The inspiring story of villager Ramakrishnappa whose life is now dedicated to water conservation and water harvesting

Water has become one of the most difficult resources to access these days. Be it in cities or in villages, be it for industrial use or for agriculture, be it for human consumption or for the environment, its scarcity has started to threaten even wildlife in forests. Apart from technical and institutional solutions what is needed is a deeper knowledge and engagement with the issue by more and more people. While academics, engineers, hydrologists and hydro-geologists grapple with mega issues, more skilled and engaged people are needed at the grassroot level too.

Ramakrishnappa (99457 32964) from village Kuruburakunte near Devanahalli embodies this need and change. An agriculturist by profession he had to give up farming on his two-acre land because his 750 ft. deep borewell went dry. It reached such a stage that in 2001 his village too ran out of groundwater. Tanker water supplied infrequently became the only source and even provide the 60 to 90 litres for the milch cow became difficult. That is when he came across the concept of rainwater harvesting.

Government programme

A government programme brought 5,000-litre rooftop rainwater harvesting tanks to select 20 houses in the village. Thanks to Venamma, his wife, Ramakrishnappa signed up for the programme and built his own rainwater harvesting system. In a week’s time after the tank was built it rained and the tank overflowed with clean water. He realised the benefits of water harvesting and started to build and evangelise them.

One of the first projects came from the Rotary and he built over 100 tanks in his village covering every house and in a neighbouring village. About 50 km away, another village called him and his small team. They camped and built over 50 rainwater tanks in that place. He started to approach government schools and built rainwater harvesting tanks for them to be able to supplement their water requirement for the mid-day meal and for the toilets. He built these tanks for more than 15 of them.

Just on April 7, he built and placed a 200-litre rain barrel at the University of Agricultural Science–GKVK girls hostel. On April 9, it rained and the tank filled up. A valuable lesson in water harvesting is now available to the agricultural students on the potential and possibility of rainwater harvesting.

Ramakrishnappa advices, directs and builds both rainwater harvesting storage as well as recharge structures. He does his work with patience, dedication and with a deep understanding for water conservation which comes from the soul of a person who knows what it is as a farmer to have had and lost water. His life is now dedicated to water conservation and water harvesting and he makes a living out of it.

In these dedicated farmers, plumbers, well diggers and rainwater harvesters is there hope that society will grapple and overcome a threatening water crisis . Investing in them with knowledge, skills, entrepreneurship capabilities and jobs will serve us well as a society. These are the true heroes and water warriors. In encouraging them is water wisdom.

Mail the writer at zenrainman@gmail.com.