During a youth expedition on Dev River in 2007, it was found that an indigenous diversion based irrigation system having a well thought out network of canals and sub canals to irrigate land in villages was developed in 1870 in the time of British rule. In addition to irrigation, it was also useful for recharging ground water table. But after 1995 it got deteriorated as it was broken down in parts. As a result, groundwater tables declined. Ecological degradation and loss of traditional water management system in combination with uncertain rainfall and unpredictable market situation resulted in partial loss of livelihood for 9080 families residing in 24 villages alongside Devnadi.
Yuva Mitra concluded that loss of community control over water resources is the root cause of the problematic situation in these villages and decided to take up work to regenerate the DBI system involving local communities with aim to enable socio economic development of the community dependent on Dev River and to create a model for replicating & scaling up regeneration of DBI activity to ensure creation of larger irrigation potential in entire Nashik District. Regeneration of water source and judicious use of water is being ensured by Water User Associations at village level.
With increasing availability of water for irrigation, agriculture based livelihood promotion activities with members of WUAs has been undertaken to enhance their economic status. Introduction of vegetable cultivation and improved agricultural practices like Drip Irrigation, 5 R Farming Model, Net and Poly House, organic fertilizers, mulching paper etc. has helped farmers to make agriculture more profitable. Focus is also on creating livelihood opportunities for landless farmers by promoting share cropping and home based agricultural activities like kitchen garden.
This project works in 15 villages near Dev River of Sinnar Block, Nashik district.