HUBBALLI: Twenty-five years after they shot to fame by building the country’s first private barrage across River Krishna at Chikkapadasalagi in Jamakhandi taluk of Bagalkot district, the farmers of Krishna basin have now achieved another milestone.
The farmers, under the banner Krishna Teera Raith Sangh, have successfully implemented the `10-crore Barrage-filling Project, said to be the country’s first.
The farmers have lifted 2 tmcft of water from the downstream backwaters of the Almatti dam and stored it in the upstream Chikkapadasalagi barrage to save their standing crops.
Faced with a severe water shortage during summer, the farmers conceived the project, arranged the manpower and material and implemented it successfully to save their sugarcane and other crops.
Though the state government had announced an aid of `10 crore after realising the project’s usefulness, the funds are yet to be released.
“We were forced to think of this project as farmers were suffering a huge loss of crops every year due to the shortage of water in the barrage between February and May. The reason was doubling of the area under irrigation in the command area of the barrage from 30,000 acres to 65,000 acres in just two-and-a-half decades,” Jamakhandi MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, the brain behind the project, told Express.
“The state government has spent nearly `10 crore in the past few years to get water from Maharashtra during summer. That money can be saved now with our project being successful,” Nyamagouda said.
Twenty-five years ago it was Nyamagouda who had motivated farmers to build the barrage, which went down into the pages of history as the country’s first private barrage.
Once the idea struck home, the farmers along with Nyamagouda worked on it for almost a year.
Details like the availability of water for lifting, necessary machinery, cost of the project, among other things, were worked on meticulously before taking up the work.
Knowing that things move at a snail’s pace at the government level, the farmers, like in the past, decided to implement it on their own.
Accordingly, they collected `15,000 each from 4,500 farmers who depend on barrage water for irrigation and started work on the project.
“We first increased the height of the barrage to 9.75 metres to store the additional 2 tmcft of water. Then, we installed as many as 27 customised 100 HP pumps, each with a discharge capacity of 26 lakh litres per hour. These pumps were supplied by Flowmore, an American company with an office in New Delhi.
“If these pumps work for 23 hours a day, they can lift 0.05 tmc ft of water, and at this rate, we will be able to lift nearly around 2 tmcft of water by mid-February,” Nyamagouda said.
To a query, he said lifting of water would stop as and when the gates of downstream Galagali barrage are closed.