Bundelkhand's dalit women join hands to drought-proof their villages

96 women-led pani panchayats take over water resource management

As in the previous years, farmers of the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh started facing acute water shortage this year, too, with the onset of summer. There were media reports of farmers stealing water to irrigate crops. With scant rains and little help from the government, most people in the region faced a bleak future. But people of three backward districts in the region—Jalaun, Hamirpur and Lalitpur—hope to ease their water woes. They have started work to secure their water resources.

In 2011, women from 60 gram panchayats of the three districts got together to form paani panchayats (water councils) in their villages, which have become a model for local self-governance to address water and employment problems in rural areas.

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