WFP project enables a water-starved village in the state of Uttar Pradesh develop and maintain a pond which provides water all year round.
There was a time when no parent wanted to marry off a daughter to a Kodai village resident in Nagawa block in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district. The reason behind this was simple – this village located, in a hilly area, suffered from an acute water shortage and women had to trudge long distances everyday to fetch drinking water.
“Marrying your daughter to a Kodai resident meant pushing her into a lifetime of hardship,” said a village elder.
However, things have changed now and newly-wed brides in Kodai have a reason to smile. A huge pond dug right inside the village with the support of WFP has become the lifeline of not only Kodai village, but also the adjoining villages which are similarly water-starved.
When WFP initiated the village micro-plan in collaboration with the District Forest Department, villagers were asked as to what they needed most. All of them came up with the same request – a permanent source of water.
In the past the village residents had made attempts to create water sources by digging shallow wells during the rainy season. But these wells quickly ran dry . The villagers had even written to the authorities highlighting their plight, but nothing concrete had been done.
So when they came together to dig the pond, they framed rules on how the water would be used. “We wanted to use this water judiciously. We decided that we will use this water to drink and bathe and also for our cattle. We made it clear at the very beginning that this water will not be used for irrigation under any circumstances,” said Dudhnath, a resident.
As the pond was dug and it filled up in the rainy season, the villagers zealously looked after it. “This is such a boon for us. Even during peak summer when all other sources of water dry up, we have at least five feet of water in the pond,” said Kalawati Devi.
During particularly difficult summer months, residents of Kodai even allow people from adjoining villages to fill water from this pond. “At least people have water to drink, thanks to our pond,” Devi said.