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Water crisis in Doddiganahalli

Doddiganahalli is a medium size village located in Mulbagal taluk of Kolar district, Karnataka. Successive failed monsoons and lack of water conservation systems in the village led to the drying up of open wells and drove the ground water beyond 1000 feet below the ground. The villagers were mostly dependent on supply from a borewell more than a kilometre away, pumped to a common point close to them.

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Indiscriminate extraction, aided by a lack of sharing structures (which exist for surface water distribution) has further depleted the groundwater and made this supply even more erratic. This has forced people in the village to depend on water tankers, a private mechanism that has evolved across India in response to the absence of reliable water supply from civic bodies. This, an expensive alternative, is a limited option for the poor.

There are two hamlets in Doddiganahalli; one is predominantly lower caste while the other is a mix of lower and upper castes.

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Jagdish, an unofficial village leader, in an effort to prevent a similar water crisis in the future and to revive existing water bodies, approached different people/organizations for ideas and support. One such organisation was Grama Vikas, a non-governmental organization that works on development of rural and tribal communities. Through Grama Vikas, he met Vishwanath also known as Zen Rainman, an influential practitioner and educator on sustainable water and sanitation.

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Just a year ago, this 100-year-old open well was dry and covered with silt. But, that changed when the community came together to revive the two old wells in the village with help from Vishwanath and Grama Vikas. As a reward for their effort, there were big rains within a month and both the wells started collecting water. It has been a year now and both the wells have sufficient water for essential needs.