Surodi Watershed Development Project Report
by Ashok Rupner
At the village meeting held on Jan. 11, 2002, we decided to complete the work started in 2001 on three bunds and to construct six additional bunds. Vidnyanvahini's MSL visited Surodi on 11 and 12 January at which time they also brought engineers to do survey work for the proposed bunds. The villagers did preliminary digging work between March 2 to 8 with a rented JCB machine. They purchased and kept ready five truckloads of sand for construction.
During the next ten days, we cut stones from an old abandoned quarry in our village needed for the construction. The quarry had to be cleaned and some blasting work done. We were able to accumulated 54 tractor trolleys of stones.
The construction began on March 18. Four tractor trolleys of tiny rocks and six tractor trolleys of rock powder to be mixed with 132 bags of cement were purchased and a 2000-liter water tank was rented for the job. Spades and additional tools were rented. Other than four masons and one skilled worker, all labourers were locals performing service for their own village. During the three-week period, a crew of 10 volunteers worked each day resulting in a total of 140 person days. For some additional work, people donated 200 work-hours. They had a sense of contributing for their own benefit and participation was very enthusiastic. They donated Rs. 14,154 in cash for the construction project.
According to decisions made at the village meeting of 11 Jan. 2002, we completed work on the following items of construction:
- Erecting a 2-ft. cement wall in the overflow section of Motiram Waghaskar bund (MW1). This earthen bund was originally built 8 years ago by the irrigation department. Over the years it got silted, the overflow wall was partly washed off and had sunk lower. We built an overflow wall of size 25'x4.5'x2.5', the height being measured from the lowest point in the barrage. We think now the barrage will fill to capacity. We took this job on a priority basis since just below its level lies the public well that can provide drinking water to the whole village. During summer months, this well has been dry for many years. We believe MW1 will provide enough groundwater for this well to supply water to the village and help solve Surodi's drinking water problem.
- Rebuilding the bund of Motiram Waghaskar Nallah #2 (MW2) which had washed off previously, with mud and rocks and to construct a new overflow wall. This bund was constructed 12 years ago. After a few years, it broke in the middle of a wall and became useless. We rebuilt this portion with mud and rocks by erecting a 45'x20'x10' wall. We also built a new 40'x10'x2' overflow wall. This barrage will hold water to its capacity in future with adequate rains.
- Building a concrete overflow wall for Motiram Waghaskar Nallah #3 (MW3). The government built this bund ten years ago. Over the years, it got silted and the overflow wall sunk (and broke in places) due to gushing water carrying silt with it. As a result, the barrage was not storing any water. We built a 17'x3.5'x2' cement wall. This should help store rainwater adequately.
- Rebuilding the bund of Vasant Waghaskar (more than half the people of Surodi bear the last name Waghaskar) Nallah #6 (VW6). This mud bund was constructed seven years ago. A corner of the bund was broken. We rebuilt it with a 20'x5'x5' mud portion. Also we increased the height on the other side of this L-shaped bund with a 60'x3'x2.5 mud wall. This should now help full capacity water storage in the barrage.
- Adding one-meter high cement wall in Vasant Waghaskar Nallah No. 4 (VW4). This bund was constructed about 12 years ago. There were some problems even as it was being constructed. The overflow wall was lower than the height of barrage making it impossible to store water adequately. We erected a 37'x2.3'x5' cement overflow wall. Now we expect that in the next season this bund will become functional.
- Erecting a cement wall in the overflow section of Motiram Waghaskar Nallah no.5 (MW5). The government constructed this bund 12 years ago.
- Constructing a new cement bund and a roadway behind the Maruti temple (MT). This is a new 42'x7'x5' cement bund in Surodi. There is a bore-well nearby which supplies drinking water to the village. Once this barrage starts storing water, we expect that the bore-well should have adequate water even during summer months. Since we have built a road on top of the wall for temple visitors, people are very pleased with this road.
- Erecting one-meter cement wall in the overflow section of the village tank (VT). During the infamous 1972 drought, the government constructed this tank to solve the water shortage problem of Surodi and to provide income to drought-affected people. Being a very old tank, it is mostly filled with silt and the overflow wall has been washed off by annual flow of water in rainy season. Since there is a lot of cultivated land just below the tank level, this work has added benefit for farmers. We have now erected a 57'x3.2'x6.5' cement overflow wall. We expect that now the tank capacity should double from the next monsoon season onwards.
- Rebuilding the broken central portion of a nallah in the middle of a farm (MF). This nallah had best water storage capacity in the past next only to VT. It was constructed about 13 years ago. Because of faulty construction, it broke in the middle after only a few years of usage. We erected a mud bund of the size 55'x20'x20'. Now we hope the nallah will again become functional.
- Not just the adults, but even youngsters helped in the work of the village. Because of the Holi festival on March 28, people took holiday from work as is customary. But there were not enough sandbags and stones left in the village for the following day's work. We would have wasted one more day for procurement of the material before the work could continue. We suggested to the school children (ages 8 to 13) that they could help. They readily agreed, went in the tractor along with the driver to the site, filled five tractor loads of sand and rock and returned to Surodi. This helped solve our problem. We distributed candy and other sweets as a token of our appreciation among the children.
- We had good participation from many villagers in their capacity as volunteers. We hired four masons, three men and four women as daily wage earners. During the same period, the government had another project going on nearby under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, which paid about twice as much as we did. But quite a few people sacrificed the extra wage for what they treated as their own work.
- When word got around that development work is going on in Surodi without any help from the government, Mr. Suryabhan Dange from the nearby village of Wadali was impressed. He donated Rs. 1,000, sold us coarse sand for mixing with cement at a discounted rate and gave six tractor trolleys of rock powder free of cost.
To sum up, we have completed nine jobs under the Surodi watershed development scheme so far in the year 2001-02. This amounts to about 40% of the total work. During the next two years, we expect to complete the remainder of the work.