Water Management and soil improvement with permaculture in Rajasthan India


Several years ago when I travelled around Rajasthan in India, I personally witnessed it's drought-stricken and challenging arid landscapes. The region's dramatic transformation in recent years is a testament to the resilience and innovative responses to a harsh nine-month dry season and critical water scarcity.

Under the visionary leadership of Lakshman Singh, the communities of Loria have introduced innovative water conservation practices, particularly the 'Chala system', which have been key to this remarkable turnaround.

The Chala System:

šŸ’§ Innovative Water Capture: The Chala system's strategically designed pits and bunds significantly enhance groundwater recharge, combating scarcity in arid zones. This method efficiently captures monsoon rains, ensuring a year-round sustainable water supply.

šŸŒ¾ Agricultural Revival: The Chala system's improvement in soil moisture secures water for agriculture, stabilising the water table during severe dry periods and fostering a flourishing agricultural sector.

šŸ¤ Community Power: Thriving on local involvement, the system sees residents actively participating in the creation and upkeep of these essential water infrastructures, advocating for sustainable practices and enhancing community resilience.

The Tangible Impact:

šŸ›”ļø Drought Defense: The region has been strengthened to withstand three years of drought, marking a considerable improvement over previous vulnerabilities.

šŸ’¦ Water Table Transformation: Groundwater levels have risen from a dangerous 60-70 feet depth to a much more manageable 5-10 feet during monsoons.

šŸƒ Landscape Rebirth: Decades of reforestation and water management efforts have greened the landscape, providing huge impacts to biodiversity. Today, Loria stands as one of Rajasthan's lushest areas.

šŸŒ¾ Crop Diversification: With a range of crops now thriving, agricultural productivity has surged, even with just 350-400 mm of annual rainfall.

šŸ‘„ Collective Contribution: The strong support of the community, accounting for over 10,000 person-days, has established a resilient water infrastructure foundation.

Loria's transition from scarcity to abundance showcases the immense potential of community-driven environmental stewardship. It acts as a powerful and inspiring model for sustainable water management worldwide, underscoring the ability to surmount challenges through innovative solutions and collective effort.

(šŸŽ¬ Credit: Andrew Millison)