In order to combat severe drought in the Mann Taluka area in Maharashtra, the Mann Deshi Foundation, completed the construction of nine check dams over the past 5 years. These dams have transformed the lives of rural farmers in the region by increasing crop yields and soil fertility, leading to a dramatic reduction in suicide rates and rural to urban migration in surrounding communities. Following the success of the initial dams, we hope to build three new dams in the area.
Mann Taluka is one of the most drought prone areas in Maharashtra, receiving just 4-5 inches of rainfall each year. The residents of Mann Taluka migrate as far as 300km during the dry season to find work resulting in the interruption of their children's education and separation of the family unit. The lack of food during droughts also results in people resort to selling their livestock losing their long-term sources of income and remaining trapped in the cycle of poverty.
The new dam will benefit a total of 345 hectares of farm land and 74 wells. More water for crops means an increase in the volume and frequency of crop yields. Fewer families will be forced to migrate, allowing their children to stay in school full time. Furthermore, a plentiful source of water near their homes will save women from having to walk around 5km daily to fetch water. The increased availability water also allows farmers to diversify and grow water intensive crops.
Increased availability of water will lead to afforestation and an increase in plant and animal biodiversity. The older dams already sport a green canopy along its edges and residents have witnessed an increase in plant and animal diversity as storks, kingfishers and other water birds have begun frequenting the area. There has also been an increase in the number of fish in the region, enabling 30 families in the area to sustain their livelihoods just through fishing.