Water Related Projects
Equitable Water decided, from its inception, to focus on projects which improved the lives of people by improving their access to water, for drinking and irrigation.
In India nearly 170 million hectares (425 million acres) are classified as degraded land, about half of which lies in undulating semi-arid regions where rain fed farming is practised. An initiative begun in 1992, called the Watershed Development Programme, aims to regenerate natural resources by stabilising soil, water and vegetation and enhance productivity of resources in ecologically sustainable ways. The programme has the support of the Indian government, technical and financial support from the German government and volunteer support from a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including SSM. The success of the projects depends on the participation of the community, with emphasis on self-help, environment protection and poverty alleviation.
A watershed is the drainage basin or catchment area of a particular stream or river, most of which are dry outside the monsoon season. A watershed may vary from a few hectares to thousands of hectares. The technology is simple and sustainable and follows a ‘ridge to valley approach’, the objectives of which are to reduce the rate of flow of rainwater, raising the ground water levels (and thus recharging defunct wells) and reforestation.
However, while a watershed is identified by its physical characteristics, it is the peoples’ commitment that decides whether the project takes off or not. No project begins without a clear demonstration from the village that they can work together, plan, implement and maintain the watershed programme.
Equitable Water work in partnership with local organisations, usually those already involved with watershed development projects. We try to add value to those projects by extending their scope so as to maximise their benefits. So, for example, we might help with the desilting of a well in one village where the water table had risen, thanks to watershed work, and provide drinking water in another.