This documentation seeks to understand water and the various ways it is related to by the communities coming under the HUF-Samuha partnership title " Optimising agriculture returns and Enhancing climate adaptation through water conservation for canal irrigated paddy.
There is an old folk song still sung by some women, which sees the flow of water from village to village as the dance of Shiva and Parvati.
Folk Singer Parvathaiah Hiremath of Mandalagudda, sings " Gangadevi is the Mother of everything. When there is no water within the body, the soul dies. If one loses her mercy, the body "dies.
|Despite 65 years of independent India's expenditure on irrigation, more than 60% of our farms still rely on the rain gods. But those who don't tell their own story...|
of Mundargi village told us how he has cultivated
cotton using irrigation and has moved from being a dry
land farmer growing Bajra & Jowar. Today he is able to educated his
children - one of them has a job and he is building a
pucca house. Video in Kannada with
Another village: Galag used the natural ring of hills near it, built an embankment which even today irrigates 2000 hectares. Video in Kannada with english cards
The more prosperous farmers are quite happy. However some have started experiencing difficulties of getting into the cash based economy of agriculture.
Then we arrived at Piligund, a village in Deodurg taluka divided into two by the Narayanpur Right bank canal, build barely ten years ago, as the pile of rubble still divides the landscape.
|From the main
road, we entered the newer part of the village, relatively
smart and modern blocks, but with a long ridge of rubble
We witnessed a re-enactment of the first bath ritual, which pays obeisance to the springs, rivers as fountainhead of life. The site of the ferro cement water tank seemed a little incongruous culturally, but it is the reality. Though some activists pointed out that the reverential aspects particularly the manner in which the water pot was carried to the pooja site was not appropriate.
This woman for instance said that she has drunk water and offered pooja at over a dozen wells, most of which are now dysfunctional.
supply is now
mediated through government schemes, but alongwith
comes a cultural distancing from the old sources of
water as is reflected in the neglect of the
traditional wells, where
such rituals did take place. We seemed to
have abdicated our control and responsibility over water
to the Bill Collector
and the Water man.
The mini-water supply scheme sought to energise the bore wells and pump water to the highest ferro-cement tank, whose overflow went in pipes to the lower tanks.. thus the excessive overflows wastage when the pumps are on. Video with English Cards Kanada
Only 30% of the households avail of the piped water to their homes at Rs. 30 per month, plus a 1000 rupees installation. In return for which the government pays back loans to the World Bank and salaries of local officials. 70% of this sum should actually go to people like Narsannaa & Yellama, even if you calculated equality irrespective of class!
Most of the water schemes have been financed by the World Bank, where the loan conditions stipulate that the users must pay.
In this case people are asked to pay Rs. 30 a month for water at home.. Peanuts? Well early morning in piligund will tell you that
Women, Young girls, even men, trudge distances to carry 10 to 15 pots of water..
and they are all working people! Blues at Dawn in Piligund:
And the mini water scheme pumps up water at high rates by deepening the bore well to which they have connected the ferro-cement tanks.. they are always overflowing..
This brings with it the possibilities of florine in the water..
Some villages are waiting to get this new open tank, to get them filtered water..
But as Shivraj points out this enclosed tank was built on an earlier open tank, which recharged several wells in the area as well as provided grazing lands for cattle, and supported dry land farming .
|What do do we do as civil society?
PRA This is part of the PRA being conducted by Samuha workers to help villagers form take up a water vitalising programme.
Samuha has taken up a major programme, a combination of NPM (non-pesticide management) and SRI ( system of Rice intensification ) techniques to reduce the costs of agricultural inputs as well as reduce the usage of water.
|The other place we went to was BR
Forgotten Forests of Nagalapura
Just before B R Gudda, we passed by Nagalapura, a ghost village, but a site of hectic canal contruction and quarrying.
The local temple priest tells us that villagers fled this village for fear of wild animals. The site is now barren expanse created by quaryying and construction work on the canal. Construction and Development work seems to justify reckless destruction of habitat around rendering large areas forests into wastelands perhaps to cut costs. The farm lands of Nagalapura seem to have lost their catchment areas, their forests.. Any benefits??
It didnt have to be this way, had the bulldosers been more careful.. but who cares if there once were wild life and forest here?
people, with the help of Samuha now have done some NREGA
work to re-build the landscape
The two villages was an interesting watershed.. with hills in the south, supplying water to the rain fed crops.
Then came the canal..
One more canal is being constructed across Nagalapur. Local Farmers fear that more areas will get water logged, and in any case the farmers who done have irrigation, will not have access to the water.. even as their natural sources of ground water will get further depleted. To compensate for their losses, they demand that they be allowed to put pipes linked pumpsets and electricity to energise them.
It is only five years since farmers in irrigated lands of B R Gunda have shifted to Paddy cultivation. But their farming knowledge as also their food habits are in dry land agriculture. Farmers are able to talk about the various practices of mixed and inter-cropping in dry land farming.. but for paddy and cotton they go by what everybody else is doing.. which is perhaps what the agri input shops are selling..
Our red soil is prone to water logging. We get more price for our crops, but our expenditure is also more. Risks are also more.