ICAR-CAFRI, Jhansi Implemented Agroforestry Based Parasai-Sindh Watershed
Successful implementation of agroforestry based natural resource management interventions following watershed approach by ICAR-CAFRI, Jhansi during the most acute drought years (2005-2016) in Garhkundar-Dabar watershed in Tikamgarh district of M.P. led to replicate the results for development of Parasai-Sindh watershed (2011-2016) in Babina block of Jhansi, U.P. by a consortia of ICAR-CAFRI, Jhansi and ICRISAT, Hyderabad along with local community.
Creation of capacity of 125,000 m3/year through cost-effective (15-20% less cost) rainwater harvesting structures (checkdams, nallah plugs, rehabilitation of traditional rainwater harvesting system of Haveli cultivation, field bunding) resulted in crop diversification with more than 115 ha brought under agroforestry systems based on fruits and multipurpose trees.
Increased groundwater level (2-5 meters) and base flow (2 to 3 times) and reduced storm flow made it drought resilient even in years with 25-30% deficit rainfall. About 176 ha rabi fallow brought under cultivation. Productivity of different crops has been increased in the range of 20-70%. Area under fodder cultivation increased from 4.0 ha (pre-intervention) to 60.0 ha (post-intervention), which led to improved livestock productivity.
Average household income increased more than two times within a span of four years. Parasai-Sindh watershed has been used as Launching Pad for Jal Kranti Abhiyan on 5th June 2015 launched by Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR, GOI. Officials from Govt. of India, state and district administrations, field functionaries of line departments and NGOs, farmers and students frequently visit the site for learning. Officials/Trainees from ASEAN and SAARC countries, Kenya, Sweden, USA and Germany have visited the site.
Earlier open wells were hardly supporting for 1-2 hrs irrigation during rabi season due to low water column and farmers mainly women were spending 10 to 15 days or 40-50 hrs to irrigate one hectare wheat crop. Now majority of the wells are supporting round the clock irrigation and farmers complete the irrigation within a day (15-20 hrs). Thus the farmers, especially women have more time to care for their school going children and look after other households’ activities.
It has also reduced the cost of cultivation of wheat crop by Rs. 6000 to 8000 per ha. Post implementation, drudgery in collecting drinking water is greatly reduced through enhanced availability of water in wells and hand pumps due to augmented groundwater recharge. This model can be scaled up to overcome water scarcity in whole Bundel khand region. NITI Aayog on Facebook on 18th April 2019 has rated this as Best Water Practices.