Single-handedly, teen digs trenches to store 1 cr litre water for his village
Satara, Maharashtra: To tackle the increasing water woes in the village, an 18-year-old boy from Maharashtra started an initiative to conserve water in the summer of 2018. Situated in Satara district, Gondavle village in Mann taluk faces water scarcity every year. The area also faces droughts on a regular basis. The residents of the region constantly face problems related to water. To address it, Rohit Bansode took the initiative to effectively manage the water resources available to them.
Since he started, the gram panchayat has estimated that he helped conserve over 10 million litres of water. Known as the one-man army, apart from his involvement in watershed management, he has also planted over 10,000 trees and dug up a well by himself.
Speaking to 101Reporters, Rohit stated the village has always faced water shortage and the district administration wasn’t doing anything to address it. “When I started digging up the land two years ago, my aim was to make a little difference in the area but there was no looking back after that day. The day I decided to do so, I replaced the books in my bag with tools used for digging,” he mentioned.
He added that after working for the first two days, his hands were covered with boils and he developed a fever after working under the sun. However, he recovered and went on carrying with this initiative. His father Shankar Bansode is extremely proud of his son and stated that even though it was difficult for him initially, Rohit’s perseverance kept him going.
Every day, Rohit gets up at dawn, goes to the hills and returns by 2 pm for lunch, before leaving again at 3, and returning late in the evening.
In the hills, Rohit digs up the ground to conserve water with the help of Continuous Counter Trenches (CCT) technique. According to a study, CCT can be used to stop the loss of topsoil, reduce the rate of runoff, increasing percolation, recharge the groundwater level, increase the green cover over the area and soil quality and increase the availability of drinking water, agriculture development and employment.
Rohit explained that CCT is useful in regions where people are forced to grow their produce on hills. The stored groundwater helped in producing yields for hundreds of people in the village, he added.
Inspired by Rohit, his younger sister Rakshita, 15, also accompanies him out of concern for his well-being. Now, she has joined him and tries to plant as many trees as possible.
The village sarpanch Ajit Pol told 101Reporters that the gram panchayat is usually low on funds, because of which they can’t address problems in the area. “However, Rohit’s efforts are commendable and cannot be praised enough. He, by himself, has solved the problems of thousand villagers,” he added.
Ajit Devare, a resident, mentioned that the efforts taken by an 18-year-old has inspired the entire village and helped in the conservation of water.
Several NGOs have now stepped forward to help Rohit and his family by helping them with seed balls and saplings from all over Maharashtra.
Roshani Shah, a Mumbai-based environmental enthusiast, recently visited Rohit to extend her support and has donated hundred peepal plants.
Former Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde has taken also cognisance of Rohit’s effort and extended his wishes to him. He added that his work is commendable and wishes that more people get inspired by him.
(The author is Pune-based freelance journalist and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)