What’s a Bund? Innovative water conservation in India
April 30, 2012 | No Comments
By Courtney Banayad, Foundation Partnerships
Global Greengrants Fund’s activist-led approach to grantmaking relies on the expertise of our network of more than 120 volunteer advisors that are intimately knowledgeable about the most pressing issues in their regions. Our advisors determine the grantmaking strategy for each region in which we work, ensuring that these strategies are appropriate given the local context, and identify community-based groups that are poised to take action against environmental degradation and social injustice.
Since 2009, Michael Mazgaonkar has served as the Coordinator for our India Advisory Board. A longtime activist, he is the co-founder of Mozda Collective and Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, two nongovernmental organizations that work on a variety of issues including water conservation, women’s cooperatives, alternative energy, and toxic pollution.
Michael and his team of Mozda Collective volunteers are helping families in Ringa Padar, a small indigenous hamlet in India’s Gujarat state, improve their food security and farming practices through bund construction. Due to the Ringa Padar’s remote location, there is no access to health care for hamlet’s 60 families, children must cross a river seven times to reach the nearest school, and travel and communication outside of the hamlet is difficult.
Build a Bund, Increase Crop Productivity
In 2003, Tarsing Vasara, a resident of Ringa Padar, visited a nearby village and noticed small stone dams, known as bunds. He learned that these bunds help conserve soil and water, enabling families to grow two crops of rice and chickpeas each planting season instead of one.
Since then, Tarsing has worked with Mozda Collective to build bunds for families throughout Ringa Padar. When a family wants to construct a new bund, the Mozda Collective team travels to the hamlet to help determine each bund’s height and width measurements and the best location based on topography and direction of water flow. After these specifications have been determined, bund construction begins.
Since there are no cars or trucks in Ringa Padar, each bund takes about 20 days to build with help from at least 10 people. Bund construction is tough work and families rely on each other to help carry heavy stones need for the bunds. In February 2012, I visited Tarsing, his wife Dhanuben, and their three children in Ringa Padar. Michael and Tarsing report that with the bunds, families now have more productive crops which means more food at home, better farming practices, and richer nutrients in the soil.
Check out the video clip below to see Tarsing and the bund he built outside his home in Ringa Padar.