Asia Initiatives

Communities Facing Severe Water Crisis

Residents of Bundelkhand are typically agricultural farmers. Over the past several years, their livelihood has been decimated by acute water scarcity caused by severe and prolonged droughts. In fact, the region has seen 15 droughts in last 17 years and all 13 districts of Bundelkhand are characterized by some of the lowest levels of per capita income and human development indicators in the country.

As a result, Bundelkhand has seen a steep decline in agricultural production, which has caused havoc for a large number of Bundelkhand farmers who are mostly dependent on the rainwater. Because of this issue, the farmers now rely heavily upon groundwater as the major source of domestic and irrigation water. Yet wells have dried up due to lack of monsoon rain.

The water crisis has also caused a food shortage in Bundelkhand, as farmers have been unable to grow any crops. With no other solutions to better their conditions, the residents are forced to wait out the drought while their food stocks are deteriorating.  This means that villagers have very little to nothing to sell and to eat and are stuck in the cycle of poverty. The worsening situation in Bundelkhand has pushed residents into a corner with nowhere to turn to.

This situation has pushed these farmers to the brink; many of them have committed suicide due to continuous crop failure and huge burden of loans. Women here are also facing livelihood crisis as they are left to take care of the family members who continue to suffer from malnutrition. At the same time, elderly people are being abandoned by their children who are forced to migrate to other states and cities to get work.