In 2013 Kattakkada, located a few kilometers away from Thiruvananthapuram city, was found under semi-critical category in the water scarcity test which was conducted by a groundwater estimation committee that year.

This year the test showed that Kattakkada has moved to the safety category. This constituency was mostly water-starved during summers. However, it has now protected itself by conserving rainwater under the project- Jalasamrudhi (abundance of water).

Ponds for water conservation

This constituency has a total population of 2,27,540 with 122 panchayat wards and six grama panchayats- Kattakkada, Malayinkeezh, Maranallur, Pallichal, Vilappil and Vilavoorkkal.

Jalasamrudhi- The project

Jalasamrudhi was initiated by IB Sathish, MLA for the Kattakkada constituency. He wanted to address the problem of water scarcity and wanted this mission of his to be completely free from politics.

Art rallies were conducted with the theme of water conservation in each panchayat which gave the project attention and momentum.

This project launched in June 2016 implied the concept of storing rainwater and then releasing it back into the ground through gravitational force.

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Check dams

There were hardly any guidelines or proper rules for running this project. It was not even a government-funded project.

Some of the methods used for conserving water under this scheme were inland fishing in 50 ponds (which were earlier kept vacant or used as playgrounds), avoiding waterlogging through water storage, making the ponds broader, stream rejuvenation and recharging from quarry ponds.

In many institutions, including schools, artificial recharging was done using two pits that can recharge 16,000 liters of water over 100 rainy days. In almost 300 farm ponds 30,000 cubic liters of water was recharged for 100 rainy days.

The ponds made for the purpose of water conservation are being utilised for inland fishing, hence, providing a mode of income. Among other activities, temporary check dams were also constructed.

Schools played a major role

In schools, artificial recharging is done by storing the water in tubes situated at the top of the buildings which is then received by the wells. The wells were cleaned before the storing of rainwater started.

Water conservation rally led by IB Sathish

With this project, three teachers in schools were entrusted. They looked after the project at their school level. As a part of this project, water clubs have also been formed in school.

Two students were given the duty of looking after the running of the club in each school. In one school, in each panchayat, testing of water quality facilities has been set up.

Earlier, many schools with huge number of students used to pay around 1 lakh to the panchayats as the water bill.

IB Sathish said that schools were given the main spot in this project so that children can be educated about the importance of water crisis and how to tackle it.

The World Reconstruction Conference held in Geneva in May declared Jalasamrudhi as a noble model for water conservation.

The success of the project was not possible if it wasn’t for the coordination between Irrigation, Agriculture and Fisheries departments.

Sources: The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The News Minute

Image credits: Google Images

Find the blogger at @kumar_darshna


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