“There are flood and drought over the eyes and in the mouth, dead water and dead sand contending for the upper hand. The parched eviscerate soil gapes at the vanity of toil, laughs without mirth. This is the death of the earth.” ~ T. S. Eliot
Vijayapura, a district in Karnataka, has suffered drought for long.
Known formerly as Bijapur, it was a prosperous city during the Adil Shahi era. However, after the decline of the Adil Shahi dynasty, it lost much of its sheen and remained backward mainly due to the lack of a permanent source of water. The lakes built during the Adil Shahi era and later had dried up because of inadequate rainfall and insufficient flow of water in the catchment area.
However, things are now looking up for this historic city due to the efforts of Dr. M. B. Patil.
He’s the Minister for Water Resources and Vijayapura District In-charge Minister in the incumbent Karnataka government. A large number of lakes of the districts are now being filled with water from the Krisha River. This has brought big cheer to the people of Vijayapura district and given them new hope.
A new concept had to be developed to revive the socio-environmental and economic landscape of the region. This concept developed in a private college, however, would go a long way in being adopted across the state and nation.
When Dr. M. B. Patil embarked on this mission around 2006-2007, he knew that it was not going to be an easy task.
The designs of the project were initially conceived at BLDEA’s V.P. Dr. P.G. Halakatti College of Engineering and Technology, a college run by BLDEA (Bijapur Liberal District Education Association), which is headed by Dr. M. B. Patil.
Most of the lakes had accumulated silt and dried up. Silt had to be removed and water had to be brought from the Krishna River by laying pipelines for several kilometres.
The Karnataka government announced the Vijayapura lake filling project in the budget speech of 2013-14. This was followed by preparation of DPRs, administrative approvals, tendering and implementation of works in quick succession.
In a display of exemplary commitment, the entire project was implemented in less than two years and 60 lakes of Vijayapura district now receive water from the Krishna River.
The rejuvenated lakes include major and historic lakes such as Mamadapura, Begum Talab, Babaleshwar, Sarawada, Tidagundi and Bhutanal lakes. The project was dedicated to the nation on Dec 22, 2016 at Begum Talab by Sri Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka.
In addition to these 60 lakes, projects related to 33 lakes are in various stages of completion.
And a proposal for filling 47 lakes has received approval at the board meeting of KBJNL (Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited), a corporation under the Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of Karnataka. Projects related to filling the remaining lakes of the total 204 lakes of Vijayapura district will be taken up in the next phase.
The Karnataka Government has paid attention to the water requirements of the rest of the state too. Projects related to filling up more than 1,300 lakes are in various stages of approval and implementation in other districts of the state such as Ballary, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Tumakuru, Hassan, Ramanagara and Mandya.
Besides addressing the drinking water needs of people and livestock in the villages surrounding these lakes, the filled lakes will also help to recharge the depleting groundwater. This initiative provides a new dimension to sustainable use of water, in a more responsible manner.
Kudos to everyone involved in this project and proving to the world that where there’s a will, there’s a way.