The micro ring check dam built by Nitile Mahabaleshwara Bhat
The micro ring check dam built by Nitile Mahabaleshwara Bhat

Kasaragod to emulate design of Dakshina Kannada farmer’s check dam

Officials of the Kasaragod Development Package and those implementing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the border district in Kerala have decided to replicate the model of a micro ring check dam built by Nitile Mahabaleshwara Bhat in Kodapadavu village, around 5km from Vittal in Dakshina Kannada. Inspired by Bhat’s design, officials in Kasaragod launched a project to build 3,000 micro ring check dams, of which 600 are slated for completion this year, 284 of which are very close to the finish line of the execution cycle.

Special officer for Kasaragod Development Package EP Rajamohan pointed out that nine of the 44 rivers flowing through Kerala crisscrossed the border district. “In addition to these big rivers, there are three smaller ones and 650 streams. But Kasaragod is still plagued by acute water shortage, and there are no big dams here,” Rajamohan told TOI.

He said that the initiative to build micro check dams was part of an overarching plan to put an end, once and for all, to the persisting problem of water shortage in Kasaragod. “We were inspired by the initiatives undertaken by the local farmers of Dakshina Kannada. Editor of ‘Adike Patrike’ Shree Padre, helped a team of our engineers visit Bhat’s farm,” said Rajamohan, adding that construction of a single ring-shaped check dam cost approximately Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.

What makes Bhat’s design easy to emulate is the minimal resources it requires. A concrete ring is laid across the stream, while an iron shutter helps store water. The administration in Kasaragod is hoping, in the course of execution of the project, to replace the wooden bridges in the district.

A modest Bhat said that his innovation was driven by necessity. “To visit my plantation, I had to cross a stream near my house, and construction of a bridge would have cost Rs 1.5 lakh. So, in 2008, I had a two-foot concrete ring with a diameter of eight feet placed across the stream. When Shree Padre launched his campaign for traditional check dams – kattas – I added an iron sheet with gunny beading at the edges, which served as a gate and helped recharge the groundwater aquifers. Many locals replicated the design,” he said.

Shree Padre said, “This low-cost method can be replicated across the country since it is ideal for small streams fewer than 3m wide,” he said.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Times of India

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