River Linking Project Jalgaon, Maharashtra

To equitably distribute water and resolve problems of water scarcity, the local administration of Jalgaon has linked various water channels across the region. The initiative has helped to channel water for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Jalgaon, due to its location, receives inadequate rainfall during the monsoon season and water supply storage facilities are below the minimum storage level. In 2005, when the district witnessed an almost drought like situation, the local administration felt the need to look for a long term solution. Given that there was already a network of canals and reservoirs to channel the water, interlinking of waterways seemed to be an appropriate solution.

The local administration followed a methodical approach to sustainably implement the project in a timely manner with minimal costs. It was executed in a innovative way to overcome the challenge of balancing ecological concerns, human displacement and high costs. The administration also followed a participatory and proactive approach to ensure support from local people. This initiative is inspiring as it was conceptualised, planned and implemented in four months.

By distributing surplus water to deficit areas, the government has successfully made resources available to 128 villages and 5 municipal corporations. In total, 8.5 lakh people have benefitted and the total irrigated area has increased from 13,000 hectares to 30,000 hectares in 2008. The impact of project was assessed through a socio-economic survey in 2007 and nearly 54 percent of farmers have noticed increases in the level of water in their wells with 57 percent of people reporting adequate drinking water.

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