The Kumbharwadi Project
In 2011, WOTR was awarded a grant from the American Friends of WOTR (AFoW) for a project in Kumbharwadi Village – a small village in the Indian state of Maharashtra with a population of 840. Climate change has resulted in land degradation and water scarcity in this area. Agricultural conditions are becoming more and more challenging each season, and farmers have struggled to adapt. Without adaptation, they will lack the water they need for their families, farmlands, households and livestock – resulting in starvation.
The Kumbharwadi project targets the 840 individuals and approximately 140 households in Kumbharwadi over an 18-month period. The goal of the activities to be carried out during this period – April 2012 through September 2013 – is to assist the villagers of Kumbharwadi to achieve sustainable livelihood by being better equipped to handle climate change. The project combines three general strategies: capacity building and social mobilization, agricultural and horticultural development, and land treatment. Through this project, WOTR anticipates that the villagers of Kumbharwadi will have increased their awareness of climate change and adopt new farming practices to help them cope with their changing environment.
The project in Kumbharwadi was identified by WOTR for a number of reasons. From 1999 through 2003, a watershed development program was implemented in Kumbharwadi. Although completed nearly a decade ago, developments such as contour bunds, check dams, farm bunds, and contour trenches can be seen throughout the surrounding countryside. They continue to slow water run-off during monsoon season.
However, in recent years, the village of Kumbharwadi has experienced very light monsoon seasons, resulting in a water scarcity. Limited resources and lack of sufficient water have put Kumbharwadi in a desperate situation. Fortunately, India’s Department of Agriculture has selected Kumbharwadi to participate in the Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP) – a government-funded program aimed at developing degraded natural resources. Because Kumbharwadi has been selected to receive land improvements funding through the IWMP, WOTR can leverage government dollars with AFoW’s contribution.
Because Kumbharwadi has had over a decade-long familiarity with the concepts of watershed development, the village was receptive to the new project proposed by WOTR and funded by AFoW and the Indian government. WOTR saw this project as a way to supplement the watershed work that was done in the Kumbharwadi watershed a decade prior as well as the current work being done through the IWMP.