Reviving Drought-Prone Chamkot Village of Uttarakhand

Pauri: In the summer of 2022, Dwarika Prasad Semwal, a resident of Chamkot village in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, decided to take matters into his own hands. With the village facing severe water scarcity and droughts becoming more frequent, Semwal embarked on a mission to collect rainwater by digging trenches around his house and encouraging others in the village to do the same.

Over the next seven months, Semwal’s tireless efforts paid off. Today, the village has over 3,500 water conservation structures spread over an area of three square kilometers, thanks to his “Water for Tomorrow” campaign. While the journey was not easy, the Himalayan Paryavaran Jadibooti Agro Sansthan founder’s unwavering commitment to water conservation has brought about a remarkable change in Chamkot.

Semwal’s campaign aimed to create awareness about the importance of conserving water and to provide a means of collecting and storing rainwater to meet the village’s needs. While the idea was simple, its implementation was challenging. Chamkot is a remote village with a population of around 1,200 people, many of whom were initially skeptical of Semwal’s plan.

However, Semwal was undeterred. He continued to persuade the villagers to join his campaign, emphasizing the need for water conservation to ensure their survival. His efforts soon paid off, and more and more people began digging trenches and constructing water conservation structures.

Semwal’s campaign also focused on creating a sustainable ecosystem in the village by conserving water and reviving the local flora and fauna. He encouraged the villagers to maintain the water conservation structures and to plant trees to help recharge the groundwater table. He also worked with the local wildlife department to create water bodies for birds and animals.

While the initial success of Semwal’s campaign was encouraging, there were challenges along the way. The lack of government support and funding made it difficult to scale up the campaign, and Semwal had to rely on donations from well-wishers to continue his work.

Despite the obstacles, Semwal persisted, and his efforts have transformed Chamkot. The village is no longer at the mercy of droughts, and the water conservation structures have provided a means of collecting and storing rainwater for the dry months. The local flora and fauna have also started to thrive, and the villagers have become more aware of the need to conserve water.

Semwal’s story is a reminder of the power of one person’s commitment to bring about change. His “Water for Tomorrow” campaign has not only helped solve the water crisis in Chamkot but has also inspired others to take up similar initiatives in their own communities.

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