Alwar District, Rajasthan

Climate Avg. rainfall of 350-450 mm which is unevenly distributed through the season. Semi-arid, the region is largely an elevated, undulating plateau broken by hills and rocky ranges of the Aravallis.
Organizations Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS)

The Hazariwala watershed, Suratgarh, before a johad was built here in 1992 and four years later
(Source: Waters of Life, Down To Earth)

Construction of about 3,500 water harvesting structures in 650 villages over a period of 13 years, have replenished ground water and increased the water table in Alwar district. Initial work started in the villages located along the Arvari river. Activists from the TBS along with local villagers have built johads (checkdams) along the river to trap rainwater. Besides raising local water table levels, it has resulted in making the 45 km long Arvari river perennial again. 

Building johads is not the only factor that has transformed these villages. Hill slopes are treated to stop run-off and soil erosion. Forest conservation methods have been adopted. Strong village-level organizations (gram sabhas) which tackle all issues through collective decision-making have played a crucial role.

An economic and ecologic miracle is underway in Alwar. The TBS estimates that "for every Rs 100 invested in making johads, the economic production in the villages has risen by as much as Rs 400 per capita per annum". The President of India recently presented the 'DOWN TO EARTH - JOSHEPH C. JOHN'  award to the village of Bhaonta-Koylala where it all began. This award recognizes the people of the village as India's most outstanding environmental community of the year.

The following articles describe in detail the story of Alwar and it's inhabitants.

Articles Waters of Life - Richard Mahapatra, Down To Earth

Bhaonta: A Village Wildlife Century - Ashish Kothari, The Hindu Survey of Environment
Forest Conservation & Water Harvesting in Bhaonta-Koylala Villages - Swati Shresth, Kalpavriksh
Joseph C. John Award Presentation - Centre for Science & Envt., Press Release, 28 March 2000

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