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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Small Water Conservation Dam- Adds Joy to the Rural Farmers

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Chengkurigre Village of Rerapara Block is 46.5 km away from Ampati, the district headquarters of South West Garo Hills district in the state of Meghalaya. The village has 89 Households with a total population of 724. The village has good land resources and most of the households are involved in paddy cultivation for self-consumption. Areca-nut is the main cash crops of the villagers.

Community Led Landscape Management Project (CLLMP) – a joint project of World Bank & Government of Meghalaya came to this village in 2019 and created awareness on the importance of Natural Resources and its Management for better future. Village Natural Resource Management Committee (VNRMC) facilitated by the Project, is implementing different NRM based activities in the village with the support of Village Community Facilitators (VCFs) and Project Staff.The VNRMC had implemented 10 activities in the village which are mostly water related activity such as spring chamber and check dam benefiting many households directly or indirectly.

A Water Conservation Dam at Misil Chiring, constructed at the cost of Rs 1, 55,000 has brought a smile to 16 HH/farmers as the intervention has improved the irrigation in their paddy fields. The farmers have to repair the irrigation canal after every heavy summer rain. In the process, the farmers have to used locally available materials such as bamboo, wood and other shrubs every year. At least 20-30 bamboos are used annually and about 2 man-days per farmer in maintaining the canal for proper supply of water in the paddy fields.
Water Coservervation Dam at Misil Chiring
Water Conservation Dam and the paddy fields

The Check Dam has benefited many farmers directly and indirectly. It controlled soil erosion on both sides of the stream though in a small spillway. The stored water creates a home for small fishes and other aquatic organisms, moisture from the reservoir nourishes the surrounding area improving the vegetation, ground water charging, etc. The stored water can also be used for irrigation in times of less/no rain.

Besides which, the Check Dam has improved the irrigation to the paddy fields of 16 farmers with an approximate area of 26ha. With regular availability of water in the paddy fields the paddy grows heathier and the soil remains soft which makes the farmers save time and energy in weeding. “Now with the improved supply of water in the paddy fields we are getting more paddies. This year, I harvested 920kg (23mon) of paddy more than previous year for which I am grateful to project and the VNRMC” says Mrs Singre Marak. Like her, all the 16 farmers reported increased in paddy production this year ranging from 20-25 tins which was depending on the size of the paddy fields. The farmers are happy with the intervention of the project as they are getting much benefit directly and indirectly.
The benefiting farmers are relieved to some extent on the management of the traditional irrigation canal saving trees/bamboos, time and energy which can be utilised for other economic or productive activities. The Check Dam will, manage and maintain by the direct beneficiaries for the coming years.

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