When pipe dreams come true

When pipe dreams come true

DEVELOPMENT

When pipe dreams come true

Marganakoppa’s farmers have successfully channelised water from the village tank to their fields. Tank rejuvenation has translated into better crop yield and a good quality of life for residents of this Belgaum village, reports Rajarajeshwari Joshi

“The few wealthy people in town could have pitched in money and rejuvenated the tank and used it only for themselves. However, this tank belongs to the whole village, and it is important that everyone is able to make use of it. That is why all the farmers in the village turned shareholders and participated in the development of the tank. We are also ensuring that not a drop of water goes waste,” says Bhageeratha Tank Development Association President Devendrappa. It is evident that this Marganakoppa man cares deeply about conservation of resources, particularly water.

Devendrappa is referring to the rejuvenation of Doddakere in Marganakoppa, which has been undertaken as part of the Jalasamvardhana Yojane. This scheme, which is being implemented with the help of the World Bank, first reached Marganakoppa in Bailhongal taluk of Belgaum district three years back.

Much like the process of implementation in other areas, the canals in this village also needed repairs.

But the villagers were not too keen about the project because they had no faith in the fact that the project would be maintained well in the future.

Many in the village had bitter experiences about the use of the canals. Some farmers used the canals for their personal use, and deprived others of the resources. There have been several instances in the village when water flowing in the canals have been misused; sometimes, even the canals have been broken.People in the village felt that a pipeline was important because only the farmers who needed the water would be supplied the same by way of a pipeline.

Lessons from Dhammur

Farmers realised that a project to supply water through a pipeline was being implemented in Dhammur village of Bagalkot district as part of the same scheme. A team from Marganakoppa visited that village to gather more information. But the team realised that to use water by way of a pipeline, use of electricity becomes inevitable. Though water would be available in plenty, the electricity bill would become a big burden, the team felt. And, as if to prove that right, there is now a problem in Dhammur. The villagers there have received a bill of Rs 84,000 in the last one year.

Also, irregular power supply would mean irregularities in water supply. Therefore, farmers from Marganakoppa decided not to rely on power supply to ensure water for their crops. They took up the development work in 2010.

No power problem

The jackwell constructed on the edge of the tank is not like any other storage well. The jackwell has a six-feet-deep water storage structure under it. A stone wall enclosure has been built five feet from the ground. No cement has been used in the construction of the wall.

Pipes have been arranged along the canal from the well. At regular intervals along the pipelines, 30 flanges have been placed. By fixing small pipes to these flanges, individual farmers can channelise water to their fields.

As many as 100 pipes of 20 feet length each have been bought by the Association. The farmer has to inform the waterman as and when he needs water for his fields.
The water directly reaches his field ensuring there is no pilferage midway. Because the pipeline has been installed three feet under the ground, there is no fear of the pipes being damaged. The Association’s President now holds the responsibility of supplying water. A fee of Rs 50 is charged for an hour’s water supply. There is also a discount when the pressure is low.

Farmers are charged Rs five as maintenance fee for the pipe that supplies water to their field from the flange.

According to the scheme, 12 per cent of the total cost of the project is paid by the villagers. This money comes from all the shareholders who have paid Rs 500 each.

The Association has decided to pay 30 per cent of the money that it receives at the end of the year as income to the shareholders. The Association is expecting an income of Rs 50,000 to 60,000 per year, and a maintenance charge of Rs 10,000 to 15,000.

If and when the Association takes up pisciculture, then the profits will be much higher, according to the Association members.

The benefits of tank rejuvenation are manifold. Farmers who have used water from the tank have reaped good yields from their crops. Tank Association Secretary B A Hiregowda points out that earlier the yield from his crop was 30 bags of paddy from three acres of land. After the use of silt, the yield has gone up to 80 bags of paddy. Sugarcane yield has also improved this time. There is still a lot of silt to be removed from the tank,” he explains.

Before the scheme was implemented, water from the tank was not used in a proper manner.

The storage capacity of the tank has improved after the de-silting process. Also, earlier, only half the land in the village was supplied with water. Now, all the fields in the village are being supplied with water. Even the cattle in the village have enough water and dhobi ghats (for washing clothes) have been constructed on the edges of the tank for the villagers. As many as 50 bore wells in the village have been recharged. The tank has brought much peace to the village and the overall quality of life has improved vastly.

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