If we mend our earth we are mending ourselves. At present, we all are aware of climate change and its effect on our planet. Whether it is land degradation, water crisis, habitat loss, loss of biodiversity or excess emission of greenhouse gases, global warming, rising temperature, or exploitation of the planet is crossover.
Formerly, many initiatives have been taken up to curb the situation. Let’s take a look upon some of the projects;
- Arvari River Restoration, Rajasthan
The Arvari River in Rajasthan had run dry. For 60 years water was not soaking in the ground through the degraded watersheds when the monsoon rains arrived. Then came Mr. Rajendra Singh with his organization Tarun Bharat Singh. In 1986 they began rebuilding traditional moon-shaped water harvesting structures called Johads.
With every Johad built they realized that water began to flow a little more in the dry Arvari bed. By 1990 the river flowed until October before drying up again. They kept on building Johads. By 1991 the river flowed till January. By 1992 the river flowed till February and they kept on building johads. By 1993 it flowed till March, by 1994 April and then, by 1995 just nine years after they started the river became perennial again. 375 johads were built to stop erosion over 500 square kilometers in 70 villages. They expanded their work to over 9000 water harvesting structures.
- CICOPA Project in Zimbabwe
In the Titicati village of Zimbabwe, The hillside area of forest had been cleared and the land was dehydrated resulting in the depletion of the water supply in the village. Seeing the problem getting bigger and more disastrous, the residing community there followed the practice of permaculture to revitalize springs/ water supply.
Permaculture is a system for the land design and water management. The villagers began to build water harvesting structures and planted trees above the spring. The spring flow started again after the rains and kept going and restored more land around the village. This idea spread across six villages involving a population of 7000 people and now 80% of households are independent and grow their food which is now twice or thrice a year as compared to one time growing of crops due to water scarcity.
- Gravis Jodhpur, Rajasthan
A project which can be seen from the space.
Thar is a very densely inhabited desert. It only gets water in monsoon for a short period. Thus, farming is negligible or very less. Crops cannot be grown in huge quantities. The wells used to get dry in the summers forcing people to migrate in search of water, food and income. In 1983, the Gravis Jodhpur organization was founded. They began implementing small-scale structures of harvesting on farms all by hand so that the water gets stored in the ground. Ponds and rock wells were created.
Conclusion: Water began to refill in the aquifers until the arrival of the next monsoon. This resulted in the farmers to grow more crops in a year. In the past 40 years, it expanded across 1500 villages covering 1.3 million people.
- Loess Plateau, Northern China
Loess is a region in China that is denuded of plants resulting in serious soil erosion. The land got dried up because hails were stripped by deforestation, over-cropping, and overgrazing; the wind turned unstable soil into dust storms rivers went off, and floods were created. The government identified the problem and started to regenerate the 35,000 square kilometers area of the plateau.
The farmers were told to dress the landscape- hilltops needed to wear hats and replanted Trees and hills needed to cover shoes so they started to build dams for water storage at the base of slopes. Protected ecological zones were made and farmers were paid not to farm them and keep the livestock away.
- Pani Foundation, Maharashtra.
The foundation led by Amir Khan hosts a competition called a Water Cup. A contest among the village is conducted to see which village can install the most water harvesting structures in 45 days. Since 2016 many villages participated resulting in water harvesting of 145 billion gallons or 550 billion liters of water storage capacity built between 2016 to 2020.
In the nearby region, water comes in the monsoon, and rest of 9 to 10 months it is kept dry. They get the collected water for farming and for drinking for a short time.
The water cup competition builds water tables and builds them fast with integrated effort. And when the rain comes, so much water is soaked into the ground because of all the work, that water tables are replenished in just one rainy season. Now crops can be planted twice or thrice a year.
B.com. Program, 2nd Year
SGTB Khalsa College