KARNATAKA

Western Ghats losing water retention capacity

PUTTUR, APRIL 19. It is true that one of the largest watershed areas in the country — the foothills of the Western Ghats — is losing its water retention capacity.

It has been attributed to destruction of forests in the plains that run along the river. But thanks to the initiative taken by the Varanashi Research Foundation, the use of sand blocks to build bunds covered with sheets of plastic has proved to be an effective and inexpensive method of impounding water in Puttur taluk.

It is natural for the shallow rivers and tributaries in Dakshina Kannada to run dry during summer.

Towards the end of the Kolke season farmers find water through such innovative methods.

Known as "kattas", these improvised check dams are a friend of the farmer.

Since the Varanashi Foundation propagated this improvisation, it is known as the Varanashi Model.

The first one of these kattas erected across the Seerae River in 2003 has brought about a sea change in the way farmers look at water impounding methods, says the Varanashi Watershed Development Association President, Varanashi Krishnamurthy. He says if these "kattas" are popularised in those taluks that get good rains, the water problem during summer can be alleviated.

This time, the well-known water conservationist, Shree Padre, has joined in by organising a workshop for farmers on the new innovation.

The quantum of water impounded by means of "kattas" erected Dhoomadka and Irde provide a soothing sight for the visitors even in scorching summer.

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