Purulia has a sub-tropical climate nature and is characterized by high evaporation and low precipitation. Ecologically water is critical to Purulia in West Bengal, owing to rugged terrain and over 50% run-off loss. With the rising demand, irrigation water has become a scarce commodity in Para and Raghunathpur, two drought prone blocks of Purulia district. The district is covered by mostly residual soil formed by weathering of bed rocks. Installation of water banks by rainwater harvesting and its sustainable management by trained youth along with Participatory crop cycle management and water budgeting for each water bank is the primary focus.
The other areas of this intervention includes activating user accounts in every bank for Sustainable operation and initiating value added alternative farming practices for compensating opportunity costs. Absence of water made the area of Raghunathpur, Purulia absolutely lifeless. Circumstantially they were forced to migrate. There was no scope of agriculture due to absence of water in this area before the construction of these water banks. Now these water banks are providing around 17 tribal families the habit of farming through which after their consumption, they can sell the excess vegetables in the market which again is providing them with an economic backup which was not present earlier in the existing climatic conditions. Technological intervention like SRI, ZERO-Till, Organic Farming with Bio-fertilizers and micro irrigation has contributed equally to the incremental production of paddy, wheat & mustard. Water foot-print and rate of evaporation is reduced to a measurable limit. 5 rural indigenous villages nearly 3000 marginal farmers brought within sustainable watershed conservation and management program towards inclusive growth securing an average income of USD 80 per month. This is 57.14% growth over 5 years.