In the last few years, Mandya has suffered from acute water shortage. The farmers of the region have been distressed with successive monsoon failures, and have been demanding the government to release water to sustain livestock. The groundwater level has plummeted, and there have been many failures of borewells.
At a time like this, a 78-year-old farmer from Mandya has been persistently working towards saving the region’s natural resources so that water bodies there don’t dry up.
A resident of Dasanadoddi, Kamegowda has dug canals, built bunds, roads and check dams on top of a hill, in order to save the water that flows down from there. He has done all of this on his own, putting in his efforts continuously for the last 40 years, reports Deccan Herald (DH).
Interestingly, Kamegowda never attended school but has a high level of expertise in water management systems in his village. He has created five bunds from the hill to the Dasanadoddi village, where all the check dams keep filling up one by one.
So, even when the area experiences drought, which it regularly does, there is enough water to sustain the livestock in the village.
The regions that have benefitted from Kamegowda’s hard work are Dasanadoddi, Pandithahalli, Hosadoddi, Thiruvalli and Panathahalli, among others.
At the moment, the 78-year-old is in the process of building two check dams – he has begun work on the first one and is identifying a place to build the second. In order to do this, he sold his sheep and goats and has spent ₹6 lakh so far in his efforts. Sometimes, he even takes money from his pension to pay for the expense.
His family isn’t very happy with this.
He told DH that he had saved ₹20,000 as expenses for his pregnant daughter-in-law’s delivery, but since the birth happened without incident, he built a check dam in the child’s name.
“As the delivery was normal at the government hospital, I named my grandchild Krishna and built a check dam in his name,” he told the publication.
Not only this, he also makes sure he plants new saplings on the hill. So far he’s planted medicinal plants like bilvapatre, along with flowering plants, tamarind, honge and several other plants.
He has also taken it upon himself to take care of those plants that were planted by the Forest department in the area.