Mission Rahat: Marathwada Drought Relief
The Marathwada region of Maharashtra comprising the districts of Latur, Beed, Usmanabad, Parbhani, Nanded, Hingoli, Aurangabad and Jalna is parched. Repeated failures of monsoons over the years, depletion of water tables, and over exploitation of ground water have led to acute scarcity of water and crippled the region’s economy.
For the past seven years, Reliance Foundation (RF), through its flagship Rural Transformation programme, has been working to provide long- term solution to Maharashtra’s water woes. But the parched region needs immediate relief on a priority basis.
Mission Rahat – Marathwada: RF deploys water tankers to quench thirst of 100 villages
Moved by the plight of farmers, RF has embarked on its Mission Rahat – Marathwada. An RF team, in collaboration with government agencies, conducted a recce and identified 100 most distressed villages in the four districts of Latur, Hingoli, Jalna and Nanded. The Foundation team has identified sources of water, and has developed a system to deliver drinking water to over 50,000 families across 100 villages. Each village is supplied 2-4 tankers of water per day. An efficient system, put in place by RF, ensures equitable and safe distribution of water. RF deployed water tankers to provide immediate relief till the monsoons arrive.
In addition, RF team has been working with the communities in Beed since November 2015 to mitigate the impact of the drought, and kick- started community welfare programs in 25 villages of Marathwada.
Teaming up with locals to find solutions.
Reliance Foundation, in collaboration with various local civil society organisations, has initiated several drought relief measures in the region. The measures include short-term support systems aimed at reaching out to the people whose sustenance is under threat due to the drought. The relief work leverages both the best of modern technology and traditional wisdom to work out ways of drought- proofing the region for the future. The focus is to provide relief in a process-driven way and inculcate a spirit of self-reliance among the affected people.
The RF interventions address the following issues:
Traditionally, the task of fetching water has been considered to be the responsibility of the women folk. For them, every dawn begins with a long and tedious quest for fuel, fodder and water. The women folk fetch between 150- 200 litres of water, after an arduous trek of more than 15 kms per day, spending more than 3 hours to fetch water for their household consumption. Such physical exertions wreck their health, with problems ranging from chronic fatigue, spinal and pelvic deformities, etc. RF focused the first intervention to help these women by installing 25 tanks in 25 villages in the Kaij block of Beed district to supplement the drinking water needs of 28,000 people.
TO THE RESCUE OF CATTLE:
To support the drinking water needs of cattle in eight villages, 11 traditional structures called budki (a step pond dug in a dry tank bed to harvest soil moisture, designed in a manner that would let animals enter the pond bed) have been dug to create a water storage capacity of more than 3,287 cubic metre.
RF, in association with the Gram Panchayats, is preparing development plans to de-risk villages from subsequent droughts. Activities ranging from desiltation of tanks/nullahs, construction of water harvesting structures, repairing damaged dams, and construction of open wells have been taken up. As of now, de-siltation work in 30 small sized stop dams and earthen water harvesting structures in 5 villages have been completed, creating a storage of 31,770 cubic meters.