No sooner did the residents of a ward in Dhangadi Municipality successfully turn the banks of Mohana river into a green community forest than they realized that they were truly protecting their village from floods and river cutting.
The Adarsha Community Users Group of Ward No. 3 implemented the bio-embankment scheme with the financial support of Rs. 369,000 and a local contribution worth Rs. 1.43 million under the Western Terai Landscape Conservation Project (WTLCP). The success story has prompted the residents living down the river to demand similar projects.
Local resident Brindadevi Avasti said the one kilometer bio-embankment has saved equally long river bank from erosion.
“We can have a sound sleep now during the monsoon,” said Avasthi. “Most of Ward No. 3 used to be under a great threat of floods and erosion.”
The local community started plantation of saplings on the banks of the Mohana river in 1995 and called the area Adarsha Community Forestry. But then no one believed that the work would be sustainable.
“We were able to show how to turn the barren river banks into a green forest. Thanks to the efforts of the local community, this became possible,” said Sita Khadka, vice president of the committee.
The users group has 173 households as members. Local residents share the forest products, including fodder, here.
Women from the users group planted various kinds of saplings, including fruits, gradually turning the river bank as a garden just a
a kilometer away from the Dhangadhi market. The forest group got a bonus as the area developed into a picnic spot.
“During the summer, there is a rush of students and families to organise various activities,” said Taradevi Bhatta, member of the users group. “We see a reason why we should protect the plants as our children.”
After flash floods destroyed the river banks, locals demanded from the administration to build the bio-embankment.
“We used bamboos and sand against the flood water,” said the coordinator of the Mohana River Community Users Group.