Project Jal Sanchay, a water conservation model adopted successfully by the authorities in Nalanda district of south-central Bihar, has been selected for the national award for excellence in the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee programme (MGNREGP) by the Union ministry of rural development.
The award for excellence will be conferred on 19 June 2017 at a function organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The water conservation model has been developed in the state’s chief minister Nitish Kumar’s native district.
Speaking on the occasion, Nalanda deputy development commissioner (DDC) Kundan Kumar said that the water conservation programme had begun just as an administrative initiative but it soon turned into a people’s movement.
Though Nalanda has been an agriculture-oriented district, it always remained affected by drought-like conditions, which impacted both cultivation and farm production.
During monsoon, though there are flash floods in the area, the water runoff was so high that the entire water got washed away within a span of 15 days.
Project Jal Sanchay was launched under MGRNREGP under these conditions, to offer farmers a wide spectrum of solutions to their water crisis.
Highlights of the Project
• Under the project, check dams were created and traditional Aahar-Pyne irrigation system and traditional water bodies were desilted and renovated.
• Campaigns about the usefulness of rainwater harvesting were also carried out.
• During field visits, the team realised that knowledge of the traditional water conservation system could be most useful in water management and in maintaining water table in the area.
• Hence, details about the traditional system were gathered after discussion with local farmers and they were later incorporated into the Jal Sanchay Project design.
• So, the project included an ideal blend of modern day techniques and technologies with traditional knowledge.
• The main aim was to evolve a holistic approach to the problem of water conservation.
The project has not only succeeded in drastically improving the availability of water but has also positively impacted farm production in the areas covered under it.