An initiative to revive the lakes and facilitate groundwater recharge has helped improve water retention capacity in 20 lakes in Mysuru.
Launched by Centre for Rural Education Development and Innovative Technologies of India (CREDIT-I) in January this year, the endeavour is privately-funded and other NGOs are also involved in it.
Most of the lakes being taken up for revival are defunct and do not even have the inflow channels which have been encroached over the decades thus depriving the tanks of any source of inflow, said Mr. M.P. Varsha, Managing Trustee, CREDIT-I.
The Bahadurkatte Kere in Nanjangud taluk is a case in point and it had inflow channels spanning nearly 45 km about 50 years ago and rains in Himmavad Gopalswamy Betta in Bandipur would help fill up the tank. But, over the decades encroachments have cut off the inflow and what was once a perennial tank was defunct until it was dredged under the ongoing project, said Mr. Varsha.
The current endeavor in dredging, removing the silt and strengthening the embankment will help augment the water retention capacity of the lakes and enable local farmers with small land holdings, to irrigate their crops, Mr. Varsha added.
The 20 lakes whose water retention capacity have been increased are spread across Mysuru and Nanjangud taluks and going forward, the work will gain traction.
Given the magnitude of the task, like-minded NGOs are being roped in so that work can go on parallelly and Asian Paints has financed the lake restoration project of CREDIT-I under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
While farmers with small land holding will benefit during lean season post-monsoon, the other benefit is ground water recharge and it will be studied subsequent to the completion of the works. In addition, there will be adequate water for domestic cattle as also wild animals in the vicinity.
The technical support for the project is from IIT for Influencing India’s Transformation (IIT for IIT) which helps scale-up projects that have social impact.
Apart from water retention in the tanks, the silt removed from the lake beds – and if found suitable — are shared with farmers free of cost so as to enhance the fertility of the land and increase crop yield. In case the gravel and stone component is higher in the silt, it is procured by the local gram panchayat for road widening.
There are nearly 2,500 lakes and water bodies in the district and all those not covered under any of the Government projects for revival including the Amrit Sarovar scheme, will be taken up over the next seven years, Mr. Varsha added.