Underground Taming of Floods for Irrigation (UTFI), an IWMI/WLE/CCAFS project, involves diverting water flows from rivers or canals at times when these flows pose a flood risk to recharge the groundwater via village ponds or small dams, which are modified for this purpose. This approach reduces the flood risk locally and in downstream areas as well as improving groundwater availability through enhanced recharge. IWMI has undertaken a pilot project to demonstrate and test UTFI in the Milak Block of Rampur District, Uttar Pradesh, with the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI) , Livelihoods and Natural Resources Management Institute (LNRMI) and The Energy Resources Institute (TERI). With support from Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), for Agricultural Science Training Center) Rampur, the local community is being engaged in the project.
On September 13, 2017, IWMI and its project partners organized a workshop at the KVK office in Rampur to create greater awareness among farming communities about UTFI interventions within the project area. The workshop objective was to have field interactions with the farmers and gain their perspective on the experiences they have had with the UTFI project. Previous interactions within the project area had suggested there is demand for scaling up to generate larger benefits in the long run.
The aim of this event was to create a platform where scientists and farmers can engage in an open dialogue to build a more in-depth understanding of the concept underlying UTFI and to identify opportunities for scaling up.
Prior to the workshop, the team met with the District Magistrate (DM) of Rampur, Shiv Sahay Awasthi, who showed much interest in the project interventions. Emphasizing the importance of climate change, he asked how UTFI project interventions will help farmers build resilience to climate change impacts. He was especially keen to know more about how this could reduce the risk of floods and groundwater depletion. The DM visited the project site with the team and participated in the one-day community interaction workshop, where he urged farmers to support the scale up of such interventions in Rampur District. He also encouraged the UTFI team and extended his full support to the project through a linkage with the Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) program.