The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has compiled a water resource map of all the 404 village panchayats in the district and drawn up an action plan for improving the resources in the villages under its Krishi Jaldoots (Water Ambassadors) initiative.
The programme was conducted from May to June through 40 water ambassadors identified from six NGOs, who fanned out across the villages in the district to raise awareness of conservation by efficient use of water through available technologies and creating community ownership in harvesting, saving, managing and recycling water.
They also mapped the existing water resources such as farm ponds, tanks and check dams available in the villages and drew up an action plan in consultation with the villagers on the measures required for improving water resources in the villages. The action plan identified requirements such as renovation or desilting of waterbodies and also demands for check dams or other structures for the stakeholders to act upon.
The water resources map was released by K.Rajamani, Collector, at a recent debriefing meet organised by the NABARD in the city. The action plan was presented to the Collector by S.N.A.Jinnah, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Chennai.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Rajamani said the map and plan would be examined by the departments concerned and appropriate action taken by them. He observed that various works had been executed at an expenditure of ₹5 crore in the district under the kudimaramathu scheme last year.
This year, about ₹9 crore has been earmarked for the purpose.
The State government, he said, had allotted ₹300 crore for carrying out repairs and rehabilitation work in small lakes, ponds, channels and sluices across the State. In Tiruchi, about 52 works would be taken up at an investment of about ₹10 crore.
The NABARD campaign was important in the context of depleting groundwater and the bank pointed out that nine blocks were over exploited, two as semi-critical and only three blocks were safe. Voluntary organisations should make water conservation a mass movement, he said and added that the district administration would partner NABARD in its efforts in this direction.
Mr. Jinnah said NABARD had initiated the water campaign in the light of agrarian distress owing to uncertain monsoon, erratic rainfall and drought in 1 lakh villages covering 200 districts in the country.
Tamil Nadu was one of the water-stressed States in the country, where 95% of surface water and 85% of groundwater had been exploited. NABARD proposed to support the State with funding to the tune of ₹3000 crore for rehabilitating 41,000 system tanks over a period of 5 years, he said.
S. Suresh Kumar, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, Tiruchi, said villagers were also encouraged to plant 3000 saplings, clear buses on waterbodies and recharge defunct borewells through artificial recharge structures during the campaign.
The campaign involved the village panchayats concerned, Agriculture Department, self-help groups and joint liability groups, farmer producers companies, farmers’ clubs, cooperative institutions and the community at large, he said.