Alwar people show the way from ‘Oran’ water harvesting

Adnan FaisalPradip Singh (pseudonym) is a small farmer, who lives at Sariska area in Alwar district in Rajsthan, India. Agriculture is the main option for his livelihood.
His cultivation places are so many dry hills area but for the cultivation and irrigation system that was needed to transport water to a section of land that is being used to grow crops. This system is controlled because there is such a thing as too much water and too little: Too much and the plants will drown, too little and the plants will not grow or be stunted.So that he desired enough water for the cultivation of crops. They rely on rich soil, and heavy rainfall. When the ground’s dry, and it doesn’t rain. Water is one of the most important production assets. It is the key to enhancing the livelihoods of rural people.
Pradip said, I don’t know about the water management, I don’t know the water engineering, but I know how to fight against environmental crisis.
He said, our community has been decided a plan to reserve monsoon water for the whole year cultivation and living.
The community finally finished digging a pond just in time for the monsoon.
At the monsoon, not only did the pond fill up, but the wells nearby started to fill. The dam wasn’t just storing the water on the surface; it was sending it back into the ground, recharging the aquifer.
It was just one pond, about three and a half acres, but it was greening 100 acres around it. People from neighboring villages came to see.
Thrilled with his savings on water and labor costs, Pradip convinced other farmers to follow suit.
The farmer said, “Most of the farmer in this area depends on the natural resources contained in their rural environment for meeting the livelihood concerns.”
They have often maintained a portion of such natural ecosystem type as sacred grove, for cultural and religious reason.
Today, he says, more than 1,200 villages have built more than 10,000 rainwater harvesting structures over an area larger than the whole India.
Seven rivers that were dry most of the year are now flowing year round. Farmers are back, there’s plenty of food, and their contribution become more popular on national grassroots rainwater harvesting movement.
At a morning, the farmer shows me around the rustic area he’s built as a sort of water restores system.
He said it was the completely arid area, no grasses. No tree! No moisture! But now, beautiful tree come up! Beautiful grasses coming up! Very healthy soil and we are also healthy!
I can see the changes when I head out with villagers to look at projects. The valleys are green with fields of mustard in yellow flower. Villages are full of kids both human and goat.
Around noon we stop at a stone and concrete dam almost 100 yards long, built by villagers with little outside help.
This work made by the community effort! No grant from the government. No grant from the other financial support. Nothing!
The farmer says rainwater harvesting is only part of the reason this area is back from the brink.
He’s also fought to keep out water-guzzling industries, like breweries and mines. He’s convinced villagers to plant trees on the hillsides, and to change the way they manage their crops in some cases burying pots with holes in them to deliver water to plants drip by drip.
The farmer said, “Time and money saved because of the irrigation has helped me grow additional crops and increased my income.” With this additional income, his wife bought two cows and now manages a dairy micro-enterprise. She can also spend more time with her children.
He has invested the savings in water and labor in growing cabbages and other vegetables and providing financial support to her extended family.
An environmental specialist Patap Pandey says rainwater harvesting has been great, especially for raising awareness. But the more urgent work is on reducing demand.
He says that can be done mainly with existing technology, like drip irrigation, or leveling fields, or just planting crops that need less water.
He says conditions can be dramatically different from place to place, so the key is to let communities take charge. But that takes coordination. With more than 600,000 villages, you can’t count on charismatic personalities like this farmer to pop up wherever you need them.
This water reserve system is the locally called by ‘Oran’. Community-managed Oran traditionally would be started emerged in ancient times as an explicit acknowledgement of the vulnerability of certain groups in a stratified society, who therefore required some mechanisms that guaranteed their basic needs, the farmer added.
Orans used to be the source of natural wealth like fodder, fuel, timber, berries, roots and herbs. Many species are found both within and outside the Orans and traditional societies use them for a variety of livelihood needs. Example: to provide traditional non-timber forest products and subsistence goods to the people; developing seedling orchards and seed production areas of cultural species and sustaining the essential ecological processes and life support systems.
Specifically, the natural resources in Orans are very rich, they not only yield several non-timber forest products, and they also harbour multiple-use livelihood goods. Oran’ an age-old traditional grassland & gene pool conservation system cannot remain in place until the community participation is ensured.
Aman Singh, an experts on Orans, said, “Today, the government is spending a huge amount on preserving wildlife sanctuaries for gene-pool conservation, but still they are not able to maintain the standards of protection that existed in the old sanctuaries such as Orans.
In those days these small sanctuaries were located between the villages.  Thus small is not only beautiful but it provides more local variety of habitat and involves the local communities directly in caring for their own environmental flora, fauna and gene pools.
The project helped local farming communities develop appropriate solutions for groundwater and surface water problems, improve pumping systems, and install low cost water harvesting.
With good soils, plentiful rain and water available for dry season cultivation, Oran’s productive potential is enormous. Mustard oil, onions, potatoes and rice are just a few of the agricultural products that can be grown in large quantity. But farmers are held back on many fronts.
They lack credit to buy quality seeds, fertilizer and other inputs, while limited basic infrastructure makes storage, transport and processing costly and difficult.

Leave a Reply