by Divya Wodon, Naina Wodon, and Quentin Wodon
“How can the water be conserved sustainably and in the long term?” Every year the summer monsoons in India bring much needed rain to inundate rice fields so that rice can be planted. As the river fills, water reaches into particularly arid parts of India. In Maharashtra the Monsoon season starts in June and tappers of in September, but it is often followed by droughts and much of the water from the monsoon flows into the Arabic See leaving the farmers with virtually no water (the water left is stored in wells but even those dry up rather quickly). The farmers then not only lack water to cultivate their fields, but they also lack drinking water especially in remote villages.
The Rotary club of Mumbai Cuff Parade realized the severity of the situation and partnered with the Rotary club of Rockville to help alleviate water scarcity in the villages of Shilonda and Naroli. Chenguttai Dheenan (CK) from the Rockville club had visited Maharashtra and knew about the monsoon and subsequent droughts. He was the ideal person to help launch a much needed water conservation project.
Two small dams were built so that the villages would have access to water through most of the year. The dams were made of a concrete wall stretching across the stream to create a small reservoir connected to wells. The reservoir can hold up to 15,000 cubic meters of water. As CK explained “Thanks to a pump and conduits the water reaches the villages directly; that way the girls from the village don’t have to spend time fetching the water and they are able to go to school and concentrate on studies.” Another added benefit of the reservoir is that the farmers can now grow two crops instead of one.
Implementing international projects takes time and effort, but the rewards are great and the projects truly make a difference. So “to the Rotarians who are shying away from international projects because they are not able to connect with other clubs in the world,” CK’s advice is simply to “connect with other clubs so that international projects can be achieved and the money from the Rotary Foundation can be used well. DO more international projects!”
Note: This story is reproduced with minor changes from a book published by the authors entitled Membership in Service Clubs: Rotary’s Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).