Water resource development

Wadi plots are usually located in area with little or no irrigation facilities. Hence, water resource development (WRD) is essential for ensuring adequate supply of water to trees and crops, especially in the summer, and during the early growth stage.

WRD work done in Wadi projects is site-specific WRD work done in Wadi projects is site-specific Many multi purpose tree species (MPTS), planted along the boundaries of Wadi plots, do grow without watering, but regular watering is essential for deriving high yields from most fruit tree species. In many areas, WRD also needs to be done to meet drinking water needs of people and livestock.

WRD work done in Wadi projects is site-specific, based on a thorough analysis of potentially available sources and actual demand for horticulture and other purposes.

The major challenge is to devise low-cost solutions that can be implemented using locally available resources, and maintained easily by beneficiary families.

A related challenge is evolving processes and institutions such as water user groups for ensuring equitable use of water sources that can be accessed by many families.  

The very nature of the Wadi programme precludes construction of large and expensive irrigation systems. Solutions have to be devised for particular Wadi plots, and groups of closely-located Wadi plots within a particular area.

WRD works involve surface water harvesting and/or groundwater harvesting. WRD work has to be necessarily done in conjunction with soil and water conservation measures. 

Broadly, two kinds of WRD works are done in a Wadi project:

  • Plot-specific works, for the benefit of a family owning a Wadi plot, like construction of farm ponds, and jalkunds or low-cost water tanks.
  • WRD works for the benefit of several families owning plots within a particular location, like seasonal checkdams, gully plugs, group wells, development of springs and low-cost lift irrigation systems.

A major selection and design consideration is that people should be able to source water at a short distance from the plots.

WRD solutions have to be necessarily evolved in close consultation with beneficiary Wadi plot-holders. Usually, they already have good knowledge of potential sources, and in each region there is some locally developed solution for harvesting water that can be considered. 

Community consensus is essential when some relatively high-cost structures such as checkdams or deep wells are considered for the benefit of some families.

Thus execution of the WRD component requires both water harvesting expertise as well as community-consensus building skills.

After participatory selection and planning, WRD works are executed by Wadi plot-holders, individually or in groups, after receiving field-based training. Hired labour is not used. Use of machinery and blasting may sometimes be required.

Along with development of water sources, low-cost micro-irrigation systems are promoted.

Beneficiary-families are given knowledge and training for maintaining any of the chosen solutions.

There is scope for convergence with other programmes in implementation of WRD works. For example, it may be possible to converge with watershed development programmes, rainwater harvesting promotion programmes and drinking water supply schemes.

See also:

Practical challenges in water resource development

Water resource development works

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