A village becomes water-secure

A village becomes water-secure

A village becomes water-secure

Kaikara, a nondescript village in Olamogru gram panchayat of Puttur taluk in Dakshina Kannada district, is slowly scripting a success story in water management. A vented dam across Kaikara river, that was in a neglected state for the last 10 years, has been revived by the local youth. This has facilitated irrigation of 75 acres farmland in its surroundings.

Local initiative

Thanks to the initiative of Narendra Shishu Mandira of the village, the youth decided to give a facelift to the vented dam that was constructed in 1980. Under the leadership of farmer turned entrepreneur Santhosh Rai Kaikara, a 25-member team worked for three days to stop the free flow of water by placing 400 sandbags and a tarpaulin sheet. An excavator was used for digging the depth as well as placing  sandbags.

The vented dam was constructed across the stream in 1980 by the Minor Irrigation Department. Though well-maintained in the initial years, over a period of time, the structure started disintegrating. In spite of appealing to the authorities concerned, no action was initiated to repair the vented dam.

“Since the vents were not closed, the water in the stream was getting dried by January, and the farmers had to get an excavator to dig a pit to store water, and draw it for irrigation using a pumpset. After the facelift, water would be sufficient for irrigation till February end,” says Santhosh Rai.

The height of the vented dam constructed across the 88 feet wide and 10 feet deep  stream is 18 feet. Areca nut tree logs have been placed along with sand bags by placing a tarpaulin on it to check the flow of water in the dam. A tarpaulin sheet that is 100 feet long and 22 feet wide has been used to cover the sand bag. The team has spent about Rs 25,000 for restoration work. “The work is not yet completely done, we will continue the work next year,” says Santhosh.

The facelift of the dam has increased groundwater potential in around two to three km radius of the dam, says Naveen Prasad Rai Kaikara. “I have been benefited from the dam indirectly. The water level in my farm pond, situated two km away from the dam site, has increased,” he says.  Around 20 farmers have been directly
using the water stored for irrigation purposes.

Padmavathi Rai, another beneficiary, says, “The rejuvenation of the vented dam has benefited farmers. Earlier we had to spend money from our pocket to lift water from the stream during peak summer.”

Sathish Rai Neerpady, who supported the initiative financially, has also been benefited from the vented dam. He says, “The village faced acute shortage of water last year. Realising the gravity of the situation, a few youngsters from the village decided to store the water in the vented dam by repairing it.” Once the dam was repaired, all the beneficiary farmers came forward and contributed towards the expenses.

Along with the restoration of the vented dam, youngsters in the village are also creating awareness among people on the benefits of borewell recharging and rainwater harvesting.