BANGALORE: The lessons from the work on ecological restoration of River Papagni catchment area is likely to be the basis of the “plan of action on land and water management” for the revival of Arkavathy.
The ecological restoration of the Papagni catchment area spread over parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh was initiated a few years ago under the aegis of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES).
Like Arkavathy, Papagni too originates in the Nandi Hill range.
In Papagni’s catchment area running through Bagepalli, Chintamani, Shidlaghatta, Madenapally and Chitoor among others, local communities have been mobilised to take on the responsibility for the check dams, and keep vigil against hacking (tree felling), unhindered grazing and fires.
FES’ efforts in co-ordination with the governments in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are said to have brought in perceptible changes.
The ground water table is recharged, vegetation has increased and there is sufficient fodder for the livestock, it is learnt.
According to Yellappa Reddy, environmentalist and member of FES, what is envisaged is a similar “intensive land management and rejuvenation of the hydrological regimes” in the Arkavathy catchment area.
Speaking to the Express on Friday - a day after elected representatives and members of some NGOs embarked on a ‘Save Arkavathy’ padayatra along the Nandi Hills to Thippegondanahalli belt of Arkavathy, Reddy said that “a basic format” of this action plan is ready. In his own words, it is about “simple civil engineering and simple interventions - the creation of micro-watershed areas in the from of check dams”.
Micro-watershed projects will provide moisture-enough to reinvigorate the old root stock in the Arkavathy catchment area; it is essentially saying that Arkavathy revival can even do without extensive tree plantation, he said.
Further, he noted that as against the 200 mm to 300 mm annual rainfall in the Papagni catchment area, the Arkvathy belt receives 800 mm to 900 mm.
Much of this rainfall is limited to a hard-sell 60 rainy days of which only 20 days accounts for rains with surface run off.
The task is all about reviving the natural rain harvest measures for these 20 days, he said.
Arkavathy's glorious past
On Friday, the Save Arkavathy padayatra moved from Dodballapur to Hessarghatta.
The Hessarghatta tank fed by River Arkavathy was the original drinking water sou rce for Bangalore.
Though sapped of water, the feeder channels of the tank are said to be in tact.
Researchers in the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) located in Hessarghatta note that such was Arkavathy’s connection with the local people that the names of a few common vegetables and flowers begin with the syllable ‘arka’.