Changing rainfall patterns and uncertainty of river run offs have led to a decline in water availability for agricultural purposes. Industrialisation has also led to the construction of railroads across the wetland, which has altered the traditional water flow patterns. The people in this area rely entirely on the wetlands for cultivation.
The project villages were completely cut off from the main town due to poor road access and had almost no infrastructure provision including electricity. They relied entirely on hand pumps for water security. However, many of these hand pumps were severely contaminated making the water unusable. This project aimed to strengthen the water and nutritional security of the people. Its focus was on strengthening the indigenous people’s approach to multiple-use water services (MUS) & water use efficiency (WUE) at the household, homestead and in the field. The project improved land and water productivity management in flood plain wetlands. An integrated approach, using appropriate technologies, addressed the conflict and competition between multiple domestic and productive water needs. Nutritional security of landless people was enhanced by providing them with land, home gardens and duckeries. Guidelines were developed for wise use of wetlands, incorporating the learnings from the local adaptive management and larger international and national management frameworks.
- Good baseline studies including geo-hydrological mapping of the area was carried out in order to design appropriate interventions.
- A document with guidelines on local best practices on wetland management was produced.
- Water quality testing of the hand pumps was carried out. Pumps with excess contamination of iron were marked red so that people did not use them.
- Bio sand filters were installed in the project villages to ensure provision of bacteria-free water.
- Ponds were constructed as groundwater recharge structures. Fisheries and duckeries were introduced in them to ensure that the ponds continue to get maintained post project period, while also providing livelihood and nutritional security. These ponds were maintained by women’s groups, providing them livelihood and nutritional security to their families.
- Awareness campaigns were conducted on WASH, leaflets, posters were generated as IEC material.
- Women’s groups were also formed. The women’s groups cultivate mustard, okra, cabbage, cauliflower etc. in their home gardens. This activity was especially organised for landless people. It brought much needed nutrition security to the villagers who primarily relied on fish from the wetlands for their protein.
- The project demonstrated methods to strengthen indigenous people’s approach to multiple-use water services (MUS) & water use efficiency (WUE) at the household, at the homestead and in field for enhanced land and water productivity management in flood plain wetlands. Several measures such as use of improved strains of crops, drip irrigation etc. were imparted to people.