Watershed Organisation Trust WOTR, India

  • Philosophy: WOTR believes that land degradation and water scarcity are the most intense and commonly felt needs of a village community that can bring different groups of people together to begin their development process. Community restoration of the natural environment makes sustainability happen. Such community-led efforts help combat and adapt to climate change and mitigate the impacts.
  • Vision: Communities, especially the poor wthin, are empowered to live in dignity and secure their livelihood in sustainable eco-systems.
  • Mission: To provide committed development support that motivates, energizes and empowers communities, groups, other organizations and individuals, for self-help through integrated watershed development and enhancement of well being on a sustainable basis. (Philo and Vision).

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Address (1 of 2): Watershed Organisation Trust WOTR, 2nd Floor, The Forum, S.No. 63/2B, Padmawati Corner, Pune Satara road, Parvati, Pune – 411 009, India;

About: It is believed that wars in the future will be fought over water.

As and how this precious resource gets scarcer, our survival is what will matter more than all the technological and economic developments put together. Finally, it will be man and nature once again – like being back to the basics.

In fact, if you were to undertake a tour of the drought-prone regions of India, you would realise for yourself how water and its availability becomes the prime concern of people staying in a ‘dry’ area. Women and children walk for miles in the blistering sun to be able to get just a pot of drinking water. Men dig deep into the hard ground to be able to locate a brackish water resource. Taking a bath or washing clothes is considered a luxury that no one in such regions can afford. Parched throats yearn for a drop of water. And the arrival of a water tanker can even lead to ugly fights.

Farming, a traditional occupation in most villages of India, can become an unreal notion in the face of such water shortages. People therefore begin to migrate to cities in search of livelihoods. Some villages turn to nothing more than landscapes of ruins. Some turn into the final abode of the sick and the elderly who wait for the merciful hand of death.

These then are the realities that led Fr. Hermann Bacher, a Jesuit priest, and Crispino Lobo to establish the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) in 1993. Fr. Bacher had committed himself to change the lives of the rural people handicapped by the shortfall of opportunities and resources in their villages. Crispino Lobo gave up bright career prospects and instead decided to work for the impoverished. Under them, WOTR organised and capacitated villagers to regenerate their watersheds so as to trap whatever little rain that fell in their area and use it for farming and personal use.

With its head office at Ahmednagar, WOTR has, over the years, turned barren landscapes into forests. And this magic has happened not just because of the technical guidance and funding that it has provided to several villages across Maharashtra but for the fact that it works with a holistic picture in mind. WOTR gets villagers committed to watershed development. It convinces them about the need for collective participation and voluntary labour. WOTR gets the women population involved too in the process of decision-making and governance … (full text).

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