Persistent drought and resulted farmers distress is a phenomenon in Yeotmal district of Vidharbha region. Its relevance has now become more than a disaster and all likelihood a climatic contingency. Even before media started to highlight the debt trap and subsequent farmer suicide in Yeotmal, the community level institutions like women self help groups have realized its intensity when their traditional water resources went dried even before the midsummer. When they heard from elderly members of their community about diverse varieties of green vegetable and seasonal fruits once available in their backyard they have started to rethink about the past. Finally, a turning point happened for the long time discussion and interactions with the community members by initiating a watershed development programme.

Two years back when NIWCYD initiated the watershed development programme in three selected villages of Ghatanji Tehsil of Yeotmal, the beneficiary community members were in confusion. They were hearing the term rainwater harvesting and its positive impact after a period as the long waiting solution for their water crisis. Hardly a couple of people in each village expressed their interest to hear the words of the project team in the beginning. It took a year for them to have their first hand experience to see rainwater inside a tank, dug manually in front of the hamlet for their use for another three to four month after the withdrawal of monsoon. A common well, partially abandoned because of the rock formation on the walls, bottom, and resulted difficulty to fetch water also shown increase in water level even in the peak summer. The rainwater stored in the pond percolated into the well had become a matter of surprise for the community members significantly those who did not ready to believe the impact of rainwater harvesting in the beginning.

A micro plan has worked out an integrated approach to improve the ground water level of the project area in which, rainwater harvesting, changes in the pattern of agriculture, conservation and propagation of drought resistant indigenous varieties of cereals and vegetable and multilevel awareness programme with an important focus on schoolchildren, youth and women.