Nalanda model of water conservation chosen for national award

By Reena Sopam

Nalanda, Bihar : A model of water conservation adopted successfully by the authorities in Nalanda district of south central Bihar, has been selected for the national award for excellence in the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee programme (MGNREGP), by the ministry of rural development.

The award for excellence will be conferred on ‘Project Jal Sanchay’, the water conservation model developed in chief minister Nitish Kumar’s native district, at a function to be organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on June 19.

Nalanda deputy development commissioner (DDC) Kundan Kumar said he water conservation programme began just as an administrative initiative, but soon turned into a people’s movement.

“Nalanda has been an agriculture oriented district, but it always remained affected by drought like conditions, which impacted cultivation and farm production. Though, during monsoon there were flash floods in the area, the water run off used to be so high that within 15 days the entire water got washed away,” he said.

It was under these conditions that ‘project jal sanchay’ was launched under MGRNREGP, to offer farmers a wide spectrum of solutions to their water crisis .

“So, check dams were created and traditional Aahar-Pyne irrigation system and traditional water bodies were desilted and renovated, accompanied by campaigns to create awareness about rainwater harvesting”, Kumar said.

“But during field visits our team realised that knowledge of the traditional water conservation system could be most useful in water management and in maintaining water table in the area”, he said.

So the things were discussed with local farmers and the traditional wisdom so collected was later incorporated into ‘jal sanchay project ‘ design.

“What were have here now is a blend of modern day techniques and technologies with traditional knowledge to evolve a holistic approach to the problem of water conservation and it worked well,” the DDC said.

The water conservation project, under MGNREGP, has not only improved the availability of water but has also positively impacted farm production in the areas covered by the project, he added.

Source: Hindustan Times

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