This video is based on an oral history research, done by Alexandra Mouche under the Meghal River Basin Oral History Project implemented in Saurashtra, Gujarat, funded by the Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship in collaboration with Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP).
The documentary covers individual stories and narratives from the farmers living in Junagadh in Saurashtra district of Gujarat, who had suffered immensely due to excessive use of Meghal River, which led to its drying up. With the devastating droughts of the 1980's and 1990’s, the borewell, tubewell, tank, handpumps and dipwell dried up in the region and agriculture and livestock farming was no more viable. Farmers were left with no option but to migrate to cities in search of employment opportunities to earn their livelihood. The migration of men folk to cities was a concern for their families as they didn’t have any other support during their crucial times.
The long lasting grim situation however changed when a handful of villagers took charge and interest to solve the problem. Through their relentless action and determination they managed to bring back the region to the previous condition when the village was self sufficient in its water needs and Meghal River was perennial. The villagers conducted havans and went on padh yatras to create awareness among people to conserve water.
Very soon they succeeded in this effort.With no support from the state government, through community action check dams were built, which could store large quantity of water that could be utilised throughout the year. The villagers opted for drip irrigation and used sprinklers to irrigate their farms so that water is used efficiently.
To access the original interview recordings and transcripts (and translations) of this project click here.