Farmers in Siddapura taluk rely entirely on natural rainfall for drinking water and farming purposes, our reporter Piyush Shukla finds out the diffuclties faced by farmers on every day basis and lists out suggestions to address this issue of water crisis.
Siddapura Taluk in Uttara Kannada district is facing acute water shortage problem. The farmers here depend almost entirely on natural rainfall for farming and drinking water purposes. Even though the region of Uttara Kannada district receives ample rainfall, the lack of awareness regarding water conservation techniques amongst many has led to the problem of water crisis in this region. Ratnamma, a local housewife says ‘’ There is no water and we cannot even perform our basic everyday activities’’, while Mr. Mahendra Gowda, a farmer says that ‘’only if there is rain, we get water every day. Post March month, the water supply goes really down and we have been complaining about this issue to Zilla Panchayat since past decade but to no avail’’.
Sirsi which is the nearest taluk to Siddapura has championed its way in the field of water conservation over decades. There are various ngo’s and Community service groups here which have made quite an effort towards the field of water conservation by building farm ponds, rejuvenating and desilting lakes, building rain water harvesting plants etc. Manuvikasa ngo founder Mr. Ganpat Bhat says ‘’ We have successfully constructed more than 2500 farm ponds and water storage tanks because of which more than 600 acres of farmland has come under cultivation’’. Srikant Hegde an engineer and water conservationist says ‘’ I have helped install more than ten rain water harvesting plants in and around Sirsi’’ whereas, Mr. Srinivas Hebbar, President of Sirsi Jal Jeevan Karya Pade says ‘’we have spent around 12 lakh rupees for construction of new pond called Shankarhonda. This pond is fifteen feet wide and fifteen feet tall in size which can hold 300 litres of water every day and sustain the water needs of almost 3 lakh people. The water will be available post rainfall season without any problem and this will also help to charge ground water’’.
Authorities are trying at their level best to address this issue. Assistant Commissioner of Sirsi, Raju Mogaver says that ‘’ in my capacity as assistant commissioner, we had set up several workshops where police officers, locals and community representatives pitched their ideas towards water conservation. We then took up an individual project called Anehonda with the help of crowd funding ’’ Tahsildar of Siddapura Taluk Pattaraja Gowda says ‘’people have been giving us positive response about our anti-encroachment drive and they’ve started realising importance of water storage’’. Senior agriculture officer in Siddapura taluk, Mr. Prashant G.S says that ‘’ under Krishi Bhagya scheme, we are providing 80% subsidy for the construction of farm ponds, giving pipelines, teaching locals about water conservation techniques and guiding farmers to use green house construction from which they can grow high yielding farm. Through PM Kesari Yojana, we are creating vented dams and shallow wells so that we conserve soil and provide water for farmer’s drinking water and farming purposes’’.
Water is the most basic human right and everyone must have equal access to it. The water crisis in Siddapura Taluk can be countered by using and spreading awareness about basic water conservation techniques like building rain water harvesting plants, creating water storage tanks, building farm ponds and desilting, rejuvenating lakes to help water percolate in the form of groundwater.