Water harvesting

Water scarcity is a common problem during the past 10 years both for irrigation and household consumption due to lack of sufficient rains, rapid growth of population and water pollution.  Decrease in rainfall has been caused due to deforestation and global warming.  But fortunately these years that is past 5 years the governments, NGOs and individual farmers have realised the importance and relationship between the green cover and the rainfall and have been planting trees in a big way, which may take 15 years to give good results.  Hence it is very important that we conserve and use water very cautiously.  We should all think before we use water.  After independence Mahatma Gandhiji was with Shri. Jawaharlal Nehru for some important work.  Shri. Nehru was pouring water from a jug to Mahatma to wash his hands before supper.  Since both of them were engaged in an important discussion, all the water was wasted without washing hands.  Then Shri Nehru was to get another jug of water, but Mahatmaji preferred fasting for having wasted a jug of water and said this could come to my memory in future not to waste water.  In my own experience I have learnt a lesson to use water from housewife.  It was 13 years ago I had been to Kittur, in Belgaum District, North Karnataka, where there was water scarcity those days itself, to address a farmers meet.  I  was to stay with a family.  The house wife gave me half a bucket of water (about 8 litres) and requested me have bath with only that water.  I thought seriously and managed to have bath with that much water only.  Since then I use only 8 litres of water for my bath.

If you concentrate your mind while using water it is possible you can save lot of water in any work.  I cannot forget a saddest event in my life when a mother was angry with her 10 year old daughter for having drunk more water without saving for her brother.  Still if all of us make a sincere effort to conserve water at its source and use it very carefully the situation would not be very bad.

Atleast more than 60% of the rainwater is flowing away into the sea, this is because due to lack of ground cover and obstruction from vegetation on land.  By growing more and more trees and bushes we can encourage more infiltration of water into the soil, so that it will be available to crops and also enrich underground water storage.  Instead of facing total or partial crop failures due to lack of water it is better to grow trees at least on 1/3rd of their total land holding on higher elevations and collect water into farm ponds, so that they can use this water for raising nurseries, grow some vegetables and fruit trees around the ponds, providing water for their livestock and provide protective irrigation during the times of distress.  Rising fish is also possible if the water is available for 200 days in the farm ponds.  Building contour bunds and canals to conserve and collect excess water into the farm ponds, so as to enhance sub-soil water level in the land.

Growing trees on bunds and edges with some fodder shrubs and provide, green manure, fodder, fruits, fuel, timber and money, while helping to conserve water and top soil, providing shelter for birds, which would feed on insects and fertilize the land.  The trees would also check evaporation from wind and sun and create micro-climate in and around the farm by the action of transpiration.  Digging shallow trenches and bowls among the tress and various crops can also arrest water from runoff.  Mulching both with live mulch (growing some creepers and dwarf bushes among the crops) can save lot of water from evaporation and also provide insulation to soil organisms against heat and cold.  Adapting organic farming enhances soil carbon content resulting in more retention of water from deep infiltration beyond root zone and also evaporation.  Avoiding burning or throwing way the crop residues and incorporating them into the land will increase soil carbon content and encourages water conservation.  Row planting and sowing across the contour and creating furrows among the rows can also retain more water from runoff.  Growing vegetables and fruit trees (at least for 3-4 years) around a water filled pitcher with 3-4-2 mm holes and buried upto the neck can also save lot of water than surface irrigation.

We have exploited underground water just in 20 years that was collected during thousands of years to grow crops for luxuries and not crops for food and clothing.  Should we encourage to grow sugarcane and tobacco.  According to my thinking and knowledge sugar cane cultivation is, mostly to supply molasses for liquor industries than sugar production.

If we are really concerned about our future generation and our own future let us cultivate the habit of adapting a simple lifestyle and protect the environment and bio-diversity.  Even our food habits have narrowed down the diversity in crop cultivation from around 20 species to 3 species like wheat, rice and maize all of them necessitating more external high cost inputs and also huge volume of water and energy which do not exit in plenty.  We have to research and cultivate varieties of tubers which can grown naturally and also search drought resistant micro millets.  Let us not be dragged behind the western chariots in the name of development and get suffocated and wounded beyond recovery.

Mr. L. Narayana Reddy


Via Maralena Halli

Hanabe P.O.

Doddaballapura Taluk – 561203

P : (C:080) 7651360


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