This UP village is setting an example with its ‘water budgeting’ model
Farol Nagariya, a remote village in the Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, has declared itself a ‘Jal Budget Gaon’. The title is prominently displayed -- painted on a wall -- outside the panchayat office.
This village, which has just about a hundred households, has adopted a mix of budgeting and conservation techniques to tackle its water woes and improve the groundwater table.
Such is their success story, that the Firozabad district administration has now ordered replication of Farol Nagariya’s community-driven rationing and management model in six water-stressed development blocks of the district. An order to this effect was issued by the chief development officer of Firozabad, Neha Jain.
Firozabad has nine development blocks, out of which six are categorised as dark zones (areas demarcated by the government where over-exploitation of groundwater is acute and depletion exceeds rate of recharging).
“Not only do we ration water, our ‘Jal Budget’ model also involves replenishing the groundwater table,” said village council head Ajiram Rajpoot.
“Each household has created soak pits for putting the waste water from the kitchen and the bathroom back into the ground. Besides, soak pits have also been created near hand-pumps. We have also planted trees around the hand-pumps,” he explained.
Rajpoot said the council passed a resolution on July 29, this year, to work towards transforming the village into a ‘Jal Budget Gaon’. “We started soon after passing the resolution and achieved our goal by August 15,” he said.
Shedding light on the villagers’ rationing efforts, he said, “Earlier, a household that used 20 buckets of water a day, has cut down its usage by five buckets. This excludes the water we use for livestock. All of us realise that before implementing this model, we were wasting water. We were not at all conscious about water conservation.”
CHECK DAMS & PONDS
Residents of Farol Nagariya have also constructed a check dam at a nullah in the village and dug up three ponds. Not only that – they have placed an iron mesh in the nullah to prevent polythene and other waste items from entering river Yamuna.
“We wanted to ensure that when the rain water drains into the river via the nullah, it does not carry plastic and other waste with it to the river,” explained Rajpoot.
The programme, he said, was very cost-effective too.
“All our efforts have been low-cost. Villagers managed the programme without requiring any substantial budget. Whatever little expenses were there, were met through the panchayat fund,” said Rajpoot.
The ‘Jal Budget’ programme, he said, was the brainchild of Prabhat Mishra, consultant, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (rolled out by the Centre), Firozabad.
“Soon after we decided to go ahead with the programme, Mishra held three classes for the villagers here – teaching them about water budgeting, conservation, and cutting down on pollution,” said Rajpoot.
The villagers now expect a much improved groundwater table when the summer strikes next year. “The underground water in our ravine village drops down to a depth of about 160 feet during peak summers but this time, we expect much better results,” said Rajpoot.