Transforming Livelihood of Tribal Farmers in Odisha through Integrated Water Resource Management

Transforming Livelihood of Tribal Farmers in Odisha through Integrated Water Resource Management  Birjaberna, in Sundargarh district of Odisha is a tribal dominated village. In spite of 1400 mm annual rainfall and existence of Ghurlijore minor irrigation project, the village was deprived of assured irrigation facility. The reasons of non-assured irrigation facility were poor canal water supply and lack of other irrigation sources in the village. Therefore, mono-cropping of rice in kharif with sub-optimum yield (2.5–3.1 t ha-1) and rainfed agriculture was the only option in this village till 2013.

ICAR-Indian Institute of Water Management Bhubaneswar 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 programs 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.

Further, a dug well of 4.8 m diameter to 9.0 m depth was dug out adjacent to the community pond along the drainage line. This intervention created 1.8 ha m additional water availability thus increased additional 2.1 ha command area. Further, the water supply from the well was linked with the underground pipeline with sprinkler irrigation system. These interventions brought confidence among the resource poor tribal farmers in growing three crops during 2015-16 in a sequence of paddy in kharif, mustard in rabi, and groundnut and green gram in summer season instead of rice mono crop in kharif season in the command area. The yield of kharif rice was also improved by 30% with supplemental irrigation provided by dug well. Further introduction of sprinkler irrigation system during rabi season, enhanced yield by 28% with saving of 32% irrigation water, which resulted in improvement in water productivity by 60% compared to traditional check basin irrigation in groundnut.

Transforming Livelihood of Tribal Farmers in Odisha through Integrated Water Resource Management  Transforming Livelihood of Tribal Farmers in Odisha through Integrated Water Resource Management

The concept of multiple use management of harvested rain and canal water in agriculture and pisciculture in the community pond was also taken up. Low input based fish culture was undertaken in the pond to enhance the economic output and water productivity. During first year, fish fingerlings of Indian Major Carps (Catla catla, Labeo rohita and C. mrigal) were stocked @ 7500 ha-1 with a stocking composition of 30:30:40 (surface feeder: column feeder: bottom feeder).  After 210 days of rearing, phased harvesting of 472 kg fish, resulted in net income of Rs. 62,000 ha-1.

Through capacity building programmes, farmers were exposed to various modern agricultural water management practices and were trained about the package of practices of aquaculture activities; care and maintenance of flow irrigation in minor irrigation systems; benefits of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems and different Government schemes.

The interventions of water resource development and management in crop production and pisciculture enhanced the average annual net income in the target area (2.1 ha crop area and 1.0 ha pond area) from Rs 17,000/- to Rs 1.42 lakh during 2015-16. Encouraged with the results, ICAR-IIWM, Bhubaneswar has taken up another tribal village named Mohuljore for integrated water resource management activities during 2016-17.

(Source: ICAR-Indian Institute of Water Management Bhubaneswar)