holy waterCommunity Documentation of Water

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...

To Deodurg Taluka, Irrigation has come during the
                living memory of most farmers. In this PRA, villagers
                first recount the changes that have taken place since
                canal came to this village. Then we have farmers from
                three different villages telling us what impact this has
                one farmers.Thammana of Mundargi village told us how he has cultivated cotton using irrigation and has moved from being a dry land farmer growing BajraKwajbi & 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 english cards

 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.

Now a Samuha project seeks to rationalise use of
                water through a multidimensional programme,
                Non-Pesticidal Management of Paddy

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 as background.
pooja pot We witnessed a re-enactment of the first bath ritual, which pays obeisance to the springs, rivers as fountainhead of lifeThe 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. 
Video English
This woman for instance said that she has drunk water and offered pooja at over a dozen wells, most of which are now dysfunctional. 

Water supply is npi-domestic-waterow 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
But who pays?    Video in Kannada 
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 mThe tank which will bye pass themust 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 in piligunda
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.
narsanna's cottoncotton  ffs

B R GUDDA .. to the extreme west of the District..

The other place we went to was BR Gudda..Nagalapura
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?

Local people, with the help of Samuha now have done some NREGA work to re-build the landscapeNREGA works
The two villages was an interesting watershed.. with hills in the south, supplying water to the rain fed crops.

BR-Nagalapur Watershed

Then came the canal..

9A Canal will make it worse- Nagalapur farmers

9A cuts throught heier watershed
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.
From Dry Dry to Wet Land PRactices

From Dry Land to Wet Land Practices - Blind Gambit

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.

Song4       song2       I cannot come
Standing at the granitic formations near the Gabbur temple, folk singer
exhorts the people of Raichur..

Parvathaiah Hiremath of Mandalagudda
Hiremath    song9 hiremath

Functioning of Farmer Field Schools