WOTR started its work in the Indian state of Maharashtra in 1993 in the districts of Ahmednagar and today works in 12 districts: Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Amravati, Beed, Dhule, Jalna, Nashik, Pune, Raigad, Satara, Wardha and Yavatmal. These fall under five distinct sub-regions: Western Maharashtra, Khandesh, Konkan, Vidarbha and Marathwada.

Updates of 2017-2018

  • Soil and water conservation works carried out on 4,911 ha of land
  • 496 drip irrigation units and 773 sprinkler units
  • 890 crop demos conducted in Maharashtra
  • 10,13,721 advisories sent to 13,455 farmers through mobile SMS
  • 5,386 soil health cards were distributed
  • 17 sustainable livelihood training activities were conducted, including farm and non-farm initiatives like – beekeeping, cake making, jam and jelly and soft toys)
  • Training and capacity building of 27,340 people
  • 58 health camps benefitted 4,972 people
  • The growth and nutrition of 2,978 children were monitored through the child growth monitoring tool
  • 58 Vidarbha farm widows assisted in the Women in Distress project



‘Impact of a water harvesting structure’

I am Santosh Dnyandev Satpute, resident of Chincholi village, block Parner in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. My main occupation is agriculture and I have 2 acres and 10 gunthas (1 guntha = approx. 1000 sq.ft) of ancestral land. We have been cultivating two crops in a year such as pearl millet (bajara), mung (green gram), and fodder crops in the kharif season and Sorghum (jowar) and maize in rabi season.

Since our one well runs dry in January- February, we cannot cultivate any crops in summer and also fall short of fodder. To address this situation, in May 2017, I excavated and constructed a farm-pond in my field. The total cost incurred was about Rs.76,000 including a plastic sheet. A grant of 25,000 rupees from WOTR helped me undertake this investment towards a water harvesting structure. The water storage capacity of this farm-pond is about 6.5 lakh litres. I am now able to irrigate 5 gunthas (approx. 5,000 sq.) of land to provide green fodder for cross-bred cows even in summer. Every day I get 50 kg of green fodder for the 3 cows (which drops to about 20 kgs after December – January months) and am thus able to sustain my livelihood choice of being a dairy farmer.

Ongoing Projects

  • 12 Watershed Development Projects
  • 2 Community Development Projects
  • 1 Water Stewardship Initiative
  • 4 Climate Resilient Agriculture Projects
  • 6 Water Management Projects
  • 4 Livelihoods Projects
  • 5 Health, Nutrition and Sanitation Projects
  • 4 Gender and Women Empowerment Projects
  • 6 Action Research Projects, managed by WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies
  • 1 Waste Water Management Project

The list includes engagement with government programmes like the MGREGA, the Department of Water Resources of Government of Maharashtra and aid agencies and CSR departments. For a full list of projects, see here

Impacts and Case Studies – 2017-2018

  • Total water harvesting potential of 7.8 billion litres created in 2017-2018
  • 3.3 billion litres of water saved in our project areas in 2017-2018
  • 33.22 billion litres of water brought under governance in 2017-2018
  • Total water harvesting potential created, water saved and brought under governance is 44 billion litres in 2017-2018
  • Study on soil quality in and around Sangamner cluster shows that treated watershed area had 19 percent higher organic carbon, 5 percent less sand particles, and 5 percent less soil bulk density than controlled untreated watershed.
  • Child Growth Monitoring data in 20 project villages of Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district shows 49 percent drop in malnutrition and 31 percent rise in normal weight between January and December 2017
  • Sex ratio in 11 project villages of Maharashtra’s Beed district improved from 817 in 2012 to 1023 in 2018.
  • Vegetation cover in Bhokardan block, Jalna district has improved from 28,400 ha to 48,700 ha, an increase of 71 percent between 1993 and 2015
  • A detailed assessment of the Benefit to Cost ratio of a watershed project in Maharashtra indicates that it is in the region of 2.3 to. 3.8 and net present value ranging from $ 5 million to $ 7 million.



Watershed Development, Resilience and Livelihood Security: An Empirical Analysis

The study ‘Watershed Development, Resilience and Livelihood Security: An Empirical Analysis’ seeks to explore whether watershed development does contribute to building resilience and adaptive capacities of local communities and their ecosystems.



Watershed Development in India: Economic Valuations and Adaptation Considerations

This paper examines how economic valuation can improve our understanding of watershed development and how to overcome challenges related to data collection, valuing direct and indirect benefits, and climate change adaptation.



Water Stewardship in Rainfed Agrarian Maharashtra

The article written by Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza was published in the compendium ‘Water Conservation and Saving in Agriculture: Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges in Maharashtra’ by Water Resources Department (WRD) Government of Maharashtra article ‘Water Stewardship in Rainfed Agrarian Maharashtra’ is based on lessons learnt and observations from implementing a Water Stewardship Initiative (WSI) launched by WOTR.




Water Stewardship: Facilitating Communities for Responsible Water Management

WOTR’s Water Stewardship Initiative is aimed at transforming villages into water-efficient and responsible users, who maintain and safeguard the precious water resources at the village.



‘Thoda toh Socho’ (Give it a little thought)

Our thought-provoking and funny film ‘Thoda toh Socho’ shows us the perils of using too much plastic in daily life and urges us to switch to more environment friendly alternatives.


Latest from our blog


Letting the unseen be seen

Day after day, newspapers in Maharashtra highlight the water crisis: “In Marathwada, dead insects fill the little water that’s left”. As crops and jobs dry up, children’s education hit. Howsoever, the situation is not unique to Maharashtra. There is a need to have village-level water budgeting to solve the problem. WOTR is currently undertaking the same in over 100 villages. Read our blog to know more.



Problematic uses and practices of farm ponds

Farm-ponds in the semi-arid areas of Maharashtra are part of the government’s programme to tackle the water crisis. In our blog, we find that smaller and medium sized farm ponds can be more effective than large scale farm ponds.



If you wish to know more about our work in Maharashtra, contact
WOTR Maharashtra,
The Forum, 2nd Floor, Padmavati Corner,
Pune-Satara Road,
Pune, Maharashtra 411009
Phone: 020 2422 6211