Rain is the only saviour

Agriculture Capstone Raichur Taluk

The village dwellers in Maski taluk do not get adequate water to use for drinking, sanitation and irrigation. They have to store water in small tanks and use it for as long as a week or almost ten days. Maski is a rain dependent geographical area without sufficient water resources.

The villages in Maski taluk did not witness rain for four years before last year’s rains. The farmers were badly impacted by this as they lost their produce to the scarcity of water. Raichur, of which Maski is a part of, is one of the biggest rice-producing districts in Karnataka. So naturally, most farmers in Maski grow paddy on their lands which requires an abundant amount of water.

Many farmers cannot keep up with this requirement and end up in losses due to the water crisis. “The land we work on is very rain-dependent, if the rain is good we get good produce, if the rain is bad, our entire crop goes to waste, I faced severe losses due to shortage of rain in the last harvest.” said Mudeen Saab, a local farmer. There are limited sources for water distribution in the villages in Maski. “Our taluk cannot survive without rain, we don’t have a river bordering the village, the dam is far away and the groundwater levels have gone down. You can only find water at 300-400 feet now. Farmers don’t have enough resources to work with.” expressed Hussain Saab, whose brother is a farmer.

Karnataka is the second most rain-dependent state in the country when it comes to farming. So, one can understand how crucial rains are for the farmers. Failure of crops takes away the simple joys of life from a farmer and his family. “Earlier farmers used to cultivate all kinds of grains but due to the water crisis, they cannot do that anymore.

Some of them used to plant seasonal vegetables like onion, now even that’s impossible for them. Farmers face losses as there isn’t any water for irrigation. As a result of this they have to migrate to other places with their families.” said Taiyabba Begum. Her husband is a farmer. Interestingly, there is a major bottled water plant in Maski. While a significant population in the taluk is struggling for water, the Bisleri plant processes four lakh litres of groundwater daily.

The general manager of the plant talks about the water they manage to extract from the ground.“We have five bore wells in the plant each 150 feet deep. These bore wells are dependent on rains too, during summers we cannot keep up with demands as our production goes down. This plant has been functioning for 17 years and we had one bore well, so you can imagine how our production has peaked and the water levels have gone down.”

The chief officer of TMC, Maski, Reddy Rayangowda said he is aware of the issues and is trying to solve them in whatever ways he can find. “Maski has been facing water-related issues for the last 10 years. The groundwater levels here have gone down drastically and the people are suffering. We are trying to connect the nearest dam to the villages through a pipeline so that every house can get water.”

He added, “Also, the population of Maski has gone up from 14,000 in 2007 to 30,000 now and our plan of water distribution wasn’t designed for that many people. So we are upgrading that distribution method as well. In summers we are trying to distribute water through tankers. It’s somehow possible to provide drinking water but for farmers, we don’t have any plans from the government as of now.” Water scarcity has adversely hit the farmers of the villages and they can only hope for help from the government soon.


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