INTEGRATED development has changed the Hivare landscape in more ways than one. Check dams have raised the groundwater level, slowed down erosion and helped increase crop yields. Villagers like 67-year-old G D Gurav hope that water and fuelwood problems will be solved shortly.
The villagers used to migrate to cities like Bombay and Pune in the barren rabi season. Now, with ample water available, migration, particularly of the young, has been effectively checked.
Community involvement has become more active as the villagers themselves decide where to site the dams. According to VANARAI officials, about 1,000 gunny bags are sufficient to construct dams capable of irrigating 10 ha. At the same time, about 8 wells could be recharged and the water table could raise up to 1.5 metres.
VANARAI has helped to plant 60,000 saplings on the village commons which already means more fodder for the cattle and fuelwood for the villagers. The increased groundwater level ensures that the saplings live their lives out.