Arkavathy Community Dissemination Workshop on 20th October, 2016

To disseminate the outcomes of the research in the Arkavathy basin that was carried out under the project titled "Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds (ACCUWa)", ATREE organized a workshop on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at the Art of Living Hall at Doddaballapura town in Bangalore rural district. The workshop was part of the continuous dialogue with the community that the team has carried out throughout the study using a single question as the focus: “Why has river Arkavathy dried up?”

The workshop was attended by community leaders involved in Arkavathy and Kumudvathi river rejuvenation initiative (AKNPS), farmer leaders, farmers who are experimenting with water-efficient agriculture and organic farming, farmers who were part of our participatory ground water monitoring (PGWM) network, volunteers of Arkavathy rejuvenation campaign, and journalists.

On behalf of the ACCUWa project team, Sharachchandra Lele presented the analysis of trends in river flows, rainfall, temperature, cropping pattern, and ground water extraction in last three decades for Thippagondahalli catchment, and how they are interlinked. After much discussion and clarification, most of the participants agreed with the finding of the research that over-extraction of ground water and cultivation of eucalyptus trees that consume a lot of groundwater are the main causes of the problem, and not any decrease in rainfall or encroachment of water bodies or river channels.

The ACCUWa presentation also covered the case of domestic water scarcity in Nelamangala town. This town is totally dependant on groundwater for domestic purposes, and per capita availability is much lower than the standard of 70 LPCD. At the same time, industries in Peenya, a part of Bangalore city that is hardly 18km away from Nelamangala, get 2 MLD of surface water from Cauvery. Even if Nelamangala gets half MLD of this water it could of great help to this town. Participants from Kumudvathi, Doddaballapura and Nelamangla area shared that the industries in their area are extracting more ground water and also polluting water bodies. They said that they will take up these issues soon and fight for the rights.

This was followed by the presentation of a water-budget at the milli-watershed scale, using the Hadonahalli milli-watershed as an example. The budgeting exercise showed that current water use exceeded rainfall, especially in the bad years. This led to a discussion on what measures can be taken to address this overuse. Some of the farmers shared their experience of managing water efficiently in their farm by adopting alternative crop and irrigation plan and also focusing more on agriculture allied activities than growing water intensive crops. They said it is possible to economically sustain without exploiting ground water. But the group as a whole expressed for the need for developing a series of agronomic packages to help farmers to maintain livelihoods while reducing water consumption.

There was more discussion on who will change the scenario? What is the role of farmers and the government? Can the government in support the farmers in changing the farming practice? The ACCUWa team explained how there is lack of coordination among different agencies working in the basin. If a multi-tiered basin level institution can be set up with substantial community involvement, that might address some of this problem.

The workshop concluded with the decision of working together to address the issue. Three different Kannada dailies carried news reports on the workshop.

List of workshop participants:

SN Name Address
1 Nagaraj Bachhahalli Ex-Gram Panchayat Chairman, Hadonahalli
2 Venkataraju Doddaballapura Abhivriddhi Samithi
3 Ramu Jogihalli Director, Nemmadi, Nelamangala
4 Doddi Shivaram AKNPS, Bengaluru
5 Ganganna, Nelamangala Organic Farmer
6 Byatha Muniraju Farmer from Banglore north
7 Nagesh Nelamangala Organic farmer, Nelamangala
8 Balekayi Nagaraj Kumudvathi Committee chairman, Nelamangala
9 Lakkappa AKNPS member
10 Mahadeva PGWM member, Chikkatumakuru
11 Ravikumar Melekote Farmer, Jackfruit growers association
12 Prabha KS Supporter, AKNPS
13 Basavaraju Hesaraghatta Farmer, Fisherman Association, Hesaraghatta
14 Lakshmi, Doddaballapura Doddaballapura Abhivriddhi Samithi
15 N Lokesh SMG PGWM member, SM Gollahalli
16 Shivanna Aralumallige PGWM member, Aralumallige
17 Ravi Prakash Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resource Management, Bangalore, Bangalore
18 Veerashekhar Swamy DHM Ground water specialist, Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resource Management, Bangalore
19 Mr. Ravi Hydrologist, Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resource Management, Bangalore
20 Lakshmegowda Kuntanahalli Organic farmer
21 Manjunatha PGM from Dombarahalli
22 Rohith Yuvashakthi Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Yuvashakthi
23 Giri Rangaiah Rajaghatta Farmer
24 M C Raju Farmer, Marahalli
25 Kanthalakshmi Farmer, Organic farmer
26 Cheluvamurthy Challahalli
27 Nagaraj H Farmer, Ex GP chairman, Hadonahalli
28 Lohith Thumakuru
29 NM Nataraj Journalist, Doddaballapura
30 C Nataraju Journalist Doddaballapura, Nagadala member, AKNPS Volunteer
31 Madhu Hadonahalli Soil site
32 S Nataraj Doddaballapura Abhivriddhi Samithi
33 Manjunatha Outreach Consultant, ATREE
34 Janardhana K Consultant ATREE
34 Chidananda murthy M Consultant ATREE
35 Kumar D S ATREE
36 Dr. Sharachchandra Lele ATREE
37 Dr. Veena Srinivasan ATREE
38 Dr. Bejoy Thomas ATREE