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Farmers agreed to pool their groundwater to create a water sharing network. Result? Crops were saved, irrigated area was doubled, and grain production increased by 240%!

By the year 2000, farmers in Mahbubnagar, Telangana could see how risky their investments on groundwater had become. The area barely received 600 mm of annual rainfall, and just 15 percent of its area was under irrigation.

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The time taken for villages in Nainital district, Uttarakhand to resolve their spring-related disputes has shrunk from two year to six months. Here's why.

I first met Kunti and Priya at a meeting of the Springs Initiative, which is a network of organisations and individuals working across India to restore their springs. Both from Kulgad village, they had come to talk about the work they had done on their spring.

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The School has taught farmers how to use waste from their farms as inputs in their farming system. Other organic practices have improved the soil profile and water holding capacity of the fields.

Chedua Bedia is a 47-year-old marginal farmer from Dubulabeda village, Angara block of Ranchi district. In addition to being a successful farmer, Chedua has founded a school and motivates other farmers from his village to attend classes! This is a special school called the Farmers Field School where groups of farmers learn how to integrate the various components of agriculture into their farms.

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"The mapping exercise should yield some 2000-4000 spring data points within a few months", says Dr.Jared Buono, hydrogeologist. He talks with IWP about the programme and its potential.

World Water Day 2015 proved to be significant to the people of Meghalaya. That day is when the state's Springshed Management Initiative was launched.

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Bankura in West Bengal receives 1000 mm of rainfall a year, yet thousands of adivasi farmers in the area were faced with irrigation issues -- until 'happas' came to the rescue.

Amulya Soren couldn’t get stable yields in the kharif (monsoon) paddy in his farm. A member of the Santhal tribe, he was the beneficiary of a surplus land redistribution programme in Hirbandh block of Bankura, West Bengal. The undulating terrain in which his farm lies receives sufficient rainfall of about 1000 mm a year, yet sufficient irrigation was an issue. This was because the runoff in the area is rapid and soil moisture content is low.

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Tribal communities in remote villages of the Eastern Ghats now have water round the clock due to a simple water system that uses no electricity.

Vanajakshi, a 21 year old girl from Gondipakalu in Chintapalle Mandal, Andhra Pradesh, recalls that, growing up, she was often late to school. It wasn’t because she was having trouble waking up. It was because she had to accompany her mother to fetch water, and that took up around 2.5 hours every morning.

Vanajakshi's reason wasn’t unique to her.

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With its low rainfall, western Rajasthan might seem like a prime candidate for drought, but the combination of old age wisdom and new age techniques have helped Barmer access fresh water continuously.

Women in bright, colourful clothes carrying pots on their heads -- this is how popular media often depicts the women of rural Rajasthan. This is what I expected to see in the Bakhasar region of Barmer district, which borders the famous salt desert, the Rann of Kutch. The groundwater is often saline and rainfall does not exceed 250 mm. Last year the monsoon was erratic yielding even lesser water. Water sources were not replenished and hence dried up faster.

So why isn't the lead image of this piece one of women walking miles to get water? Because that's not what I saw.

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Manayali village in Maharashtra not only became water secure but also managed to provide a solution to a small Banjara community that lives 3 km away from it -- through community participation.

Santosh Gavale, a resident of Manyali village in Umarkhed tehsil of Yavatmal district, is a happy man now. The village, which has faced an increasing water crisis over the years, is now water sufficient because it manages its water resources well and shares it equitably. Santosh managed to do this for his village. 

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The concepts of System of Rice Intensification help farmers adopt practices based on their local conditions. Farmers, and an SRI expert in Chhattisgarh, show how it has worked for them.

Muneswar and more than 170 farmers in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh have no regrets after shifting over from traditional agricultural methods of farming to the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method. Why would they? Most of them have been overwhelmed by the kind of returns they have got compared to their investments.

"The crop yield has increased to more than two and half times, and we are getting better returns," says Kisan Naihar Sai, an SRI beneficiary.

What is System of Rice Intensification (SRI)?

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The residents of Gobariya village built two ponds for livestock rearing and horticulture, but a chance discovery led to them becoming a quicker and better income generator.

The Bhuiyas, a group of people who belong to the Scheduled Castes in Jharkhand and Bihar, have historically been landless foragers -- a fact reflected in their name which means 'of the earth'.

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