Banaskantha’s Bhadvel village.
“Our village lake needs to be deepened. Can you please come and have a look at it?”
It surprises us when someone approaches us with such a request. We keep writing about the value of unkept and unattended community lakes and the need to deepen them but it hardly draws the required attention.
So when Kamleshbhai Acharya, the young and sensitive Sarpanch of Bhadvel village approached us with this request, it did cheer us up. It was not just Kamleshbhai, but the well-informed farmers of the village also were equally eager to initiate water conservation work in Bhadvel. And all of them participated in the meeting we had in the village.
Under the participatory water conservation efforts, VSSM contributes the cost of JCB machine used to excavate the soil, while the community needs to ferry the excavated soil and each household is also required to contribute in cash for the upkeeping of the deepened lake. The moment we talk about community contribution and their responsibility in facilitating the soil lifting their enthusiasm diminishes. But Bhadvel community absorbed the concept and were prepared to play their part. During the meeting itself, they offered to mobilize Rs. 1 lac for the task.
I am sure if we receive such acceptance from every village all lakes would be deepened within no time. The groundwater tables in Bhadvel have shrunk to 700 feet and below. And the villagers are hopeful that once the lake is excavated, the groundwater table will rise. The community is also prepared to set apart land for the tree plantation campaign along with a fence and water to irrigate the saplings.
Hope to come across more and more villages that follow Bhadvel’s path…..