Reviving water bodies of yore to rev up conservation

Reviving water bodies of yore to rev up conservation

world water day today

The kalyani at Utpatanahalli in Belur taluk of Hassan district.

As many as 233 traditional water harvesting structures called kalyanis in Hassan district will get a new lease of life before summer peaks this year. In a one-of-its-kind initiative called Jalandolana, people and local bodies have joined hands to resurrect these architectural marvels. 

The district administration and the zilla panchayat are spearheading the initiative conceptualised by Hassan-based civil society organisation Hasiru Bhoomi Prathisthana. The activities which will start in April will continue for a month and the work will happen simultaneously in all the villages.  

In the past one month, panchayat development officers (PDOs), taluk panchayat officials, officers of different departments and people’s representatives have been initiated into the process through awareness programmes. An action plan for each gram panchayat has been made with the help of PDOs. 

“Temple kalyanis and other traditional structures are the lifelines of the district and hold socio-cultural significance. If they are maintained well, it will replenish groundwater and address the current water crisis. We intend to involve people from across the cross-section in the campaign. Student volunteers from NSS, NCC and Bharat Scouts and Guides will also be part of the initiative,” said Hassan deputy commissioner R Girish.  This is the second phase of the water conservation activities in the district which were initiated in 2017 by the Prathishtana. 

“Reality struck us hard in 2017 when several villages had to be supplied with tanker water. Despite being a semi-Malnad region, a central government committee that came to examine the situation declared it as one of the most drought-prone areas in the state. We had already seen the consequences with farmer suicides becoming a common phenomenon. Reviving water sources could be the first step towards addressing the issue,” said Rupa Hassan of the Prathishthana.  

So far, the team under the banner of the Prathishthana has revived 40 kalyanis and 14 lakes. Local residents led the rejuvenation work, making it participatory and sustainable. 

The Prathishthana wants to take up groundwater and surface water recharging. Keeping water sources clean, recovering the catchment areas are some other objectives of the campaign. 

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