Karnataka Village Sets Example in Conserving Water While State Battles Crisis

One village in Karnataka has shown perseverance amidst the water scarcity that has been affecting southern India

Vitagondana Koppa village in Shivamogga district

Amidst the scorching heat and delayed monsoon across the country, residents of the Vitagondana Koppa village in Shivamogga district are content with sufficient drinking water and are easily able to meet the requirements of their livestock.

The Vitagondana Koppa village situated near Ayanuru town is an inspiration to many neighboring villages. With the help of government assistance and crowd-funding, the villagers have rejuvenated a water tank called Hulikere.

The tank helps to keep groundwater stable and recharges the borewells. With its expanse reaching to over five acres, it is the biggest tank of its kind near the Shivamogga city.

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A retired accountant from the village, Shivanadappa, deposited three lakh rupees from his pension to get approval for the tank restoration under the government scheme ‘JalaSamvardhane’ in 2011 and the tank till date has prevented the village from facing the water crisis.

In 2011 there was a World Bank-assisted ‘Jalasamvardhane’ scheme which provided grants for rejuvenating traditional water bodies to keep the village green. At that time no villager had any interest in approaching the government. We just had to deposit three and a half lakh rupees to get the project sanctioned.

“The tank has now been handed over by the government to the village for preserving water, we take care of it together. More people joined in, now the tank fulfills everybody’s needs. I have never seen a drought in my village and surrounding villages because this tank helps to recharge the groundwater level,” Shivandappa told media agency.

Rohith, a local farmer asks that the government should treat tanks and other modes of water conservation as a priority.

In the old days, every village had a tank, today a lot of tanks have been destroyed or have been encroached upon. The tank is in itself an ecological system which should get priority by government to tackle the drought conditions,” Rohith said.

Nearly 2,000 villages in Karnataka are drought-hit.

State battles Water Crisis

Still waiting for the arrival of monsoon, Karnataka is battered by twin problems: Long dry spells leaving nearly 2,000 villages high and dry, and indiscriminate sand mining around major river basins turning towns prone to water crisis.

Illegal dredgers have been scooping up huge quantities of sand from riverbeds for the construction industry. Unauthorized sand mining affects groundwater levels by taking away rivers’ ability to hold on to more of it. Stringent rules and restrictions, including orders by the Supreme Court, Karnataka high court and National Green Tribunal against excessive sand mining, have failed to curb the number of incidents.

With drought-like conditions prevailing in 1,900 villages across 30 districts, the government has pressed more than 2,600 water tankers into service to ease the crisis. The drinking water scarcity was acute in 1,674 of the total 1,892 villages reeling from shortage.

At a time when the water crisis is deepening year by year, the example set by Vitagondana Koppa village is an excellent case study to improve the situation in the state.

–With inputs from agencies

Picture credit: TeamBHP

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