REGENERATION OF DIVERSION BASED IRRIGATION SYSTEM AND INTEGRATED LIVELIHOOD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
LOCATION: NASHIK DISTRICT
During a youth expedition in 2007 along the Dev River, an intriguing discovery was made. An indigenous diversion-based irrigation (DBI) system, with a meticulously designed network of canals and sub-canals dating back to 1870 during British rule, was uncovered. This system not only served as a means of irrigation but also played a crucial role in recharging the groundwater table. However, its condition had deteriorated since 1995 due to partial breakdowns, leading to a decline in groundwater levels.
The consequences were dire, resulting in ecological degradation and the loss of a traditional water management system. Coupled with unpredictable rainfall and market uncertainties, this led to a partial loss of livelihood for 9080 families in 24 villages alongside the Devnadi river.
Recognizing that the loss of community control over water resources was at the root of the issue, Yuva Mitra took action. We embarked on a mission to regenerate the DBI system, involving local communities. Our goal was to enable socio-economic development for the Dev River-dependent community and create a replicable model for regenerating DBI systems to expand irrigation potential across Nashik District.
Through the establishment of Water User Associations (WUAs) at the village level, we ensured the responsible management of water resources. With improved irrigation access, we initiated agriculture-based livelihood activities in collaboration with WUA members. These activities included promoting vegetable cultivation and implementing enhanced agricultural practices like Drip Irrigation, the 5 R Farming Model, Net & Poly House, organic fertilizers, and mulching paper. These innovations have made agriculture more profitable for farmers.
Furthermore, we focused on creating livelihood opportunities for landless farmers through sharecropping and home-based agricultural activities like kitchen gardens. After successfully reviving 22 DBI systems in the Sinnar block, we are now dedicated to regenerating the remaining 274 DBI systems in Nashik District. We have actively advocated with the Government, District Administration, and Irrigation department for the revival of these systems, leading to a partnership with the Government of Maharashtra (GoM) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the revival of 170 DBI systems in Nashik District.