Vented dams are constructed to conserve water and also to increase the ground water-level.
Though there are 793 vented dams constructed under various projects in Dakshina Kannada, only 489 vented dams are in good condition. The remaining 304 vented dams are in dilapidated condition in the district.
As per the available records from taluk watershed development department, there are 129 vented dams in Mangalore taluk, including 13 in Moodbidri TMC limits, out of which only 42 are in good condition.
There are 218 vented dams in 36 gram panchayats of Belthangady taluk. While 162 dams are in good condition, the remaining 56 are waiting for repair.
In Bantwal taluk, there are 136 vented dams in 31 gram panchayats, including one in Bantwal TMC limits. According to the officials, all the vented dams are in good condition.
There are 165 vented dams in 27 gram panchayats of Sullia taluk. As many as 109 dams are in good condition and 56 dams are waiting for repair. Puttur taluk has 131 vented dams in 25 gram panchayats.
Only 31 vented dams are in good condition and the remaining 92 are in deplorable condition.
A majority of the vented dams in the district are left as they are and they don’t serve the purpose they were construted. The wooden planks are not installed for conserving water during monsoon.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, MGNREGA Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said that he has written a letter to all the taluk watershed development department officers and taluk panchayat EOs to take up the work on maintenance of vented dams by utilising the funds available under MGNREGS. “The clauses in MGNREGS direct the authorities concerned to give priority to water conservation and water storage. Accordingly, all those vented dams which need attention can be repaired under MGNREGS,” the letter said.
In fact, Karnataka state Principal Secretary to Rural Development Panchayat Raj department in her letter dated July 12, 2012, to all the ZP CEOs had directed to take up the work on water conservation under MGNREGS.
The letter said that the work on rejuvenation of ponds can be taken up on priority basis. Department of watershed and minor irrigation have already been identified as agencies for implementing the work on water conservation.
The Ombudsman said that the work on desilting the lake, pond, tank and installing wooden planks for the vented dam can be taken up every year under MGNREGS.
Along with generating employment, this will help in conserving water. When the wooden planks are installed to check water in vented dam, automatically, the water-level in the wells and ponds goes up.
This in turn will help in solving water woes that crop up during summer,” he added.
When the vented dam at Edurkala in Bantwal remained in neglected state, the villagers unitedly installed wooden planks to check the flow of water during December.
This has helped the villagers to conserve water in their village.
Similar attempt can be taken up throughout the district to conserve ground water instead of depending on other sources of water during summer, he added.