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How Women Across Karnataka are Fighting Drought by Restoring Water Bodies Themselves

Women across Karnataka, in districts like Mandya, Gulbarga and Kolar, are taking the drought head-on by toiling to revive water bodies themselves.

Women across Karnataka have made up their minds to fight the drought by reviving water bodies across the state.

In the Mandya district, women have taken it upon themselves to clean and desilt dry lakes and ponds, while the women of Gulbarga have revived 28 water bodies.

Image for representation only. Source: by McKay Savage, via Wikimedia Commons

According to a report by The Hindustan Times, 75 women working to revive the lake in Bevanahalli are worried about meeting the deadline set by the arrival of the Southwest monsoon. The group received the go-ahead from authorities to clean the dry lake only a couple weeks ago. Determined to complete the work as soon as possible, the women are working hard for the desilting of the lake.

Ever since the Bellandur lake in Bengaluru caught fire because of the industrial effluents released into it, the government has come under scrutiny for its inept administration of lakes in the state. Not waiting for the government to take action for the revival of these lakes and other water bodies, over 3,000 women in Mandya district have taken it upon themselves to restore lakes, ponds and irrigation tanks in 31 villages.


Also read: TBI Water Week: Drought-free in Maharashtra – Six Small Villages, One Big Lesson


These women have come together and convinced the administration to assign them the work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

“The lake has gone dry for the first time, leaving us with no water even for our cattle,” Shakuntala, a member of the group told HT.

The women are trying to address the water crisis and find long-term solutions to the issue. They are also calling out the trend of digging more and more bore wells without any measures for recharging groundwater levels.

“Action needs to be taken quickly as now bore-wells are being dug up to the depth of 600ft. This was completely unheard of here,” another member Sowbhagya said.

Around 70 labourers are working to clear out the accumulated dry clay at the bottom of the village irrigation pond in Devipura. This is the first time such work is being carried out in the village.

 


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Women are working in groups across Mandya district and have been inspired by the success of a similar movement in Gulbarga that led to the revival of 28 water bodies.

The organisation Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane came up with the idea and decided to focus on water bodies neglected by the state government. Despite facing opposition from the villagers as well as from the administration, the women have pursued the cause relentlessly.

The movement is spreading to other districts, as groups have come forward to begin work in Kolar as well.

Featured image credit: Hindustan Times

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