Contributing to development of land and water resources: Devpimpalgaon’s model watershed

Acknowledging that groundwater development needs to be supported simultaneously by water conservation measures and that rapid expansion of groundwater would compromise resource sustainability, a unique project was formulated in the late 1970’s with the support from the Swiss Technical Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland. Popularly known as the ‘Integrated Land and Water Use Project at Devpimpalgaon’, the initiation of the project is traced to the successful impact of a percolation tank constructed in Devpimpalgaon, a drought prone area in the Deccan Plateau (Maharashtra) and observed improvements in groundwater levels in wells located downstream. Subsequent additions to the project included regeneration of … Continue reading

Development of Village Commons Owned by Dalit Communities

Common Lands, conventionally classified as wastelands, are historically neglected classes of land due to their limited capabilities to generate revenue. In the recent past encroachments and unscientific development of these lands has led to government regulation and regularization of encroachments. While, the economic contribution of these lands is limited, there are multiple environmental benefits that these lands provide. Therefore, even while diversion of common property and its regularization continues to be a subject of dialogue, an innovative approach to scientifically develop these lands while ensuring that livelihoods are strengthened and environmental benefits are enhanced was demonstrated under the SDC AFPRO … Continue reading

Strengthening livelihoods through conservation and restoration of natural resource bases – Surnarwadi Watershed

As per the National Rainfed Authority of India (NRAA), rainfed areas account for 55% of the total geographical area. In the state of Maharashtra, these regions occupy greater predominance with over 80% of the geographical area categorized as rainfed. The XII Five Year Plan of the Planning Commission emphasizes the growing role of rainfed areas in the agricultural sectors contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Partnering with National Bank for Agricultural Development (NABARD), we developed 1250 ha distributed across three villages in Surnarwadi watershed, a watershed adopted under the Indo German Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP) in Dharur block, Beed district, … Continue reading

Contributing to the Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Documentation (MELD) Programme

Watershed Programmes have evolved in India, since its inception in the 1970’s. The evolution is in terms of the scope of the programme and approaches adopted in designing, planning and implementation. A recent addition to Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) is the component of Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Documentation (MELD). Supporting Vasundhara Watershed Development Agency in executing MELD, we are monitoring and evaluating the watershed programmes implemented by Water Conservation Department in 4 lakh hectares. The watersheds are under the following phases of implementation – Preparatory Phase, Watershed Works Phase and Consolidation and Withdrawal phase and are located in Ahmadnagar, … Continue reading

Preparing Model Livelihood Action plan under Watershed Plus approach

Livelihood Security for 600 million farmers is recognized as a National Goal. While, there are numerous approaches, the approach which is relied upon heavily, especially, in rainfed areas is that of the Watershed. Watershed Plus is a value addition to conventional watershed programmes with a focus on development of livelihoods. Initially, AFPRO is contributing to the Watershed Plus programme through preparation of Livelihood Action Plans for two watersheds in Maharashtra. Here functional capacities of Watershed Development Teams (WDT) from the Agriculture Department on assessment of livelihoods and preparation of Livelihood Action Plans have been built. Assessment and Plan preparation processes … Continue reading

Vulnerability Assessments and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Semi – Arid Regions of India

In India 53.4% of the geographical area comprises of arid and semi arid regions. These regions receive limited rainfall and agriculture based livelihoods are limited to productive lands. Ensuring livelihood security in these areas is critical to developing them, while ensuring that dependant natural resources are used judiciously. With scientific assessments indicating direct impacts of climate change on sectors of agriculture, its allied activities and water, building adaptive capacities of such climate sensitive sectors and livelihoods dependant on them is essential to help them cope better and improve their disaster preparedness. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supported … Continue reading

“Climate Proofing – a Watershed”

The Rajasthan State Action Plan on Climate Change (RSAPCC) mentions a significant warming and a change in natural climate variability, especially in rainfall. While, there is a general decrease in rainfall, pockets of increased variability also exist. Coupled with limited and/or over exploited water resources and a dependence on climate sensitive livelihoods, the state is highly vulnerable to climate change. Representing an effort to demonstrate the recommendations of the RSAPCC is a unique collaboration between NABARD and GiZ. Leading this initiative at the grassroots level is our association with a project titled ‘A Pilot project on “Climate Proofing in Watershed … Continue reading

Contributing to building Resilience to Climate Change and Assessment of Vulnerability to Climate Change in a Semi Arid region – Water and Climate Resilience Program (WACREP)

Climate Change manifests itself through a change in the nature of extreme weather events experienced by a region. With Action Plans on Climate Change prepared at global, national and state levels, local level variations in key climatic variables create the need to conduct climate change vulnerability assessments at smaller assessment units. Supporting Global Water Partnership (GWP) under their country initiative, India Water Partnership (IWP) designed and initiated the Water and Climate Resilience Program (WACREP) for assessing vulnerabilities to climate change; and for building the resilience of poor communities of ten villages in Bhinder block, Udaipur district to it. Major outcomes … Continue reading

Adapting to climate change in drylands – a community based research initiative

Nearly 300 million people inhabiting the dryland regions of India are dependant on agriculture for livelihoods. Many of the poor and resource dependent communities in these fragile and sensitive dryland ecosystems are exposed to climatic extreme events. Maharashtra too is known to be prone to the occurrence of extreme weather events such as droughts. However, their manifestation due to changes in climate is bound to affect the nature of their occurrence. Drought Risk Management strategies in Maharashtra, however, need to keep pace with climate change and Mainstreaming climate change into conventional Drought Management strategies is a plausible solution. In an … Continue reading

Adapting local pasturelands to changing climates

Pasturelands are an important component of livelihood systems in semi arid regions of Rajasthan. Livestock based livelihoods meet subsistence requirements and contribute to income generation. However, human drivers such as land degradation, population pressure and deterioration of traditional management systems have increased the vulnerability this system. Partnering with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ), the programme ‘Integrated Group Pasture Management for Improved Livestock Adaptation’ represents an effort to address the vulnerability of pasturelands to climate change. It is piloted in 97 ha of privately owned pastures of Udaipur district, Rajasthan. The programme represents the scaling up of the approach adopted … Continue reading