HAL revives river, waters hopes in B'luru villages

Kumudvathi to end drinking water woes, irrigate lands

HAL revives river, waters hopes in B'luru villages

As river basins come under increased strain due to reasons like encroachments and overexploitation of ground water, public sector undertaking HAL has shown the way.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) recently dedicated the Rs 4.7-crore Kumudvathi river rejuvenation project to beneficiary gram panchayats in Nelamangala taluk of Bengaluru Rural district.

“We are extremely happy to contribute to the cause of reviving dried natural water resources when water has become a precious commodity. Our efforts, we hope, give a new lease of life to the natural habitat of the region and we will continue to support such ventures,” said T Suvarna Raju, CMD of HAL, on the occasion.

The event - Lokarpana (dedication) - was held at Thyamagondlu village, 70 km from Bengaluru.

The beneficiary villages are Doddabele, Kalalghatta, Kodigehalli, Thyamagondlu, Hasurahalli, Budihal, Kuluvanahalli and Shivagange.

CSR activity

HAL undertook the project in the past two years as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with International Association for Human Values (IAHV), a sister organisation of the Art of Living to rejuvenate Kumudvathi river, a tributary of River Arkavathi. It originates at Shivagange hills in Nelamangala taluk, 50 km from the city.

Kumudvathi and Arkavathi are the source rivers for Tippagondanahalli reservoir, which was supplying 30% of drinking water to Bengaluru city about two decades ago. The Kumudvathi flows through 278 villages covering 460 sq km, encompassing a major portion of Nelamangala taluk and parts of Magadi taluk in Ramanagaram district.

Due to reasons like deforestation, unsustainable extraction of groundwater, soil erosion, encroachments and massive eucalyptus plantations, the river basin dwindled, resulting in serious water crisis for drinking and agriculture in the villages. The project is turning out to be a model to revive many such rivers. Examples include River Vedavathi in Chikkamagaluru district, Palar in Kolar district and River Naganadi in Tamil Nadu.

HAL sponsored the work for Tavarekere (2014-15), Thyamagondlu and Mondigere mini watersheds (2015-16) that included re-charging of wells (202), boulder checks (202), injection borewells (27), water pools (35) and planting of saplings (15,000).

After three rain-cycles in the river basin, expected results include revival of defunct borewells and open wells, protection of drinking water sources, rejuvenation of irrigation tanks leading to agro-horticulture developments, increase in natural vegetation and eco-restoration.

For instance, the Tavarekere mini-watershed (2014-15) already had standing water in pools even in the middle of  summer.

This shows the base flow effect of the groundwater recharge that has taken place.
V M Chamola, director HR (HAL), senior officials from IAHV, members of gram-panchayats and villagers were present on the occasion.

The case for Kumudvathi

Tributary of River Arkavathi
Originates from Shivagange hills, Nelamangala taluk
Flows across 278 villages covering 460 sq km
Was supplying 30% of drinking water to Bengaluru
two decades ago

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