Why a centuries-old solution for Karnataka’s water woes is drowning in neglect

The Honnasetti Halli village tank that was revived by villagers in Kolar district. Photos: Rohan Ramesh

Just before monsoon was to hit Karnataka, in the scorching heat of the summer of 2021, villagers in Honnasetti Halli village of Mulbagal Taluk in Kolar district knew something had to be done to ensure that when the skies begin to pour, their village tank is prepared to store the water. With rainfall remaining scanty in the region and the tank being their only source of water for all needs, from irrigation to completing household chores, something had to be done — and done quickly. Years of silting had rendered the tank incapable of holding water. The sluice gate was damaged and the bunds needed immediate fixing.

Not doing anything would have meant losing out on the opportunity to store water for round-the-year requirements. So, the villagers came together and for over two months worked as a group to make the tank monsoon-ready.

“The whole village got together like one big family and put differences aside. The working population in the village worked as a team to desilt this tank. The whole day we worked on the tank. We planned together, worked together, ate together and only went to our houses when it was nightfall and time to sleep,” Subramani, a villager who worked on the revival of the tank, tells The Federal, adding that while the men worked at fixing the tank, the women cooked for everyone.

With all the hard work put together, Honnasetti Halli tank is now flowing with water.

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