Water Conservation: A Study of Ugam Foundation, Balawadi, India
The objective of this paper is to study the role of Civil Society in the draught prone areas and how they counter the problems caused by draughts through water conservation.
Ugam Foundation has revived a dried up river ‘Agrani’ originating in Khanapur Taluka. This river flows through Tasgav, Kavthemahakal and Jat Talukas and meets Krishna river in Karnataka State. Ugam Foundation has built six small dams across this river between Balawadi and Benapur village. The distance between these villages is 3.5Km. 0.18 TMC of water has been stored in these 6 dams. 1000 Acres of land has been irrigated due to these dams.
These dams were built by voluntary labour and no displacement or rehabilitation has been done during their construction. Before the construction of these dams, water was provided by water tanks in these villages. Also, fodder depots were established for cattle.
At one place, Ugam Foundation has cultivated ten acres waste land with the help of ten backward community families in ‘Hivtad’ village in Atpadi taluka. They grew pomegranate trees and through proper water management; every family earns Rs.1-5 lakhs per year. Prior to this, these families used to migrate for sugarcane cutting. Today, these families are financially independent. Ugam Foundation has worked for water conservation and management.
The paper is based on secondary data, personal visits on the respective locations and interviews with the Foundation leaders and beneficiaries of villages.