Jawahar village is known for thick forests and natural beauty. Nature is as cruel as it is kind in this area. The biggest problem is of water – or the lack of it. Even though Jawahar receives more than adequate rainfall, lack of water holding capacity in the soil (due to rocky terrain) and absence of rain-water harvesting methods, leads too much of the water being lost.
Despite of heavy rain every year, villagers have to struggle for potable water. Only one crop is grown during the rains because there’s no water post Sept/October for irrigation.
As always, come summer, women travel long distances to fetch water. Malathi introduced the Water wheel to one village first. Women were amused to see how easily they could roll 45 liters of water in a drum without having to carry it on their heads. Slowly they started using them and soon there was a huge demand for water wheels from all 3 villages.
What’s interesting is that as long as the water had to carried on pots, it’s a woman’s job, but the moment you introduce some mechanization (in the form of the water wheel), the men jump in to assist. It was pleasantly surprised to see men pulling the water wheel
Construction of several bandharas (check dams), a well, cleaning and de-silting of existing wells, provision of sintex tanks to hold roof-run off, constructions of hauds (concrete pits to hold roof run-off) are some of the many measures initiated and executed by her for the 3 villages.
Her current work -in-progress is construction of a pond that can hold approximately 12 lakh liters of water. This is being constructed in Aaptale village which suffers the worst of the water crisis.
In the summer of 2018, nearly Rs.80, 000 worth of tanker-water was supplied to this village. It was heart-rending to see an entire household managing with 10 liters of water in a pot, during peak summer.