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Nigam to hold workshops on water conservation

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, MAY 11. A satellite-based workshop conducted by the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. on Monday for farmers focused on the need to conserve water and adopt farming methods that will maximise production with minimum use of water.

The workshop was held in all taluks of eight districts under the purview of the nigam with a special focus on creating awareness among farmers to conserve water, minimise its utilisation and maximise production.

The Managing Director of the nigam, T. Thimme Gowda, said plans were underway to conduct similar workshops throughout the region to create greater awareness among farmers on the need to conserve water. Such workshops would be held in each gram panchayat in the Cauvery command area. Water users' society should play a greater role in the efforts being made to conserve water, he added.

Resource persons and experts in agriculture apprised the farmers of techniques that could be adopted to enhance the efficiency of water usage while cultivating paddy and sugarcane.

V. Keshavaiah, expert in agriculture, said paddy was the principal crop of the State and was being cultivated in 11.8 lakh hectares of land. However, the yield per acre was declining due to improper water and soil management.

Dr. Keshavaiah said in light of declining availability of water, farmers should utilise it in a proper manner in different stages of growth to increase the crop yield. However, excess use of water would damage the crop as well as soil, he added. Similarly, it was pointed out that sugarcane was another major commercial crop in the region, which was affected by water crisis. Dr. Keshaviah recommended a series of technical measures, apart from adopting sprinkler or drip irrigation, to enhance production if there was water scarcity.

In view of poor monsoon and drought in the region, paddy cultivation had been affected. However it was possible to cultivate paddy with minimal use of water through the Madagascar method. Dr. Keshaviah explained the technicalities needed to persist with the crop despite an acute water scarcity.

C.R. Ravishankar of V.C. Farms, Mandya, said though sugarcane and paddy were cultivated extensively in the Cauvery command area, the decline in the availability of water made it imperative for farmers to go in for a secondary crop for sustenance. Drought resistant ragi could be cultivated under dry conditions. It could be a source of food and livelihood for farmers during drought. There were many ragi varieties that could be cultivated during a specific period. Hence, ragi cultivation should be encouraged, Dr. Ravishankar added.

G. Narayanachar, expert in agriculture, stressed the importance of recharging groundwater table stating that water table in the command area was fast declining. Reckless drilling of borewells and abuse of groundwater were the main factors for the depletion of water table, he added.

Experts should be roped in to build check dams. Pits should be dug up to help recharge groundwater table, Mr. Narayanachar said.

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