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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Solving a water problem with a local solution

Long periods of drought make farming in Andra Pradesh, India, a challenging enterprise, even in the best of years. Known for its extended dry season, the region’s farming families struggle to sustain themselves, let alone increase the amount of food they produce.

Gangireddy and his wife are among the many farming families who struggle with ever diminishing crop yields due to the harsh weather conditions in their area of Andra Pradesh. Their modest plot of 5-acres could produce all they and their two children need, and much more, if they had a reliable source of water for irrigating their fields of rice and vegetables.

When the dry season extends and becomes a drought, the water well that Gangireddy and his family rely upon runs very low, forcing Gangireddy to stop cultivating rice and reduce the amount of land he farms from 5-acres to just 3-acres of vegetables. Even worse, the yield of his 3-acres during periods of drought is significantly lower.

A homegrown solution solves Gangireddy’s water problem

Through a project supported by HOPE International Development Agency, Gangireddy joined a local farming support group. With assistance from HOPE and the other members of the group, Gangireddy then constructed a large pond on his farm to collect rainwater during the monsoon season.

After construction of the pond was completed, Gangireddy saw the effects of the pond immediately: the monsoon rains filled the large pond and provided a steady source of water to irrigate his crops and water his cows throughout the year, even during the dry season or times of drought.

Today, Gangireddy’s farm is producing more rice and vegetables than before and he continues to increase the size of his herd of milking cows. In addition, he plans to sow an additional acre very soon. He also intends to start raising fish in the pond, providing yet another source of good nutrition and income for his family.

In addition to his water storage pond, Gangireddy is learning new techniques to help the brief but heavy monsoon rains seep into the soil and retain moisture for crops, rather than running off along the surface of the soil.

Gangireddy and his family are a wonderful example of the positive change that happens when people are able to learn how to transform their lives through the support they receive.