How Chikkaballapur lost its water bodies

Declining greenery

With shortage of water being a perennial problem here, one thought that the district is one big piece of barren land. But the area, at one point of time, had thick forests and was home to wild animals like tigers, elephants and leopards.

The forests extend from the south to the north of the Nandi Hills in the taluk and with an expanse of 200 sq km. The forests, with hill ranges and valleys, once had a variety of flora and fauna. The animals vanished from the forests due to their rampant hunting by humans.  
The major rivers of the district like North Pinakini and South Pinakini take birth in these forests. Thousands of tanks in the district had their water source here.

As per a survey by the British in 1871, as many as 9,590 tanks in  the districts of Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Tumkur and Bangalore got their water from these very forests.

While 2,800 of these tanks only collected water, the rest of them provided water for irrigation, thereby helping generate a revenue of Rs 16 lakh to the exchequer of the princely state of Mysore. The contribution of the Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts alone amounted to 45 per cent. A variety of crops was grown with the water from these tanks.

The hills and the forests of the region have lost their original form due to the large scale denudation in the last five decades. Trees have been cut over the years to produce charcoal.

The denudation of the forests also meant the drying up of the rivers that had their origins here. The tanks also started dying one after the other. Environmentalists are of the view that the time had come to protect these forests, so that the tanks and rivers can be rejuvenated, besides protecting biodiversity.  

Rich bio-heritage

* Thick forests called ‘Narasimhadevara kaadu’ in Nandi Hills were once the catchment area for a number of rivers and tanks.

* Their denudation resulted in the drying up of these water bodies..

* Reviving the forests can help rejuvenate the rivers and tanks

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