When Rayalaseema is generally known for perennial drought and parched throats, Kadapa district situated in its heartland has shown the way in retaining every drop in the ground.
The district bagged the prestigious No.1 slot in the south zone under the ‘2nd National Water Awards’ announced by the Jal Shakti Ministry’s Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation for the year 2019.
The citation presented by Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat mentioned the commendable efforts in the area of water conservation and management. State Rural Development commissioner Girija Shankar and union Jal Shakti Abhiyan’s nodal officer Suresh Kumar appreciated the district Collector Ch. Hari Kiran for the accomplishment, who in turn credited the district water management agency and ground water department.
The district was known to have received deficit rainfall during the last seven years, which had a cascading effect on the cropping acreage in the ensuing Kharif season. As a result, the farmers had to dug more borewells to safeguard their standing crops. Notwithstanding the sprouting of 5000 to 8000 new borewells every year, around 25% of the older ones turned dry. According to statistics available, ground water level dipped from 9.15 metres to 19.33 metres from Oct 2001 to Nov 2019. Similarly, the water table witnessed a steady fall in the seven of the last eleven years viz., 2009-10 to 2019-20.
To tide over the situation, the district administration roped in geologists and water conservationists to build artificial water storage structures and got tank beds desilted to ensure better percolation. “In all, 289 check dams, 912 water storage tanks and 17583 farm ponds were built and 108.90 lakh cubic metre of silt removed during the year 2018-19. These apart, drip and sprinkler irrigation were promoted in a big way”, says the Collector Ch. Hari Kiran. The district ensured recharge of a whopping 3.57 TMC of water through the various structures this year. 31994 acres of land was brought under cultivation, thanks to water recharge in 12797 bore wells. Also, 45.961 TMC has been stored through major projects like Telugu Ganga, Galeru Nagari and KC Canal, which indirectly helped recharge 65888 bore wells, benefiting cultivation in 1.64 lakh acres.
The best part was the use of technology. As many as 1,21,857 works were geo-tagged to ensure transparency and accountability, which included 52890 rain water harvesting structures, 23765 under renovation of traditional resources, 10823 on recharge structures, 28410 under watershed development and 5969 under intensive afforestation.