Watershed interventions provide groundwater access all year through
Water conservation structures in Anantapuramu: A check dam (L) constructed in Kondampalle village, Anantapuramu, during 2017 has led to increase in groundwater levels that benefits a newly constructed pond (R) in Ramachandra Reddy’s farm, providing sufficient water to irrigate a second crop. The check dam constructed in 2017 through the project has ensured that groundwater is available at a depth of 3 meters. Before the project, even water for drinking purposes was not available, and groundwater was available only at about 183 meters during the dry seasons,” he says. Photo: Arun Seshadri, ICRISAT
In the semi-arid tropics water is a precious resource that often does not trickle down to small farms. Farmers who can afford borewells, save their crops during dry spells in the cropping season whilst others watch crops and investment dry up. Now, a CSR project led by ICRISAT has shown how watershed interventions contributed to a 2-meter rise in groundwater in Anantapuramu district, Andhra Pradesh state, South India. The RECL-ICRISAT watershed sites provide proof of concept for holistic solutions that improve system productivity and livelihoods. In project villages compared to non-watershed villages, even a 10-foot deep farm pond yielded quick access to irrigation water. Eighty new ponds dug during 2020-21 created extra storage capacity of around 16,000 m3 bringing the total to 66,000 m3, benefiting 1500 smallholders in the region by providing water all year through.