A Water Conservation Movement for better tomorrow
Jala Vikasam (Water Development), a popular integrated development program in the drought affected districts of Andhra Pradesh, was initiated by Bala Vikasa in the year 2000, to solve the multiple and interlinked problems arising from recurring and increased drought situation in the state. The aim of the project is to renovate the abandoned and less effective traditional water reservoirs constructed by the erstwhile kingdoms. The process involves excavating the silt deposits from the tank base and applying the same soil in the farms, to increase the tank water storing capacity, as well as to improve the soil fertility of the farms.
70% of the program cost for transporting the silt from the tank to the farms is borne by the farmers since they have assured direct benefits from the application of silt in their farms. 30% cost towards excavation of the silt is provided by BalaVikasa as incentive to the farmers, in the form of free excavation machinery. 70% contribution by the farmers is a clear evidence of the program’s relevance and effectiveness. Approximately 45,690 farmers have participated in this program in the past one decade and BalaViaksa has renovated 521 tanks and improved the soil fertility of 87,569 acres in 12 districts.
This project has multiple, instant, assured and more enduring benefits on the social, economic, and the environmental aspects. With very little cost and effort, multiple benefits are enjoyed by different sections of the rural communities. Utilizing the existing infrastructure, with no requirement of additional technical expertise, makes the program most economical and effective.
Since water development is of the urging need of the drought affected regions, BalaVikasa’s Jala Vikasam initiative becomes one of the first massive community-based watershed movement in Andhra Pradesh. This highly successful initiative has revolutionized the water conservation systems at the village-level in this region.