Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan or ‘MJSA’ – the brainchild of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje is a multi-million rainwater harvesting project, destined to change the fate of dry, sun-parched deserts. The scheme was launched back in 2016, aiming at preventing droughts and water scarcity in the desert state through efficient water budgeting. Within just two years, the campaign effectively covered 7,740 villages. At this speed, it’s estimated that with the completion of MJSA phase II, around 4000 villages in Rajasthan will have their own rainwater harvesting system. The water from these units will fulfill their domestic and agricultural requirements.
MJSA phase I produced fruitful results last year. By the time, the first phase completed, 3,529 villages accumulated 11, 1270 million cubic feet water, at the expense of 1,192 crores. 94,000 water reservoirs, johads, baawdis and tanks in these villages were filled up to the brim, with 95% water. 41 lakh people and 45 lakh animals enjoyed the benefits of Jal Swavlamban. The scheme was sourced through crowd-funding to supply water to the villages.
For those who don’t know, this ambitious water savvy scheme raises funds for restorative projects. The state departments, NRV (Non Residents Villagers) clubs, CSRs (Corporate Social Responsibility), NGOs (Non Government Organizations), state departments as well as the public came together for this scheme. People contributed funds, tools and labor in this public campaign. The idea was to make these villages self-sufficient and self-water reliant by reducing water depletion. The rain water collected through harvesting systems is used to enhance ground water levels.
The main objective of Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban is to invoke a sense of responsibility in villagers. Since everyone had equal participation in MJSA, they were equally responsible for managing water reservoirs.
In the second phase, the CM intends to launch 35,000 projects in 4,200 villages and 66 cities. Phase III of MJSA will rope in 3,000 more villages. Thus, by 2020, about 21,000 villages in Rajasthan will have water harvesting structure—a fact reported by CM Raje herself. The scheme will bring together administration, social/religious organizations and corporate houses.
The results of Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan are not just limited to papers, but have touched countless lives in Rajasthan. A 22-year old youngster from Kokila Joga village (Alwar), Sumit Sharma reaped immense profits from fields that were well-irrigated using water from nearby reservoirs. Thanks to MJSA, the crop cycle of Alwar farmers doubled. Moreover, they now have time for study, business and other activities, time, which was saved due to easy availability of water in these villages.
Rajasthan government hopes to reproduce these results in all the villages of Rajasthan. In the near future, Rajasthan will no longer be a dead and dry desert anymore.