2000 acres brought under Protective Irrigation
The Millennium Development Goalsaccord high priority to poverty and hunger through proportionate reduction in people living Below the Poverty Line and those who face chronic hunger. Programmes introduced by the Government of India to meet these goals have all relied on income generation as the recommended approach. Demonstrating this approach, an innovative project in the rainfed areas of Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam and Odisha is implemented in collaboration with Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) and a network of implementing partners. Titled ‘Enhancing Livelihoods through Diversion Based Irrigation Systems (DBIS)’, the project is implemented in 145 tribal dominated villages, six districts spread across five states (Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand; Ri Bhoi district, Meghalaya; South Tripura district, Tripura,; Karbi Anglong, district, Assam and Ganjam and Gajapati districts, Odisha).
The project developed water resources as a means to improve rural livelihoods and food security. Here, the prime focus has been on development of diversion based irrigation systems in the undulating and hilly topography characteristic of eastern and north eastern India, with efforts to conserve and manage water resources made as well. Further capacity building on improved crop management practices such as System of Rice Intensification (SRI), organic farming, dryland farming etc have been supported under the project. While, project design emphasized on formation and strengthening of Community based Organizations to ensure that infrastructure created is maintained and learning’s disseminated; recommendations from the impact assessment highlight the need to strengthen measures which ensure sustainability of the project.
Diversion Based Irrigation Systems (DBIS) have traditionally been practiced by communities residing in the hilly and undulating states of eastern and north eastern India. Here the water from springs are diverted to meet both drinking and irrigation requirements and since they operate on the principle of gravity, energy costs in transferring water are comparatively lower. With, advancements in technology the efficiency and sustainability of these systems have been improved. Over 5000 farmers from these states have been benefitted, strengthening agriculture based livelihoods and enhancing incomes generated.