Water is the basic human right but unfortunately for the tribal communities residing along the Sahyadris, it is a distant dream. They not only cannot have more than one crop but 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 impediment 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 areas Raah Foundation realised that only water can break the vicious circle of poverty and underdevelopment. It was hence important to create water sources while also supporting the bridging of the gap between these water sources and the huts and homes of the tribal women.
Raah Foundation has been instrumental in building several check dams in the otherwise drought prone areas in Jawhar Taluka of Palghar District. These check dams have not only provided the much needed perennial water sources but also, very importantly, their water has allowed farmers to pursue multiple crops which has allowed farmers to stay in their villages throughout the year and bolstered the overall village economy. The abundant water in the check dams has also improved the underground water levels thereby increasing the water levels in the wells and other water sources.
Raah Foundation was one of the first few NGOs to introduce the innovative water wheels in Jawhar. A water wheel is a 45 litre capacity tank which can be pushed or pulled. This not only saves time for the woman but importantly has no adverse impact on her back or knees.