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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Living: Case-40: CONSERVE WATER FOR A BETTER LIFE!

Have you read, “Mayhem of the Miserables!” available @


K Venkata Mallaiah is a resident of Seetharampuram Village in Gundala Mandal of Nalgonda district. He led an impoverished life even though he owns seven acres of land, because six acres were dry, half an acre was fallow and only half an acre was fit for growing paddy. He sunk a borewell to 250 feet in his field but it failed and there was not a drop of water.

The NGO, SHARP, initiated watershed activities in collaboration with APRLP in the village. They formed self-help groups and user groups in the village. Under NRM activities check dams, flood control bunds and stone bunds were constructed.

K Venkata Mallaiah gave half an acre for the construction of a percolation tank. It was 295 feet long, 12 feet wide and 6 feet high. This percolation tank cost only Rs.22, 000. It was constructed in 20 to 25 days using a 15-person labour force. A similar percolation tank, if constructed as per the Panchayat Raj Engineer’s estimates would have cost Rs.1 lakh.

After the construction of the percolation tank K Venkata Mallaiah’s land became irrigated. The borewell generated water. He is able to cultivate paddy on one and a half acres and cotton and red gram on five acres. The yield from the paddy in the rabi and kharif seasons together is 50 quintals and 10 quintals of cotton and 4 quintals of red gram are produced. He also grows vegetables in summer.

Though this percolation tank has been constructed in K Venkata Mallaiah’s field it helps not only him but other farmers in the command area too. Earlier, floods would have damaged the crops, but now this percolation tank stops all the runoff water and facilitates groundwater percolation. Thus 10 borewells downstream have been replenished with adequate water and 40 additional acres of land can now be irrigated.  The small farmers – B Chandrayya, D Narsayya, K Beerayya, A Narsayya, B Mallamma, K Veerayya,

K Venkata Mallaiah, D Mallayya, D Abbayya, J Uppalayya – who have lands adjacent to K Venkata Mallaiah’s field have also benefited.  K Venkata Mallaiah’s wife Sattemma joined the Ganesh self-help group. She too saves regularly every month. With a loan from the APRLP Revolving Fund she has purchased a buffalo and 4 bulls, and repays the loan every month. The couple now has a secure future because they have an assured livelihood.

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