The miracle of Hiware Bazar


“Ours was a simple village with happy families. But lack of water turned our fields barren,” remembers Laxman Pawar, 71, a farmer. “Out of desperation, people started to drink, gamble and fight. Liquor had ruined us. When the illicit dens were closed, we knew there was hope.”

One of the first things the sarpanch did was water conservation and management as it helped farming and brought in some money. He got the villagers to voluntarily help in rainwater harvesting. Soon, the villagers built 52 earthen bunds, two percolation tanks, 32 stone bunds and nine check dams. “We used state government funds. The volunteer labour programme cut costs and also ensured quality work. It was as if we were building it for ourselves and for our children,” he says.

From Rags to Riches

PER CAPITA INCOME

1995 – Rs 830

2012 – Rs 30,000

NUMBER OF WELLS

1995 – 90

2012 – 294

BPL FAMILIES

1995 – 168

2012 – 3

MILK PRODUCTION PER DAY1995 – 150 Ltrs

2012 – 4,000 Ltrs

The idea was to harvest every raindrop as it fell. Being in the rain-shadow region, Hiware Bazar received just about 15 inches of annual rain. Ponds and trenches stopped rainwater from flowing out of the village. After the first monsoon, the irrigation area increased from 20 hectares to 70 hectares. “In 2010, the village got 190 mm of rain, but we managed well because of water management,” says Habib Sayyed, who works on water issues in the village.

Water management helped them harvest multiple crops. Before 1995, there were 90 open wells with water at 80-125 feet. Today, there are 294 open wells with water at 15-40 feet. Other villages in Ahmednagar district have to drill nearly 200 feet to reach water.

via One village. 60 millionaires. The miracle of Hiware Bazar.

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