Ahmednagar District receives rainfall on an average 35 days in a year. It is therefore essential to conserve as much water as possible. To provide a sustainable solution to the recurring drought situation, Social Centre launched the integrated watershed development program in the 1980s, developing the concept of “Ridge to Valley” as a key soil conservation measure. Here the land is treated from the ridge i.e. the top of the hill by digging contour trenches, gully plugs, stone bunds, earthen check dams and cement check dams, down to the valley. The goal is to restore the ecological balance by harnessing, conserving, and developing natural resources i.e. land, water and vegetation with the activeparticipation of local communities. With the regeneration of the land, afforestation, horticulture, pasteurisation and agriculture are promoted. Through these measures migration has been reduced as people develop sustainable livelihoods for themselves in the villages.
This concept of Social Centre has been replicated by many NGOs. The Government of India (GOI) and National and Agricultural Bank of India (NABARD) have adopted this programme as a national programme in soil, forest and water conservation in restoring livelihoods of rural communities in the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. GOI and NABARD and various national and international developmental agencies partner the Social Centre in implementing the watershed programmes. At present Social Centre is implementing four watershed programmes with the support of Watershed Development Fund (WDF), Vasundhara, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation and Women and Child Development projects. Social Centre has successfully implemented programmes in 133 villages and continues its effort to reach out to other needy villages.
1. To provide a sustainable solution to the recurring drought situation, Social Centre launched the integrated watershed development program in the 1980s, developing the concept of “Ridge to Valley” as a key soil conservation measure. This is achieved with the active participation of local communities.