An oasis of hope in a village devoid of water

Story type
Case story
WaterAid India/Pause Photography

There was a time when Bomma Reddy Gudem in Telagana’s Sangareddy district was like every other village in its vicinity. Its inhabitants, like in the others’, were mostly farmers who grew rain-fed crops. But slowly things began to change. The rains— once abundant to nurture their farmlands and their lives—became scanty. Maruti, a 65-year-old ‘former’ farmer said that while their neighbouring villages got water supply through government-built canals, theirs was left out. “Now our land lies useless and our lakes have dried,” he said, “We have only seen losses of all kinds these past few years.”

Changing weather patterns is emerging as one of the biggest challenges facing farmers like Maruti whose crops are mostly rain-fed. With little rain and even the lakes drying up, trying to grow a crop with the available water would only suffice their own consumption, he said. Even then, the farmers of the village have made attempts to continue their traditional livelihood, before giving up. “I spent about INR 2 lakh on the crops every year and got no returns,” Maruti said, “I got bankrupt and had no choice but to go for daily wage work to earn a living.”


Maruti is not alone in his woes. Other farmers in his village facing similar challenges have also started going for daily wage work to sustain themselves. “I wish I could continue doing farming—that made me happy. This work, daily wage work, is not consistent,” he said. There is however a silver lining in this dreary cloud. “The officials of WaterAid India and AB InBev have told us that they will construct a soak pit that will recharge a bore well from which we can then get water for our fields,” Maruti said, hopeful. A recharge pit is an underground structure made with porous material. It collects surface run-off water and allows it to soak into the ground, thereby replenishing the groundwater. “The possibility of reviving a dead bore well—the possibility of doing farming again. I was so happy to hear it. The work has already started. I really hope it works!”

Maruti’s son, Kola Raj Kumar is equally optimistic. “I am confident this (soak pit) will work,” he said, “We will get water and we will be able to do farming once again.”