Songkhing village harnessing canal water for irrigation

Situated in the foothills, Songkhing village receives only 1500-2500 mm of rainfall to sustain their agriculture, the main profession of this village. Falling under Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh, and due to the impact of climate change, Songkhing receives erratic rainfalls, the farmers were compelled to abandon their fields due to draught in lean seasons.

We are not able to cultivate our field as per our needs and were wondering if ever we could overcome this situation said, Mr. Chetkhum Lungphi ‘Gaon Bura’ (village heads) of the village.  This was a big challenge that the community was faced with and they looked quite demoralized because they cannot cultivate as per their needs.

The system of Water Reservoir could help all the 482 people from 80 households of the village who are engaged in agriculture. It can funnel down the water from highland streams into the reservoir through canals.

Seva Kendra Arunachal East (SKAE) partner organisation of Caritas India is working in this village since 2013 under the FARM Northeast project motivated the community to raise the issue with the Government authorities.

Phosham Mossang, the Anchal Samiti Member (ASM) took the lead and motivated people in different meetings during August 2017 to resolve the issue of water scarcity in the village. “I feel happy & satisfied with what I have done to motivate my own people”, says Phosham.

The people of Songkhing village decided that they would collectively approach the Government for a water reservoir from which the water could be channelized to the fields. Team SKAE was supporting the community all efforts like facilitation. “We decided that we would rather directly approach the local MLA than anyone else,” said Mr. Chetlung Mossang.

A group of people led by Phosham approached the Local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) at Miao on August 5, 2017, with a formal request letter for his attention towards the water scarcity issue.  On November 15, 2017 the MLA forwarded their letter to the Department of Water Resources, Government of Arunachal Pradesh for a quick action.  

The Department of Water Resources swung into action and while approving the request, sanctioned the work within a couple of months on January 17, 2018. “I am overwhelmed with this good news that we will have proper water supply for our agriculture from now on”, said Ranshom Mossang.

The confident-looking community of Songkhing village did not leave it there. They met again to ensure proper and smooth functional of the reservoir and the canal to avoid any delay. The community also volunteered to contribute labor for construction. The work was finally completed on March 20, 2018.

Now, farmers of Songking village can irrigate their fields from the canal that was a result of their collective actions.