Over centuries, ponds in villages have played a critical role in flood moderation, drought mitigation and have been the primary source of water for agriculture as well as for household use. However, encroachment of such water bodies is a recurrent issue in rural India. Poor maintenance and silting often encourage villagers to use silted land for farming. This results in acute shortage of water, especially during summer months.
Rebirth of 'Ankamma Kunta'
The village of Nadendla located in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh is home to 'Ankamma Kunta', a hundred-year-old tank spread across 30 acres. Few years ago, this tank had been converted for agricultural use and farmers were growing cotton, pulses and chilli. As a result, Nadendla also became one among the many villages where pond encroachment resulted in perennial water crisis.
Having understood the critical demand for water in the village, ITC worked out a joint programme in partnership with the Government, Local Community and the Village Panchayat to rebuild 'Ankamma Kunta'.
First, the farmers who had encroached upon the pond land were convinced to vacate, highlighting that their contribution could provide continuous water supply to over 2500 households and completely save their village from water crisis for the next two decades.
Then, the villagers were mobilized to actively participate in conservation and management of the waterbody. Their participation was institutionalized with the formation of a 'Sangham' which supervised the following activities:
Now, even in the peak of summer, when most of the water bodies in villages dry up in Andhra Pradesh, 'Ankamma Kunta' is a source of sustenance for the villagers of Nadendla.
ITC: Championing water security
Recognizing the vital role played by water in the rural economy, ITC's has taken a participatory approach of working with the local communities to revive water bodies in rural water-stressed areas & develop precious water resources for agriculture, rural communities and livestock. The focus is on building, reviving and maintaining water harvesting structures as well as implementing measures which help to reverse land degradation, provide critical irrigation & increase agricultural productivity. Active in 16 states across India, ITC's Watershed Development Programme benefits over 2,84,600 households providing soil & moisture conservation to over 10,68,100 acres.