80% of farmers in rural India depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Timely availability of water has a direct bearing on the crop yield which determines if a farmer is profitable or becomes debt stricken. 


Large scale deforestation, drastic changes in cropping and climate pattern and continuous exploitation of groundwater has severely affected the availability of water in rural India, which in turn has a cascading effect on lower crop yields resulting in low income and high debts for the farmers.

Farmer Suicides: It’s a telling statistic that farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India. In 2016, over 25% of India’s population was drought stricken and 330 million  people in 200 thousand  villages experienced acute shortage of water. 

Open Defecation: Even in today’s era, many households even do not have access to toilets and defecate in the open fields. Contamination of available water resources due to open defecation adds to the problem of limited water availability. One in 3 women in rural India is unable to access safe toilet facilities. 23% girls dropout of school when they reach puberty due to lack of, or unhygienic toilet facilities.


Siltation: Also, continuous deforestation has led to severe desilting and the built canals do not carry water to their full capacity due to silt deposition.


OVBI and The Art of Living volunteer teams conduct ground research to identify a village that needs help. Using a comprehensive and community-driven approach, our objective is to make these villages self-sustaining. This approach is directed towards social, economic and ecological well-being.


Our water conservation & village wellbeing initiatives include:


  • Restoring dead canals

  • Increasing storage capacity of the canal by de-silting

  • Building check dams

  • Compartment Building (Bunds creation)

  • Ground Water Recharge through injection wells

  • Building Soak pits

  • Building Toilets 

  • Sanitation & Hygiene programs 

  • Rural training programs to empower the villagers

Work in Progress:

OVBI is dedicated to address these challenges faced by the residents of rural India in Maharashtra, which is the worst drought hit state. Our volunteers are working in Halgara village and are expanding relief efforts to 10 additional villages in Nilanga District. This will impact 100,000+ households.


To participate in the relief efforts, send us an email at



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A river is much more than a flowing water body. A river portrays a regime of activities in its watershed which exhibits a vast variation in terrain, land cover features, rainfall patterns and frequency, and human activities occurring in it.  Conserving a river at such a large scale and variations requires continuous monitoring and analysis of spatial and temporal trends of different aspects associated with it. Such tasks demand large amounts of data from different fields such as agriculture, socio-economic, biodiversity, industries, geology etc.

Advancement in technologies has made it possible to analyze the ground conditions without being present on the ground. Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide a common platform and modeling framework to integrate, analyze and visualize these vast varieties of datasets and information required to manage river basin. It provides the advantage of large spatial coverage and captures information of inaccessible areas at different wavelengths and scales in less time as compared to conventional methods of surveying. On the other hand, GIS provides a spatial perspective to the data which can identify key patterns or locations contributing to a specific issue.

OVBI strongly believes in using technology and scientific applications for the conservation of rivers.

The Remote Sensing and GIS will be used for the following applications for rejuvenation of rivers:

  1. Assessment of Watershed: The drainage network, terrains, elevations and flow paths would be assessed using various models in GIS.

  2. Water Quality Analysis: Conventional techniques of data collection can only provide point values of water quality parameters of a river. Whereas, remote sensing and GIS based modeling can also assess the concentration and dispersal of the pollutants in spatial (3D) and temporal dimensions.

  3. Decision Support: Powerful visualization facilities for display and manipulation in GIS and analysis of situations using simulation and modeling. This helps resolve complex geo spatial challenges which support the decision process.

  4. Analysis of Alternative Scenarios: Creating maps with existing and alternative situations is helpful in deciding the best scenario and action for further implementation of projects. Use of GIS power capabilities from prediction to prescription are helpful in finalizing the best scenario

OVBI aims to develop a comprehensive GIS facility in collaboration with The Art of Living Foundation with resident GIS experts. This will be superior to conventional water conservation techniques which are time and labour intensive and lack the capability of future prediction, modeling and analysis. Utilizing Remote Sensing data and GIS will optimize deployment time and enable scalability to additional locations.

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