Village Committees In Rural Odisha Lead The Way In Rainfall Monitoring And Conservation

Hello Grove member!

I am Chandrika writing to share some exciting community-led work from Gram Vikas’ partner villages in Odisha.

We at Gram Vikas celebrate the extraordinary commitment and hard work of many Adivasi communities to restore water sources and hundreds of acres of degraded land in different districts in Odisha. Their work includes afforestation, spring shed management, land development and restoration and in the process rejuvenating the local communities’ agency and ownership.

One of the habitations in Kalahandi, where Adivasi communities are leading from the forefront to fight climate change and whose work was recognised by the 10th Earth Care Awards.

In the next 10 years, we hope to reach 1000 Gram Panchayats in Odisha and Jharkhand through the Water Secure Gram Panchayat Programme (WSGP) to build long term resilience against climate change-induced water insecurity.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. We hope you enjoy this issue, and share with us your feedback or suggestion.

Climate change and consequent disturbances in rainfall patterns pose serious challenges to the food and livelihoods security of remote rural communities Gram Vikas partners with.

A comprehensive approach considering social, economic, institutional, and technical aspects is required to address the challenges of water security. The Village Development Committees (VDCs) in our partner villages are the stewards for water security, quality, and sustainability. They are taking the lead in measuring rainfall with technology to fight climate change.

Mohan Singh Majhi, Secretary of Mardiguda VDC in Kalahandi district, mobilised his community to involve themselves in forest conservation actively. Over the past four years, his ability to utilise modern systems and tools has helped village residents conduct extensive watershed and conservation work in Mardiguda.

He shares the importance of measuring rainfall to fight the ill effects of climate change, “Our forests have depleted due to unsustainable agricultural practices. The drying up of the Indravati spring which is the primary water source for the forty-five families residing in our village, during the summer months has led to severe water shortages. Women bear the burden of fetching water and taking care of household water needs. Changes in rainfall patterns resulted in longer dry months. There was nothing else one could do but restore the forests and regularly monitor rainfall in this area which will help us understand groundwater availability in future.”

The village raised social and agroforestry plantations with more than 25000 trees on the barren land surrounding the village. Mohan Singh regularly monitors the rainfall data with the help of the Manual Rain Gauge installed in the village. The rainfall data will allow the VDC greater flexibility in creating water-focused development plans for the village.

“Climate change is now a reality. Rainfall patterns have changed. Such localised accurate forecasts through data collected over a period of time will allow our village committee to optimise water use”, confirms Mohan.

In 42 habitations across 39 Gram Panchayats in Odisha, 33 village youth trained by Gram Vikas use manual rain gauges to record rainfall in a smartphone application. This is part of our larger effort to make 1000 Gram Panchayats in Odisha and Jharkhand water secure by 2030.

Mohan Singh Majhi monitors the rainfall data with the help of the Manual Rain Gauge installed in Mardiguda village in Kalahandi district.