The residents of Moodbidri, a small town which lies 34 km northeast of Mangaluru, Karnataka, and is famous for its Basadis, or ancient Jain temples and shrines, have seemingly done a tremendous job by reviving its once perennial water bodies that had gone dry.
What’s even more impressive is that residents are doing this without any help from the Karnataka government.
Dependent on the Puchchemogaru dam set up across the Phalguni river for their water, the alarm bells went off when water levels dropped precipitously. The inflow of tourists during the summer makes matters worse, as the water consumption in the town rises by 30%.
“We realised that we could not depend on the river forever. So, we started looking inwards and found out that the 18 water bodies that were feeding our town for centuries could be our hope,” said Dr Muralikrishna, the driving force behind this endeavour to revive water bodies to Indiatimes.
Among the first water bodies which saw a revival in its fortunes was the Mohalla Kere tank, which is spread across 1.7 acres. Defunct for nearly 50 years and filled with waste because of rapid urbanisation and shoddy maintenance, the tank today is filled with clean and usable water, reports Indiatimes. Thanks to local efforts, there are over 100 dug wells that can supply water to an additional 200 families in addition to the 100 households they had earlier supported on a daily basis.
“Dug wells, bogs, and other minor water bodies are also coming back to life. The revival of all 18 tanks will cut our dependency on the Puchchemogaru dam for domestic use by at least 50%. It will also take care of at least 35% of Moodbidri’s drinking water needs”, says Dr LC Soans, a water conservationist who saved the nearby Kadala Kere tank from going bone dry, and pioneered the cultivation of pineapple through drip irrigation in the area, to the online publication.
Following the Mohalla Kere success, a local group took up the task of renovating Uliya Kere, a multi-level water body. “The system of holding the water in different tanks nearby was already in place. All we had to do was to open up the channels and desilt the tanks. Now, we have not one but three tanks full of fresh water,” says Dr Muralikrishna.
Helping him along the way were organisations like the Rotary Club and Dharmasthala temples, and even local colleges, students and their teachers have played their part.
Next on Dr Muralikrishna’s list is the Subhashnagar Kere.
“Reviving and maintaining these water bodies with people’s participation has been a herculean task. In some places like Ankasalay, there were no traces of a tank. Large portions did not show the legal boundaries, but we had to dig and expose the boundaries to establish the legality. We had to convince the people living around the place of the importance of revival of the tanks. Today, we have the full support of the people living around all 18 water bodies in Moodbidri,” he explained.
Karnataka state capital Bengaluru could learn a thing or two from Moodbidri.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)