 18 years. (Also read: Here’s How Some Karnataka Farmers Are Defeating The Drought)

This Telangana village is beating all odds to fight drought
The Times of India
Devagiripatnam (Warangal): Just about 70 kilometres from Warangal city, residents of Devagiripatnam, a village with a population of 2,700 are among the very few in Telangana who are not worried about drought. Not just that, they also raise two crops a year. Making all this possible are a large number of ponds dug by the villagers in their fields that harvest rainwater. And, when not raising crops, some of these farmers use their little ponds to grow fish for sale in nearby local markets. “There are nearly 250 such small ponds in the village,” sarpanch Vankudotu Chandi said.

Meet the Water Warriors Who Saved Many ‘Laturs’
The Quint
As parts of India face some of the worst droughts in recorded history and cities like Latur in Maharashtra receive emergency water supplies, here is a look at some water warriors who have helped their communities across the country. (Also read: The Aqua Guards of Odisha)

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