Laxmi Narayan Joshi
Laxmi Narayan joshi, watershed committee chairman of Saipur village, has been a source of inspiration to the villagers. The watershed work started in 1998-99. Medbandi, a stone embankment built on the lower side of the agriculture field on a hill slope to conserve soil and moisture and help create a level field for cultivation was done in about 300 hectares (ha) of agricultural land. A pond of about 1.5 ha of land with 8,000 cubic metre storage capacity was also built.
Joshi says, "There was a lack of vegetation in the watershed area which resulted in soil and water erosion. Improper management of soil and water resources in the area led to poor recharging of well and it affected the supply of fuel and fodder.'
Due to medbandi in agricultural fields, water requirement of plants is being met better. The villagers have also been convinced to replace wheat with sarson (mustard), jau (oats) and channa (gram), crops that require less water.
"It is easy and judicious to promote the water efficient crops in our area. We have planted 6,000 trees in 62 ha land. It promotes groundwater recharge by reducing the flow,' Joshi adds.