Hill villages stare at drought as water sources dry up

Hill villages stare at drought as water sources dry up
The Chaitravahini river as seen from Manchuchal.
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Chittarikkal, Kasaragod: The farming sector in Kasaragod district is facing a crisis as rainfall has reduced and the northwest monsoon (Thulavarsham) is yet to pick up. The hilly areas, which generally face a water shortage, are bearing the brunt. Villages in the hills, which share borders with the woods, were rich in water earlier. However, with greenery on the wane, the areas fear drought. Some of the border villages are already facing shortage of drinking water.

Even though water bodies in the hills are drying up early, the authorities have not moved to adopt any preventive measures, despite the drought in previous years.

Dykes needed

Water should be stored in water bodies as an important measure to face a drought. Dykes can be built across small streams and rivers to keep the water from flowing away.

In a few instances people have built dykes on their own, realising the need for water preservation. Locally they are made with sacks filled with sand, placed across streams. Some panchayats have also utilised workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) scheme to build them. Such storages could even overflow in summer.

Rain ponds to harvest monsoon showers were dug up by panchayats and NREGA workers in the hilly areas even before the monsoon set in. Subsequently, wells were recharged. Farmers hope that all these will benefit them in the summer.

Lack of timely action

The authorities are making no serious effort to organise drinking water schemes utilising the available water sources. Several dykes in villages, on which lakhs of rupees have been spent, are useless as they don't have proper shutters, and water is just wasted away. No one bothers to do any maintenance work on them.

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