Karnataka

Tackling drought, the Channapatna way

Smart move:Lush green crops below the Doddamaluru tank (right), which has been filled under the tank-filling scheme, in Channapatna taluk.  

When most of the areas in the State are reeling under the worst drought in five decades, Channapatna taluk presents a contrast picture. There are no signs of drought in its villages, despite being drought prone.

In fact, the Channapatna MLA, who used to haggle with the government earlier to get drought assistance, has categorically told authorities that his constituency does not need any relief. The villagers of this taluk, which used to suffer from acute drinking water shortage, are finding this summer much more comfortable than the previous ones in the last 17 to 18 years.

This transformation happened owing to a project taken up in December, 2014 that recharged the groundwater in the parched area by filling up tanks in the villages with water from Shimsha river, which is a tributary of the Cauvery. Under the project, 65 tanks, including Kanva reservoir and 17 major tanks, were filled with water pumped up from the Iggaluru barrage that stores Shimsha water.

The project has been executed in two phases by laying a pipeline for nearly 45 km. While Rs. 162 crore from the total Rs. 198 crore has been spent so far, another 30 small tanks would be filled when the required clearances are given by the government, said officials from the Water Resources Department.

Within months of filling the tanks, the impact on the groundwater was felt with 15,000 dried-up borewells coming back to life. Anand, a farmer from Mathikere village, whose borewell too has been resurrected, says: “Earlier, we needed to drill upwards of 1,200 ft to get water. But now, water is available at a depth of 150 feet to 250 feet in most villages.”

Recharging of borewells has triggered farming operations in the parched taluk, known for sericulture, beetle leaves and coconut farming. Several enterprising farmers like Mr. Anand have also started cultivating vegetables, especially babycorn, as there is huge demand for them in the Bengaluru market.

Channapatna MLA C.P. Yogeshwar, who was instrumental in getting this project, says: “Presently, we have utilised about three tmcft of water. But from next year, we will need only about one tmcft. But the benefits are immense as it has revived rural economy.”

Presently, the power bill has run up to Rs. 5 crore to Rs. 6 crore a year. But he is confident of recovering at least half of it by selling the fish reared in these tanks. “From next year, the fish revenue will match the electricity bill,” he says.



The first thing that comes to mind when I think of summer is the quarrels we had to collect water from a public tap. The authorities would supply water only once in three days and that too during odd hours. This is now a thing of the past as we get water every day

Laxmi,

Resident of Mathikere village







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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 5:58:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tackling-drought-the-channapatna-way/article8542770.ece

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