Although news is generally dominated by disputes that sprout between different states in India over sharing of water from the country’s rivers, there is a quiet oasis of water camaraderie between two adjacent villages from Karnataka and Kerala.
Actually it is not an oasis but a barrage.
According to a report in The Hindu, the men and women of Manila village in Karnataka, and Puttige village in Kerala come together every year to build a barrage that helps them prepare for the upcoming summer as well as share the water stored.
In fact, they have been building this temporary barrage for 30 years now.
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Together, they build this embankment in a third village Balekallu, which is 56 km from Mangalore in Karnataka, across the Shiriya River. The river is 61-km long, originating from Karnataka and running through Badoor village at Kozhikode and Kumbla in Kerala.
The barrage that gets built is 50-metres long and the man-power required to build this has been funded under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Made of plantain trunks, sandbags and other materials, this structure provides water during the dry seasons to help irrigate 300 acres of land on both sides of the state borders. The report also notes that the water is used to recharge the groundwater in the area as well.
Since the barrage costs up to Rs 1.29 lakh every year, both villages are petitioning with their respective governments to build a permanent dam across the river so people living on both sides could use the water together, as they have always done.
And just like that they set an example for the rest of the world, simply by being willing to share.