Chittoor creates 1.07 lakh farm ponds

Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh has made a name for itself by creating 1,07,000 farm ponds, the largest number in the country.   While it has commenced construction of rooftop rainwater harvesting structures atop government buildings, it has also constructed a large number of rainwater harvesting and bore well recharge structures on the ground, many of which have been recharged.

This was reported by Technical Officer (TO) – Mr. Sudhanshu Kumar Mohanty, Scientist-B, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), South Eastern Region (SER), Bhubaneswar; who visited four blocks of the district – Pakal, Pulicherla, Ramachandrapuram and Santhipuram between 3rd and 7th November, 2019; as a part of Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) – Phase II.

The TO also reported that in Pulicherla Mandal, the tanker water supply has been discontinued owing to the aquifer being fully recharged, enough to supply drinking water through bore wells. Further, the dried bore well recharge structures have been rejuvenated and this has helped increase water levels in the area, resulting in increase in crop production.  Also, the injection bore well structures have resulted in considerable rise in water levels and this has facilitated cultivation of double crops in a season, unlike the former practice of single crop each season.

Interventions during JSA as per Mandal administration data:

Sl Intervention Yet to start In progress Completed Total
1 Avenue Plantation 5 3 0 8
2 Boundary trenches 44 322 118 484
3 De-silting existing feeder channel 6 25 18 49
4 Digging of soak pits 12 128 14 154
5 Farm Ponds 66 198 77 341
6 Improvement of existing check dams 1 3 1 5
7 Fish ponds 0 0 1 1
8 Improvement of existing percolation tanks 0 0 1 1
9 Block Plantation 0 0 1 1
10 Homestead Plantation 17 114 392 523
11 Recharge of dried-up bore wells 8 13 0 21
12 Cattle ponds 6 3 0 9
13 MI Tank Peripheral trenches 2 0 0 2
14 Rain water harvesting structure 3 1 0 4
15 Horticulture Plantation 0 290 2 292
16 Silt Application 44 284 69 397
  Total 214 1384 694 2292

 Renovation of traditional tank:  Repair and renovation of Rayal Cheruvu, an ancient tank is one of JSA interventions under Renovation of Traditional and other Water bodies/Tanks.  The historical tank located in Ramachandrapuram Mandal built by the great ruler Krishna Devarayulu of Vijayanagaram dynasty has lost its past glory owing to silting and improper maintenance. Desilting, repair and renovation of this traditional tank will improve water holding capacity of the tank, resulting in increase of ground water levels in and around the tank. This will resolve drinking water issue and irrigation facility will be enhanced.

Recommendations for the district:

  • Intensive afforestation programme should be taken up in the 4 Mandals.
  • Regular maintenance of the structures is the need of the hour
  • Conjunctive use of surface water and ground water should be encouraged
  • Desilting of the existing water bodies will enhance water holding capacity of the tanks
  • While recharging through soak pits, focus should be given to quality
  • Water audit should be conducted in all villages
  • Construction of more roof-top rainwater harvesting structures, farm ponds, recharge of dried up bore wells, soak pits, etc., should be taken up immediately in villages where drinking water is supplied through tankers

Recommendations identified during JSA Phase II:

  1. Maintenance of the structures is compulsory after completion
  2. Impact assessment study is needed for outcome parameters
  3. Since renovation of traditional water bodies is not taken up under MGNREGA, necessary instructions in this regard may be issued so that traditional water bodies can be renovated
  4. Non-MGNREGA activities should also include JSA works
  5. Water quality in water bodies should be monitored before the onset of monsoon

 

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