To eliminate the groundwater crisis in rural areas, The Art of Living initiated one of the most effective & scalable water conservation projects, JalTara, which entails increasing the underground water table and helping impoverished farmers and women of rural India. The critical determinant of this project's impact is the farmers' improved livelihood.
"Before the JalTara Yojna, minimal & regional effort was made to conserve groundwater. After the implementation of JalTara Yojna, there was plenty of groundwater in villages for agriculture throughout the year, in our wells & domestic use," said Suman Bai, a farmer from Murumkheda Village in Maharashtra. Twenty years of disrupting hydrological cycle and the unavailability of groundwater to meet a family's basic needs in the villages finally bore significant results in the form of JalTara.
JalTara resolves the inadequacy of water resources
The groundwater in India meets more than 80% of its Agricultural and domestic requirements. In the past 20 years, groundwater levels are decreasing by more than 25 mm per year owing to disrupted hydrological cycle due to deforestation, soil erosion, siltation, over exploitation of underground water, & global warming, leading to very high-water stress in more than 55% of the area. The existing Rainwater recharge system is not sufficient to tackle this problem with 78% of monsoon rainwater flowing into the ocean every year, while only 6% of average annual rainfall is saved & stored.
The unique JalTara approach is to create recharge structures of 6-feet-deep and 4-feet-across, at the lowest point within every arable acre-plot of rural land in large numbers (approx. 500 recharge structures per village), to transform hard earth into an absorbent sponge. JalTara's scalable sponge approach enables rainwater to bypass dense, impervious topsoil and recharge underground aquifers.
JalTara – An answer to the problems of farmer's family
"I had 6 acres of land, of which one acre produced crops. Previously, there was mud after rains. After the construction of JalTara recharge structures, the water level in my well has risen. I can grow more crops now," Appasaheb Bahekar, a farmer from Jalna, rejoices.
The notable impact of JalTara comprised a rise in farmers' income in the villages. An average increase of 120% was observed in the farmers' income, while year-long work availability to employ idle farmers rose by 88% in 2021. Earlier, the problems that affected farm productivity leading to crop spoilage were also eradicated. It was done by focusing on exterminating water logging from the farms, which reduced crop spoilage by 100%.
Women in the villages who had to travel long distances to fetch water to quench the water requirements of the family were now apportioned with a wide availability of water resources in all the arable lands on the field. Children in the vicinity can now consume clean drinking water and eliminate contamination. With the increased income of the villagers, children can now attend schools and get the basic amenities of life they were previously deprived of. These availabilities also aid in improving the mental and social well-being of children in villages.
The impact of JalTara has been of prime importance for the farm workers and the villagers, who are the prime stakeholders of the notable project and even came together to make the vision of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living community a success. The affirmed response of the villagers is the most significant testimony to prove the same.
Vikas Hamre, a resident of Warud village, says, "JalTara's technique benefited us without spending anything to implement the JalTara technique on our farm and reaped immediate benefits after recharge structures were constructed next to our wells as the water levels doubled."
JalTara - an initiative to rejuvenate water resources in villages of Maharashtra, is now a pan-nation project. The impact it has generated on the farmers and children of the rural belt of India is remarkable. The framework combined with the scientific mechanism of water recharge is an ascending advancement.
About The Art of Living - Social Projects
The Art of Living JalTara, under the guidance of world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is undertaking measures to solve the current water crisis in India. The project focuses on eradicating water poverty and ensuring farmers and villagers can scale their income with maximized crop productivity.
Source: PR Newswire