Trickle-down effect of tank rejuvenation

The State government is implementing many projects to conserve ground water.

The Jala Samvardhane Yojana Sangha (JSYS) is one of the major projects aimed at water conservation through community participation.

Pavagada is a backward taluk in the State, with inadequate water resources. All villages in the region are dependent on tank water. But, the tanks in the region are in a poor state, full of silt. Even feeder canals, bunds and main canals are in a bad shape.

The tank at Yarrammanahalli (Pavagada taluk) in Tumkur district is a great example when it comes to recharging ground water. Thanks to the rejuvenation of Jangalakere tank, ground water level has increased, bore wells have been recharged and farmers have managed to raise crops and reap a good harvest.

The principal water source for the village is the Jangalakere tank, but from the last 15-20 years the tank was full of silt, which affected water storage. It was at that point in time that the JSYS formed tank users group (TUG) and empowered the community to take up tank rejuvenation. “We noticed one important change in the village, improvement in farm produce thanks to the use of tank silt as manure in the fields.

The yield of groundnut, paddy and onion has improved and more vegetables are being raised now,” explains District Project Coordinator M G Padmaprabha. Executive engineer M S Venkatesh points out, “We have undertaken development of this tank with financial support from the World Bank. We have taken up sluice repair, waste weir repair, bund strengthening, canal repair, revetment resection, etc. Our main objective is to remove the silt, improve water storage capacity of the tank and ensure sufficient water to the command area farmers and tail-end farmers. All development activities are being implemented with help from the community, which is involved in both the planning and implementation stages.”

“Before the tank was developed, we relied on daily wages for our square meals a day. But now we have sufficient water, a good harvest and enough work to keep us busy throughout the year,” says farmer Ningappa.

According to TUG President Sannamallappa, “the tank bed was covered with weeds and thorny bushes. Owing to this, water could not percolate into the soil. Once de-siltation was taken up, the storage capacity of the tank bed area improved. Earlier, when the situation in the village was not good, many farmers migrated to Bangalore and other cities for work. Once the tank has been repaired and the water level has increased, many of those people who migrated are coming back. They are enthusiastic about agriculture and want to raise vegetables on their farms.”