The aim of SBI-CAIM’s intervention is to regenerate natural resources and productivity through ground water recharging (improving the soil's moisture content through soil and water conservation). The Trusts also plan to utilise the available funds of the Government of Maharashtra to install sprinkler irrigation systems as well as water-lifting pumpsets to complement the irrigation potential of the rainwater harvesting project.
This will help:Improve yield through streamlining the utilisation of water for the crop during critical dry spells.
Increase the area under irrigation and cultivation.
Reduce water-logging, decreasing damages due to high runoff.
Increase cropping intensity with an increased emphasis on rabi crops such as gram and wheat, as also vegetables such as cucumber, brinjal, tomato, chilli, and fruit plants.
Increase dairy farming and goat farming.
Make fishery possible in some areas.
In order to develop and manage water resources, the Trusts, in 2012, began the construction of water harvesting structures to provide protective irrigation to standing crops. So far, 1,900 water harvesting structures such as farm ponds, circular recharge pits, small earthen dams, check dams, etc. have been constructed. Plantation of grass like stylo, hybrid napier, Yashvant-Jayvant along the bunds and boundaries, which prevents soil erosion, is encouraged. The water harvesting structures, built depending on the catchment of the farm and the volume of water needed for its irrigation, are excavated towards the slopes so as to harvest surface water runoff. Sowing crops across the slopes have been encouraged as an effective and inexpensive method of controlling soil erosion, reducing runoff and increasing ground water level. Furthermore, the concept of integrated and participatory watershed development approach is also planned to be adopted, which will result in better efficiency and sustainable outcomes.
Twenty three kilometres of streams were widened and deepened, check dams were constructed, and 52 wells have been deepened, so they can hold more water and help enhance existing ground water levels. The concept of phad/gravity-based irrigation distribution systems is also promoted. The system consists of an installation of a underground pipe line network benefiting 15-20 acres from existing check dams, allowing farmers to irrigate at zero running cost; 163 check dams have also been newly constructed to provide better irrigation facilities to the farmers.
Till date, 4,100 farmers have benefitted in over 13,700 acres of cultivated land through various interventions of soil and water conservation and water resource development, resulting in an average annual increase in income of Rs. 2500 per farmer.
SBI plans to implement the rainwater harvesting project in 182 villages of nine talukas in Yavatmal, Wardha, Akola and Washim, so as to cover 5,900 farming families, and ensure irrigation for 18,150 acres.