Dethali (Ta.Bechraji) in north Gujarat, India is about 100 kms away from Ahmedabad city. It is located at 23.6degree Latitude & 72degree Longitude and is under semi arid climatic conditions. Average rain fall of last ten years is 350 mm only. Low rain fall is unevenly distributed. Irrigation facilities are only by surface wells. Natural calamities like famine floods etc. are almost regular occurrence, destroying crops. The texture of soil is sandy loam to sandy clay loam. It is poor in fertility and productivity. The pH of the soil is about 8 to 8.5.Nature of the soil is towards alkalinity. Soils are poorly drained. Under ground water is saline. Unemployment and underemployment are chronic diseases. Remote location of village is great hindrance for job hunters. Agriculture and live stock management are main occupations. The population is around 1300 people and around 45% people live below poverty line.
Easy access of potable drinking water was a perennial problem in Dethali. Moonsoon water would last up to 5 or 6 months. Ladies had to walk almost 4 kms to bring portable water so first work was to assure hygienic drinking water round the year. Dethali main Pond (Talav) is spread in about 30 acres (12 hectares). Over the years, siltation and sand deposition made it quite shallow leading to reduced Storage capacity. Hard pan formation on surface of the tank reduced percolation of water. Side bunds of tank were terribly eroded. Shortage of drinking water made life miserable .It was a great nightmare to get good quality and quantity of drinking water in summer, as a result surface wells were drying fast.
So Gram vikas mandal (GVM) first job was to dig, deepen and develop main tank so that access to surface water is managed. The water was used for drinking as well as daily use. The one-off effort would not sustain the momentum. The idea was to anticipate climate change challenges and create more sustainable water bodies around various places to further augment water resources for village. ICA’s help both moral, material and importantly as guidance came in extremely handy. A large work expanding to 12 Small-medium Ponds (Talavdis) were dug. The places for digging were chosen after careful deliberation and taking whole village’s collective wisdom coupled with geographical topography of village into consideration. After all the hard work, we are happy to share that today water storage In talav last about 18 months.
However climate change challenges are hitting us hard than ever. On one hand due to extreme abuse of groundwater the tables have lowered considerably, on the other erratic rain patterns are making it worse to conserve water as planned. Every year instead of even rains, we are observing that it rains heavily during few hours or days and then there is no rain for remaining period. To convert this challenge into opportunity, GVM wants to take up an ambitious project of using this excess water to recharge the ground water.