Bundelkhand is a dirt poor region where people are now desperately scratching the dirt for water. Only a few farmers have enough money to dig over 50 metres and pump water out of the few aquifers that have not gone dry. A few others have built check dams and embankments to hold the rain where it falls, and their farms remain profitable. But such oases are too few and far between.

All images by Soumya Sarkar

See: Hunger stalks scorched Bundelkhand

See: Bringing water back to Bundelkhand

A neighbouring well in the village just holds a few inches of water that's not fit to drink

A neighbouring well in the village just holds a few inches of water that’s not fit to drink

 

The drying up of wells in Paldev Ka Purwa has meant unsown, barren fields

The drying up of wells in Paldev Ka Purwa has meant unsown, barren fields

 

The pond near Galha village in Banda district lost all its water two years ago and even watering the animals have since proved to be a challenge to the local peasantry

The pond near Galha village in Banda district lost all its water two years ago and even watering the animals have since proved to be a challenge to the local peasantry

 

The only farmer in Galha village, Munna Nath (pictured), has been able to cultivate his fields only because he has a bore well and pump

The only farmer in Galha village, Munna Nath (pictured), has been able to cultivate his fields only because he has a bore well and pump

 

Years of inadequate rain has reduced the Baghain river in Bundelkhand to a sad trickle, and the lift canal (pictured) in the Narayani block of Banda district runs mostly dry

Years of inadequate rain has reduced the Baghain river in Bundelkhand to a sad trickle, and the lift canal (pictured) in the Narayani block of Banda district runs mostly dry

 

The pond dug a few years ago in Jignanda village of Hamirpur district still holds plenty of water despite scanty rainfall

The pond dug a few years ago in Jignanda village of Hamirpur district still holds plenty of water despite scanty rainfall

 

The water in the pond has ensured that owner Gaya Prasad Tiwari has harvested a good crop despite the drought

The water in the pond has ensured that owner Gaya Prasad Tiwari has harvested a good crop despite the drought

 

A micro watershed intervention by building tiny check dams such as this near Salaiya Pamar village in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh have yielded positive results

A micro watershed intervention by building tiny check dams such as this near Salaiya Pamar village in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh have yielded positive results

 

 A well is being dug in Salaiya Pamar to take advantage of the raised groundwater level

A well is being dug in Salaiya Pamar to take advantage of the raised groundwater level

 

An agricultural field has been embanked in the Noner mouza of Datia district to catch the rain where it falls

An agricultural field has been embanked in the Noner mouza of Datia district to catch the rain where it falls

 

An old pond in Banda district still holds water despite the drought because it was built keeping the contours of the land in mind

An old pond in Banda district still holds water despite the drought because it was built keeping the contours of the land in mind

Tomorrow: Linking rivers will not save Bundelkhand

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  1. Pingback: Linking rivers will not save Bundelkhand | The Third Pole

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