Farmers in the Haliya and Mundogod districts in north Karnataka have been facing a severe water crisis that has left them short of water for both drinking and agricultural purposes for two years in a row now. But this time around they are preparing for the possibility of water shortage by reviving a dead lake.
Farmers from both the districts were utilising water from the Ammanakoppa lake for agricultural purposes. But after it dried up this year, due to 50% less rainfall than usual, the villagers decided to remove silt from the base of the lake and fill it with water diverted from a nearby forest.
Source: By Arunankapilan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
According to reports, a farmer named Santosh Mirashi from Ammanakoppa said that repeated crop failure and death of cattle was making the farmers’ lives miserable. They figured that it might be in their best interests to divert rainwater from a forest, which is two kilometres from the village. The villagers approached the grama sabha for permission to dig a canal. A farmer, Manjunath Patil, told The Times of India, “”We dug up a canal from the forest to the village lake and water began flowing through the canal to the lake.”
But there was another problem – almost half of the diverted water was going to waste as it evaporated before it could reach the lake. The villagers sought help from R V Deshpande, an MLA from Haliyal, who, upon examining the situation, decided to approach the Infosys Foundation.
The Foundation provided around 125 pipes to transport water to the village, and now the lake has filled up with water. According to reports, the villagers have now started using water pumps to transport water from the lake and are using the water to cultivate maize, paddy and sugarcane. Inspired by the actions of these villagers, other farmers from nine nearby villages, including Antrolli, Teragoan and Kelaginakoppa, are planning to replicate this model. R.V Deshpande says he looks forward to helping more villagers use the model in many taluks.