Water is the basic human right but unfortunately for the tribal communities residing along the Sahyadris, it is a distant dream. They hardly have enough water for one crop cultivation and even struggle to get enough water to drink during the months of January to June. Women spend hours doing the back-breaking exercise of walking long distances through tough terrains fetching water. Not only is water one of the biggest impediments to livelihoods but the biggest obstacle for development. Farmers have to migrate in search of work after paddy season is over due to lack to adequate water. After working in the tribal area; Raah Foundation realized that only water can break the vicious circle of poverty and underdevelopment. Creating new water bodies and rejuvenating existing water sources and conservation is extremely important.
Raah Foundation takes a cluster approach for watershed development program wherein the nearby tribal hamlets are taken together for water shed program. This has a cascading effect and improves the under-water table of the entire cluster creating sustainable water situation.
32 check dams and counting, Raah foundation since 2014 has created an additional water capacity of over 20 million litres. Water projects has benefited over 10,000 tribals directly. The year-round water in the check dam has not only it improved the underwater table and filled up the wells but importantly makes adequate water available for bathing, cattle drinking and importantly agriculture.
Water collected in the check dams percolate thereby improving the underwater table which makes the wells a perennial source of drinking water. Since 2014, Raah Foundation has built/ resurrected and deepened over 41 wells thereby completely changing the drinking water situation in these hamlets. Water was initially avaliable in the only well in Kalidhond a small hamlet in Jawhar and used to dried up by November forcing the women to walk long distances for fetching water for over six months of the year. The existing well was only 10 feet deep and also full of silt. Raah Foundation improved its water capacity by deepening it to 35 feet deep, desilted it thereby making water available through the year. This is just one story, each well has a story. And we have many such success stories, each unique in its own way!
Bore wells : Locations where well or check dam cannot be built, a bore well is a great solution to the water problem. Since 2014, Raah Foundation has built over 32 bore wells that suffice different uses from addressing drinking water problem to making water available for agriculture.
Bridging the gap between water and homes:
Water wheel is a 45-litre capacity drum which can be pulled or pushed instead of carrying weight on head. Raah Foundation has distributed over 1500 wheels which is not only bridging the gap between the woman and their homes but importantly the task of fetching water has become interesting and even men have started helping women fetch water using a water wheel.
Pipeline to connect water body to the hamlets:
Khoch/ Poshera was two tribal hamlets in Mokhada situated around 2 kms from the Wagh dam which is a perennial source of water. The women had to walk 4 kms each day through tough terrain to fetch water. The hardships were a deterrent for the young generation who soon migrated leaving the old and vulnerable to stay back. In 2018, Raah Foundation built a pipeline connecting the dam and the villages which has not only proved to be a boon to the tribals but solved the drinking water problem.Mos importantly it has made adequate water available for farming and full time agriculture.