Khargone (Madhya Pradesh): A modest invention, such as check-dam, has improved the lives of 500-odd residents of Kusumbia hamlet in water-scarce area of Khargone district. Located in Manikera panchayat under Jhirniya janpad, village holds infamous tag of water scarce village. Crops invariably fail in an area where livelihood is entirely dependent on agriculture. A group of villagers took upon themselves to build a check-dam and collect enough water to raise ground water level and ensure irrigation so that they could harvest their third crop in a year with the help of the MGNREGA plan.
Baliram, Chainsingh and many other farmers who draw water from the check dam explained how it all began a few years ago with every deciding to use "Nullah" (a tiny stream of water) flowing a few kilometres away from their village.
During the monsoon and winter seasons, this tiny stream has enough water till February and March to meet their requirements. It dries up at the start of summer.
“We decided to save this water body by building a check dam across the stream. We approached the panchayat and started construction of the check dam from MGNREGA,” they said. Every day, 15 to 18 people from the hamlet worked on the project, and after 45 days of hard effort, the check dam was ready.
After that, the stream, which used to dry up only in February and March, had plenty of water even in the middle of April, according to Baliram. "We never imagined we'd get a third crop in a year because of a small initiative to build a small check dam." "Water has accumulated up to about 400 metres due to the construction of the check dam, which is enough to meet our needs," residents added.
We have not seen a better example of water conservation
The construction began under MGNREGA for water conservation and was completed in 45 days, according to assistant engineer Sheela Billore, who developed the plan of the check dam. According to Billore, the check dam has improved the lives of the residents of Kusumbia community. “Farmers, who used to struggle to secure water for ordinary crops, now appear to be competing for a third crop in the same area, and it is truly amazing to see such good use of a work in such a short period of time,” she added. The check dam, according to the officer, is 30 metres long and 10 feet tall, and it cost Rs 14 lakh.
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