Transforming Livelihood of Tribal Farmers in Odisha through Integrated Water Resource Management
Birjaberna village is a tribal dominated village (77% ST farm families). In spite of 1,400 mm annual rainfall and existence of Ghurlijore minor irrigation project, the Birjaberna village in Sundargarh district of Odisha was devoid of assured irrigation facility. Therefore, mono-cropping of rice in kharif with sub-optimum yield (2.5–3.1 tonne/ha) was the only option for the farmers in the village. The reasons of non-assured irrigation facility were poor canal water supply and lack of other irrigation sources in the village. Moreover, the damage of the surplus escape structure of the Ghurlijore reservoir, which was aimed to modulate the canal water supply had drastically reduced the water availability. Therefore, rainfed agriculture was the only optionin this village till 2013. In this backdrop, Indian Institute of Water Management (IIWM), Bhubaneshwar planned, designed and executed various water conservation and management strategies since 2013-14 in this village. The knowledge of farmers on efficient water management and livelihood improvement through multiple use of water in different enterprises of agriculture were taken up through series of capacity building programmes like training, field demonstration and exposure visit. Irrigation infrastructures like inlet, outlet and surplus escape structures were introduced in the canal linked community pond of the village to enhance its carrying capacity. This has resulted in enhanced water availability (by 1.2 ha-m) in the pond and thus increased command area (by 30%) in the villageas compared to pre-intervention period.