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Hiware Bazar, a village in drought-hit Maharashtra that never goes dry!
The alarming condition of drought in Maharashtra is now well known. The state is going through one of the toughest time in the history and the government is putting all effort to help the people in the Marathwada region by sending water from other parts of the country. The situation is so worse that, the region is relying on neighboring states for even a single drop of water.

But, amid inhabitants' desperate craving for water in many villages of severely drought-hit Maharashtra, there stands a village, which didn't require a single water tanker in last 2 decades. Well, we are talking about the same village that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi especially mentioned in the last episode of 'Mann ki Baat' programme on Sunday. "People in this village have done exemplary work," were the words of PM to honor the villagers.

You will be surprised to know that while other villages in Ahmednagar district have to dig bore wells down to 400 feet to get the water, the condition of underground water in Hiware Bazar is so sound that the life saving commodity is accessible just 20 to 40 feet down.

But, that doesn't happen effortlessly, neither these villagers have any good fortune. Like every other village, Hiware Bazar too used to suffer from water scarcity. But then they started water conservation efforts in 1994-95 under which many watershed management programmes had been initiated.

However, these efforts only left them realize that this alone can not be of any use, until they introduce a long-term plan.

And that's how, they came up with their unique cropping pattern to transform a drought hit area into a water surplus village. It needed efforts, planning and proper execution and the people of Hiware Bazar realized it.

So, what did they do to bring this positive change?

1. The village has banned crops that require large quantity of water like sugarcane and banana. But, it doesn't affect its economy. You will be surprised to know that farmers in this village are far more wealthier than their counterparts and not a single family is below the poverty line!

2. Instead of water consuming crops, the villagers opted for vegetables, fruits, flowers and pulses.

3. Apart from the above, the dairy development trade was encouraged.

4. The villagers made sure that no bore well is dug in the village and that every drop of water is used carefully.

5. And, the most important is they keep a water budget. All the residents gather for a meeting on Dec 31 every year to review the rainfall for cropping. Subsequently, it is decided about the crops that can be grown in upcoming season on the basis of available resources.

6. Not only that, they have also decided to take a break this year from cropping since there was no rain. They are on break from last five months after reaping last kharif crop.

When farmer suicide cases are so common due to financial crunch, things are so planned in this village that such breaks from farming do not affect their earning. Since they encourage dairy trade, the milk collection in the village is about 4,000 litres. It ensures a decent amount of earning to them and no one suffers for living.

While villagers migrate from villages in search of work, the case is different here. So far, about 40 families have come back to the village from towns over the last few years. Currently, the villagers are so mindful that they have started planning out a ten-year plan.

"Water scarcity is going to worsen. As part of our ten-year plan, we will opt for growing pulses and oilseed crops and brand them. This will not only boost our earning but also help save water," sarpanch Popatrao Pawar told Times of India.

Instead of blaming the poor monsoon for water scarcity, Pawar thinks, "it is lack of vision and discipline that brings about scarcity and drought."

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