Motiram Mukund Gadak is the Director of “Sant Baba Bhagwat” Water User’s Association (WUA) in Devpur Village from past one year. There are 10 members in WUA from this village. This association was formed on 26th April, 2015 with the objective of better management of canal system. Devpur is situated on the banks of river Dev which is the only lifeline of water for the villagers in Sinnar. In the Era of 1870s -1880s, British Govt. built over 20 Diversion Based Irrigation Systems on this river. Due to negligence these systems defanged and water recharge in the areas came to halt resulting in farmers dependency on rain water. Later on these systems were repaired and regenerated by Yuva Mitra and irrigation became easy for them.
Motiram says, Sinnar was known to be a drought prone taluka of Nashik district. For the past 10 years, the amount of rainfall received was very less which adversely affected the agriculture. Over 70% of the farmers were depended on rain. They cultivated hardly 1 or 2 crops in an year. The river use to dry till the month of February and resulted in unavailability of water for farming or for the livestock. For the past 4 years, villagers use to buy drinking water and tankers were provided by government for distributing water for domestic use.
To overcome this situation, an initiative was taken by Yuva Mitra with financial support of Tata Trusts, Mumbai. Villagers were mobilised and brought together to seek a solution for problems arising due to unavailability of water. Initially, a survey was conducted in the villages to gain insight about the natural resources availability and agricultural fields and even the existing canal system was observed. Villagers volunteered and worked on rejuvenating the river and the canal system. They also contributed and collected around 10% of the total expenditure on reconstructing the canal system. This work was carried out for 2 months where the canal water was also cleaned. More and more people started volunteering after realising the benefits of this project and in this way through people’s participation the canal system was repaired on 250 acres of land which provided irrigation to over 650 acres of land. This increased the level of water table and benefitted both the rich and poor farmers. Surplus amount of water was available and issues related to drinking water also got solved.
In order to make the villagers self-sufficient to maintain the canal system, Water User’s Association were established with the aim to achieve equitable distribution of water. Yuva Mitra undertook trainings to guide the villagers for judicious use of water. Members of WUA were helped on how to maintain the canal system and how to deal with conflicts; farmers were encouraged to use of drip irrigation and mulching paper. Concept of 5R farming was introduced. Kitchen gardens were also promoted and all this resulted in increase in the annual produce which benefitted everyone. Motiram mentioned that earlier the villagers who were against this project joined in later, after witnessing the success of the project. This lead in reducing conflicts which raised over distribution of water.