This is the story of Shila Devi, a 45-year-old woman based in the Aravali region of Rajasthan who is bound to live in an environment where groundwater has no clue. With all the traditions and family set-up, people are so attached to their land and society. They keep finding new ways to survive and arrange water for daily needs. The case of Shila Devi is also not unique in this case, her husband is a farmer and the whole family invests their time in agricultural practice and animal husbandry.
This village is Dadhikar in the Hajipur Panchayat of Alwar district where Shila Devi lives with her husband Raju Gurjar, three daughters and one son. Her husband is in daily wage labour and managing the family’s subsistence with Shila Devi somehow. They have a small piece of land around 13 biswa and sets of cattle. The land was under irrigation and last time, she cultivated 1200 kg of onion and sold them to the market at 7rs per kg. Although the quantity was less as per the size of farming land. So, she had earned a total of 8400rs by the sale of onions.
She belongs to a Gurjar family, and the Gurjar community are primarily involved in livestock rearing, she also has 2 buffalo, 2 cows and 5 goats. She sells 3 litres of milk every day. But due to water scarcity, they faced many challenges in livestock rearing and agri-farming. And to produce something productive and meaningful from all these resources, water is an essential element which is lacking here and because of this, the family of Shila Devi was struggling on a daily basis.
Role of SPECTRA in water conservation
But all the above-discussed situation was before she joined hands with Spectra Saraswati SHG. Spectra Organization, with the help of the CSR team, has started a project to conserve rainwater. In the area of Dadhikar, they have changed the situation by constructing Johad(percolation pond) and this also helped in recharging the groundwater. So, a renovation has started in this drought area. This whole campaign and activity had different positive impacts on the people of Dadhikar village.
Through this project, many women got employment opportunities, as they were involved in the construction process and the households of Dadhikar, who depend on livestock rearing and agri-farming. They have actively participated in all these works and get benefited a lot from this project.
Shila Devi said, “ I thought I would sell all the animals as it became difficult to rear them as there was a huge scarcity of water, but after the implementation of this project, now all the wells and Johad have sufficient water. Therefore, we do not need to go far for water; now, we have enough water in our village for agri-farming and livestock rearing.
This is so inspirational and has provided positive support to SPECTRA to do much work like this and change people’s life at ground zero. This story is a milestone and had proven to help peasants in ensuring that rainwater conservation can become a changemaker in a farmer’s life.