River linking project is first of its kind that successfully executed in India. The project aimed to provide resolution to a perennial problem of water scarcity in the village of Ugamedi in Botad District of Gujarat.
For years the soil of Saurastra has been water-scarce & it was very much essential for the residents to have a sustainable water supply for better & healthy living.
Growing up as a farmer's son, Laljibhai Patel of Dharmanandan Diamonds has always been concerned about rainwater conservation. He knew how uncertain rain affect annual crop yield. To resolve this, water conservation
at very large capacity was necessary.
To start in that direction, in his native village Ugamedi in Botad district of Gujarat, he dug 3 ponds of 3.5 km in length, up to 45 feet of depth and 400 feet of width that can store nearly 2.5 crore liters of fresh
water, making them largest artificial ponds in Gujarat.
The village river Sonal supposed to fill these ponds, however during following weak monsoon it was seen that these huge ponds could not be filled with river Sonal alone.
After pondering over the condition he analyzed that there is another river Keri 2.5 kilometer away from village. He diverted water from river Keri that was flowing away to the ocean to river Sonal by RCC pipeline of
3 feet diameter to fill 3 huge ponds.
In this way, first time in India, he paid tribute to Shri AtalBihari Vajpayee for his vision of interlinking rivers. This project aims to provide resolution to the perennial problem of the water scarcity and 90 percent funded by Laljibhai on his own.
After the dedicated work of more than a year of deepening ponds and linking rivers wonderfully, huge ponds stays full of water throughout the year and during the season it recharge water table by 4 times of its total
storage capacity i.e. 10 crore liters. Now not only Ugamedi, but 20 villages in more than 17,000 hectares of land in the neighborhood receives benefits. It also raised the water table by average 40 feet. Prior to this interlinking
the crops were sometimes failed and proven expensive but now farmers became economically sound as they can harvest up to 3 crops annually compared to hardly 1 crop.
Moreover, 10,000 trees are planted in this area to bring Green Revolution. Before this project, due to shortage of fodder farmers were forced to leave livestock to cattle-camp but not anymore. This project proved Sarva-Jeeva-Hitavaha
in real sense.
Laljibhai initiated this task single handedly without expecting help from State or Central Government and successfully executed it. The linking of the river Keri and Sonal became the first ever National Model of inspiration
in the field of rainwater conservation and appreciated by State and Central Government.