Water Conservation and Water Harvesting
Samrakshan successfully implemented its first watershed treatment programme during 1996-2011, covering 4 villages lying in the Patar watershed. After the project, average household income increased from around Rs.1400-2100 to at least Rs.12,000-23,000. Agriculture was transformed from a loss making enterprise to a profitable one. All costs incurred in soil and water conservation were recovered in the form of higher farm income as early as the end of 2011. Because of improved availability of water, cropping intensity increased, as did the total number of households engaged in agriculture. The benefits of the watershed project in terms of improved agricultural security have gone dramatically in favour of the poorest households in each project village. A number of the poorest households have started engaging in agriculture once again, instead of depending entirely on wage labour. Under the Patar watershed programme, we have constructed 74 km of field bunds and 25 km of Crop Protection Walls (CPWs) in these 4 villages. We have planted 10,000 saplings, and dug or deepened 25 open wells for irrigation.
Samrakshan partnered with the MP Rural Livelihoods program during 2007-08 to prepare similar watershed treatment plans for all 24 villages displaced from the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Many elements of this plan are being implemented by the villagers under the NREGS.