National Water Awards: Villagers’ efforts help Almora gram panchayat win top prize for water conservation | Dehradun News

Almora: The remote village of Dhaspad in the Dhaula Devi block of Almora did not have a single irrigation canal until ten years ago and although agriculture is the main source of income for the majority of the villagers , cultivation depended entirely on precipitation.
Eager to tackle the problem, the villagers, including women and children, launched a community initiative. The district administration also supported their efforts under the Jalgam Gramya project.
Initially, the villagers developed small ponds (khanties) and chal-khals (small ponds at the top of the hills) to conserve water. When their efforts yielded better results than expected, they decided to develop medium-sized ponds and even a polyhouse to facilitate irrigation.
In the past seven years, 11 kutcha ponds, 43 small ponds, 2,540 small ponds, 46 roof water collection tanks, five mass irrigation tanks, 18 LDPE (low density polyethylene) tanks, 13 botanical check dams and 21 dry stone check dams, among others, have been built in the village.
On Friday January 7, their efforts were recognized by the central government and the Dhaspad gram panchayat received the first prize from the Union Ministry of jal shakti in the water conservation category at the third edition of the National Water Awards 2020 .
Delighted with the award, Dinesh Chandra Pandey, head of Dhaspad village, told TOI: “Until 2016, the lack of a water source for irrigation was a constant problem here. However, over the past seven years, thanks to public participation, a seemingly impossible task has been The situation has changed dramatically now and we have started to cultivate high value crops in addition to traditional crops. ”
District officials also praised the villagers. District Magistrate Vandana Singh said, “This recognition is a testament to the tireless efforts of the villagers.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Dr SK Upadhyay, Deputy Project Director Jalgam Gramya, said: “The villagers have also set an example for other gram panchayats. Now, works to conserve and increase water are also being undertaken in other villages.

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