JalTara: Beginning of a New Era in Water Conservation

By: Art of Living-Social Projects on 17th March 2023

India has always heavily relied on farming practices, which serve as a livelihood for more than half the nation. With merely the seasonal agricultural needs met by rainwater, most of them are catered by groundwater. This makes groundwater availability for usage rather important for smooth farming practices to continue. The groundwater depletion across the country has led to immense hardship for farmers, with numerous districts affected by the lack of it. The water deficit has meant that, crop yields and farmers' incomes have taken a dip. Improper seepage of water has not only created the problem mentioned above but has also made waterlogging common in farms, leading to increased crop spoilage.

While interacting with the farmers in Maharashtra, we found that many villages faced waterlogging and depleting water table levels. The situation worsened over time, and the farmers suffered from crop spoilage and production. They were in immense pain as they couldn't make ends meet. Times were tough, and so were their lives. There had to be a system devised so that adequate water could be made available and rainwater could find a way underground.

Inspired by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has always had a focus on improving the livelihood of rural farmers – to ensure their economic, health and mental wellbeing. The Art of Living JalTara is a mission to resolve the ground water crisis in rural India.

In its first phase, JalTara has positively impacted many regions of India that were adversely affected by lack of water and where farming had become rather difficult. Our team has developed a simple yet technically sound and effective solution to fight the water crisis in India.

JalTara, in its fight to eliminate water scarcity

JalTara was implemented with the idea of building recharge structures, one per acre of every arable plot of rural land. The structures were built at the lowest point on the ground and filled with rocks and pebbles to provide enough space for rainwater to seep underground. In addition, trees were planted in good numbers to ascertain that soil erosion was reduced and the quality of topsoil improved eventually, aiding the farming of crops. We regularly surveyed the lands during times of implementation and made sure that every farmer's need was catered to from our end. Also, drinking water that wasn't readily available in villages didn't cause an issue now because the wells were getting recharged.

The results have been enthralling and encouraging enough for us to keep interacting with the food producers and moving forward. The smiles on the faces of the farmers that we see during our interaction now make it worth the effort.

When talking of numbers, there has been a significant improvement in crop production, land utilization, the income of farmers, and more. The project has reached 37 villages till now, with 19,000 recharge structures built, 40,000 trees planted, and 75,000 acres of land benefited.

  • The average increase in the water table has been around 14 ft.
  • The average increase in farmers' income is about 120%.
  • The average increase in crop yield is 42%.
  • The decrease in crop spoilage due to waterlogging is 100%.
  • The average increase in work availability year-long is 88%.
  • The average increase in land usage (Rabi Season) is 58%.

The Art of Living JalTara has given benefits majority of rural habitants, by improving their livelihood and filled them with a ray of hope.

Here are few farmers from these villages sharing their experiences.

"When I came to know about the benefits of JalTara, I decided to implement it on my farm.
It has prevented waterlogging and preserved groundwater for a longer time."
– Krishna Takle, Farmer, Pokhari Village

"Before JalTara Yojna, no effort was made to conserve water. After the implementation of JalTara Yojna, we have plenty of water in our hand pumps."
– Suman Bai, Farmer, Murumkheda Village

"I had 6 acres of land, of which one acre produced crops. Previously, there was mud after rains. After the construction of JalTara pits, the water level in my well has risen. I can grow more crops now."
– Appasaheb Bahekar, Farmer, Jalna District

"JalTara's technique benefited us. We didn't have to spend anything to implement the JalTara technique on our farm and reaped immediate benefits after pits were constructed next to our wells as the water levels doubled."
– Vikas Hamre, Farmer, Warud Village

"Earlier, there was too much mud on the farm. Excess water was soaked after constructing JalTara pits. Water levels in my wells have increased. Soybean & chana crops production optimized."
– Sulabai Chavhal, Farmer, Murumkheda Village

JalTara has been providing positive results in the areas it has been implemented. Not only is the technique very effective, but it is also massively scalable solution to rapidly address 100,000 drought-hit villages across India. Probably, the most prominent solution to water scarcity in India, JalTara aims to build 50 million recharge structures reaching 100,000 villages, recharging 15 trillion litres of water per year across India in just five years from now.

Indeed a star, JalTara, as the name suggests, does complete handholding in the rising and shining process in the lives of the farmers by providing an effective solution for water crisis in India.