Establishment of Demand Driven Sustainable Improved Watermill Cluster in the State of Uttarakhand, India

As per UREDA, There is total 15449 watermills exist in the Uttarakhand. But, about 55% watermills are currently defunct due to various reasons such as depletion of water resources, frequent damage of water channels, isolated location and availability of diesel/ electricity mill at village level. Generally families belong to lower economic status are owner or operator of watermill. Existence or easy accessibility to diesel/electric grinding machines in villages has created adverse impact on the economy of these families. They are either forced to close their source of economy or trying to get another source of income mainly by labor. It is established fact that the quality of watermill processed items' is better than that of the diesel or electric mill, as the rotational speed in diesel mills is much more (about 700) than that of traditional water mill, which in turn deteriorates the taste and quality of the grounded four due to generation of more heat. This means that the flour has a longer shelf life, is more nutritious and has a higher market value. The innovative approach by involving community based organization particularly SHGs for marketing of watermill processed product will increase livelihood of both owners and members of SHGs. It is imperative to explore niche markets where their products are sold as premium products and thereby, additional revenue could be generated for the group & owner/operator of watermill and preservation of traditional cultural heritage of Uttarakhand as well. Mechanical or electric up gradation of the watermill is another important component of the project. Most of the watermill are traditional have wooden equipments, have low efficiency and being used to provide mechanical power, primarily for grinding of food grains and spices. The efficiency of the water mill can be increased by replacing traditional equipment with improved equipment and also generate electricity for other productive purpose.

Key activities under the project

Following key activities are being carried out by the IDS.

  • Identification of demand/livelihood opportunities (existing and potential) that can utilize the energy (mechanical or electrical) available from IWMs.
  • Assess the feasibility of a cluster of 10 IWMs meeting such demand and develop a detailed project report for the same.
  • Conduct baseline survey, which will help in assessing the socio-economic scenario post project for the selected watermills and Self Help Groups (SHGs.)
  • Capacity building and training to the selected watermill owners and SHGs: following training programs will be imparted to the selected watermills owners and SHGs.
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Account, book keeping and General documentation
  • Grading, packaging and Quality control Branding, Pricing and Marketing of products Exposure visit of watermill owner and SHG
  • Repair and maintenance of Water Mill
  • Facilitate the up-gradation of the selected watermills: completion of all the required procedures of UREDA (Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency) for availing the subsidy for the up-gradation of identified watermills
  • Establish market linkages for the identified products
  • Establish linkages with the identified markets (local and outside) as mentioned in the feasibility report

Project period: 1 year
  • Preparatory phase: 3 months
  • Implementation Phase: 6 months
  • Post implementation phase: 3 months

Expected Outcome of the project:
  • Identified watermills are up graded as per technical specification
  • community groups (SHG) have required knowledge and skill in promoting watermill based business
  • Owners are able to maintain and repair their watermill
  • Community groups have established market linkages for their products
  • Owner and members of groups have increased their income