And Quiet Flow the Waters Again
WATER SAVIOUR DILASA, MAHARASHTRA
We do angioplasty on rivers,” says Mansoor Khorashi, of NGO Dilasa (Relief ), which works for water conservation in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra. “The silt blocks the river’s water flow. We remove the blockage.” Launched in 1994 by the late Madhukar Dhas, Dilasa aims to provide farmers with a sustainable water resource. They have developed a river deepening technique called doh (pond), which holds the water at a specific place and helps in increasing the water level in nearby wells and borewells. It costs Rs 2 lakh to build a doh which is less than half the cost of a cement structure. Dilasa built the first doh at Akoldev in Jalna district in 2012. The water level in 10 nearby villages has increased, so much so they no longer depend on government tankers for water. The doh technique has also helped farmers increase production of crops like onion, especially in the districts of Yavatmal, Wardha and Gadchiroli. Dilasa has also developed a diversionbased irrigation technique which has helped 1,200 villages in 10 districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada increase the area under irrigation. With a team of 200 volunteers and 7,500 small groups, Dilasa is a mother NGO for 12 other organisations. “Our target is 500 villages free of tankers in the near future,” says Das’s widow, Vijaya Tulshiwar.