Water level never dropped though 25 tanker loads were drawn each day

Vegetable and banana crops at the Government Agricultural Seed Farm at Kottukkal near Anchal here have survived the recent searing summer, and are ripe for harvest, courtesy a perennial pond the farm authorities have conserved there.

At a time when ponds are largely seen as something to be reclaimed, the role played by the Malekkal pond inside the farm during the drought phase underscores the importance ponds have in food security.

Source dries up

Kottukkal farm’s main source of irrigation is a tributary of the Ithikara river which passes through the area. But in this year’s summer, that tributary had dried up and the farm’s crops stood threatened. It was then that the farm authorities turned to the Malekkal pond for succour.

They were not sure whether the pond could sustain the vegetable and banana crops standing on a good portion of the 254-hectare farm which needs to be irrigated daily.

The farm had not faced such a drought earlier and the pond was used only to meet minor requirements.

But the farm labourers were confident. The farm had its own water tanker and using a diesel pump the tanker was filled and water transported to all over the farm.

The level of the pond never dropped though about 25 tanker loads were pumped each day.

The authorities said that the pond had been erected at a point, around 20 years ago, where there was abundant water seepage. That kept the pond, and the crops, alive, they said.

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