Aga Khan initiative harvests water in parched villages

By Times Of India on 25 Feb 2018 | read
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AHMEDABAD: In Surendranagar district, there are at least 60,000-odd odd families which may not bear the brunt of the acute water crisis. This is because of the roof rainwater harvesting systems installed in the villages by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). Villagers have enough water to take care of their drinking water needs.
Shah Karim Al Hussaini, the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide is on a four-day visit to Gujarat till Sunday. The CEO of AKRSP-India, Apoorva Oza, said that the institute has attempted to fulfil the Aga Khan’s vision of serving the poor in India and implement sustainable development models.

“At a time when Gujarat is staring at a major water crisis due to diminished Narmada water, the AKRSP has done sizeable work in drip irrigation, lift irrigation, and roof rainwater harvesting in districts such as Surendranagar and Junagadh,” Oza said. AKRSP works mainly in Junagadh, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Gir Somnath, Narmada and Dang districts.

“We have appointed entrepreneurs in Saurashtra who rope in farmers to opt for drip irrigation and bio-farming to protect their farms from further damage,” Oza said. “The land there is impacted by salinity.”

The agency, which pioneers in the formation of canal co-operative networks — which was accepted by the state government as a model — has helped farmers become partners in the management of irrigation water.

“The fresh focus now is on helping Swachchta Mission by recycling sewerage water generated by village homes which can be used for irrigation in farms,” Oza said. “This has twin benefits as it also helps channel waste water and minimizes water needs for irrigation.”

The other concept being propagated is solar farming to pump water for irrigation. “When there is little rain, farmers, mainly tribals, can generate money by selling this power to power companies,” Oza said.

 

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