How Maharashtra’s Ralegan Siddhi Village Is Beating Drought

Social activist Anna Hazare had mobilised villagers to work on the watershed development project that has kept the village water sufficient for nearly four decades. (Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Maharashtra, is facing acute drought and weather officials say that it has received lowest rainfall in the state this year. Ralegan Siddhi has remained water sufficient for four decades, even in the severe droughts of 2014 and 2015. The village’s water sufficiency dates back to another drought in 1972 when social activist Anna Hazare started a project that would insulate the village from dry spells. Here’s how the villagers are beating the drought:

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Ansar Shaikh,a local guide, shows the trenches on the contours of hills at Ralegan Siddhi, a small village in the western state of Maharashtra that has remained water sufficient for nearly four decades. Villagers have dug trenches on the hills to stop rain water run-off.

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Dhondiba Ethoba Authia, a farmer at Ralegan Siddhi, a small village in Maharashtra, says his farmland has yielded a rich harvest of white millet crop. The village’s watershed development project has kept it water sufficient for nearly four decades. 

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Sunanda Ganesh Garde, 24, poses in front of her house in Ralegan Siddhi in the western state of Maharashtra. Her farmer husband grows millet and onions. Incomes in this village have improved over the years with the watershed development project ensuring water is never scarce for farmlands. 

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Carpenter Babban Baburao Bhalekar works on a handle for a farmer’s hoe at Ralegan Siddhi in the western state of Maharashtra. Bhalekar was among those who dug trenches on hills to arrest rainwater run-off as part of the watershed development project that has kept this village water sufficient for nearly four decades. 

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

A man looks at a poster of a film on Anna Hazare, an ex-army man who returned to his village, Ralegan Siddhi, in the western state of Maharashtra in the mid-70s following a major drought and mobilised villagers to work on a watershed development project that would in the years to come keep the village water sufficient. 

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

A farmer harvests the white millet crop on his farmland at Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra. Villagers here follow a cropping pattern that excludes water-guzzling crops such as sugarcane and grow less water-intensive varieties such as maize and millet. 

(Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Farmers sit next to a rich millet harvest at their farmland in the village. Villagers here follow a cropping pattern that excludes water-guzzling crops such as sugarcane and grow less water-intensive varieties such as millet and vegetables.

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