Save Indian Farmers

Project: Project Jal
Location: Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh
Category: Environment and Income Generation

Borewell Recharge Project

Borewells are vertically drilled wells that are bored into an underground aquifer in order to extract water. Borewells are expensive to drill, their water yield is not guaranteed, and even successful borewells tend to run dry after a few years because the system lacks a method to conserve the stored water. Many farmers in Andhra Pradesh go into debt to drill multiple borewells which produce water for only a limited time.

Save Indian Farmers’ Project Jal received IDS support for the first time in 2017. The goal of Project Jal was to provide a sustainable rain water harvesting solution to debt-ridden farmers by means of a borewell recharge system. According to the grant application, “the direct beneficiary of the project is the farmer who currently relies solely on the monsoon season to harvest crops.”

With the aid of Save Indian Farmers’ borewell recharge technique, these farmers will be able to harvest two or even three crops per year. Once installed, the recharged borewell will be self-sustaining, and the stored rain water can be used long after the monsoon rains are over.

First, Save Indian Farmers identified needy farmers with borewells in the drought-affected villages of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh.

Heavy equipment had to be rented and supplies (e.g., cement rings, nylon mesh) needed to be purchased. Implementation consultants were paid for their expert advice. The farmers themselves contributed to this effort in two ways: they purchased all the material needed for the filtration system and they provided all necessary labor.

While the work funded by the IDS grant directly benefited 20 needy families, the impact of Project Jal went much further. The effects of the recharged borewells are felt in the surrounding areas: because the water table in the region rises, all bodies of water—borewells, ponds, open wells—see an increase in water levels.

Despite the obvious success of Project Jal, there were some rough spots. In some cases, the work was delayed because some farmers had standing crops in their fields, making it impossible to get the excavators near the borewell. Farmers in some villages had trouble obtaining filtration materials—sand, gravel, and rocks—because they were unavailable locally and had to be brought from neighboring towns at a higher cost. Sometimes the digging equipment hit hard rock, causing excavation to take longer than expected.

Next year, Save Indian Farmers hopes to expand the borewell recharge initiative across five different Indian states. The plan for 2018 is to recharge 200+ borewells in drought-stricken areas of India.

IDS Coordinators: Navin Sanghavi and Nila Vora
Project Manager: Mahesh Wani

–2017 IDS annual report