Palmyra is involved in Water related works for livelihood enhancement of the rural poor for the last two decades. Significant water related works relating to tanks and watersheds were carried during the last 9 years and are briefly presented below:
PALMYRA – ICEF PROJECT: A five year project (July 1999 to June 2004) “Rehabilitation of Integrated Tank Management Systems in the Kalivelli Watershed” funded by the Indian Canadian Environmental Facility (ICEF) was approved in the year July 1999 with an outlay of Rs.9.59 crores. The project had later been extended for a further period of 16 months till October 2005. The project focused mainly on formation of water user associations, self help groups, women pattadar groups, rehabilitation/desilting of 29 tanks, channels and sluices. It is to be noted that 30% farmers’ contribution which is mandatory for Palmyra-ICEF project towards the cost of tank rehabilitation works is the highest and unique in the history of rain fed tank rehabilitation projects at least in Tamil Nadu.
IWDP PROJECT: The project of "Integrated Wasteland Development Programme" (IWDP) was sanctioned in March 2002 with an outlay of Rs.2.08 crores by the Dept. of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, New Delhi with Palmyra as the Project Implementing Agency. Planting, water conservation and other landuse based development programmes were implemented in 9 watersheds in the Kaliveli areas. An extension of this project is presently being initiated through a scheme of Nabard together with the state govt. T.N. The project was successfully concluded in March 2009.
CFLI Project: The project entitled “Community Management of Tank & Ground-water for Irrigation And Facilitating Women’s Groups to Learn & Manage off-farm Income-generation Activities” funded by the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI), Canadian High Commission to Koyalmedu village of Villupuram District involves a number of innovative ideas such as use of PVC pipes for distribution of tank water using sprinklers, conjunctive use of tank and well water, provision of good seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, linking the farmers to the market and building the farmer’s capacity to make decision through training, demonstration and field visits. The results obtained in this project are amazing when Palmyra worked as partners with the farmers group. It is a delight to see how farmers when given proper training, their capacity built and put into an enabling environment turned out to be persons of confidence, good decision makers and assume leadership roles.
FPARP: The project of "Farmers Participatory Action Research" (FPARP) was sanctioned in Nov. 2007 with an outlay of Rs.30 lakhs funded by the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India under the recommendation of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee
This project aimed to test a procedure in the farmers fields through Participatory action by the farming community themselves to improve their livelihood by improving yield and income per drop of water. The project was being implemented by the farmers themselves with their capacity being built with the NGO acting as a facilitator. Farmers also contributed to the project by way of labor, cash and managerial time. The project aimed for being a sustainable development Model.
From the water resources point of view the project aimed at improving water use efficiency, increase land and water productivity, land reclamation, use of bio-fertilizers, and development of a sustainable conjunctive use of tank and well water through farmers participatory action.
Technologies proposed related to integrated development and management of tank irrigation-technology for improving productivity through farmer’s participation. The major focus of this proposal was to increase the “crop per drop” and to improve the profitability by implementing the irrigation technology with farmer’s participation.
Palmyra has been selected for the National Water Award by the Ministry of Water Resources, New Delhi for implementing the FPARP Project.
SAFE DRINKING WATER PROJECT: A bacterial free, water processing system has been installed in the revenue villages of Thenkodipakkam, Molasur & Thensiruvalur to deliver safe drinking water to the community. This project is funded by BWNF & Avalokita, Holland. The water analysis result shows that prior to installment it had 460 to 600 coli forms /100 ml water. After purification it showed 0.02 coli forms /100ml. The installation of the water purification system and awareness on use of bacterial free water and formation of user group is being organized by Palmyra under the BWNF project, Holland. This project has been started in the month of October 2005 and presently 2000 people are using the safe drinking water. They also pay water cess as Rs.0.5/20 liters of water/day. This water cess amount is being deposited in the safe drinking water user group account.
The villagers are very hard working and financially deprived of medical attention and also they neglect their health related problems, assistance is required to educate, absorb and practice the healthy ways.
It is also observed many of the common diseases like viral fewer, diarrhea, cholera, and other epidemics are spread due to contaminated unsafe drinking water. The villagers are not only unable to spend on medical expenses but also will lose their daily wages.
“Saving the loss of wage is otherwise an income earned”
“Healthy living is a wealthy living”
The project by itself may not be an income generation project but an income savings project. Hence Palmyra considered that this as focus area for the upliftment of the poor and provide them with all the input necessary to come out of this common perennial problem existing in rural areas.
TANK REHABILITATION PROJECT PONDICHERRY: This project was sanctioned by European Economic Commission in 1999 to desilt 84 tanks in Pondicherry, primarily to increase the ground water recharge, to stop the salt water intrusion and to promote the livelihood of local farmers with their participation. Palmyra’s role in the project consists mainly of involving and organizing the participating communities and Tank Associations and to train them to develop their own natural resource based management as well as encourage the beneficiaries through extensive capacity building exercises to sustain themselves on a long term basis.