March 27, 2018
After successful implementation of Rejuvenation Projects for over 35 rivers and tributaries in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamilnadu, The Art of Living in association with Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR), Department of Karnataka launched the Cauvery River Rejuvenation Project in Kodagu. Phase one of this project is expected to benefit 1.5 lakh people in 10 gram panchayats.
Speaking at the inauguration in Bhagamandala, where the river originates, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “Both government and civil society should come together to protect rivers,” and advised the locals to safeguard the catchment area of the river by planting locally suitable trees, cleaning even the smallest of streams and avoiding construction of big structures in the area.
He was joined by the MP of Mysore and Coorg, Mr. Pratap Simha and KG Bopiah, MLA of Virajpet. The MP while reiterating his complete support for the project, said, “Kodagu is an ecologically sensitive area which needs to be protected and I welcome The Art of Living’s initiative which will restore ecological balance.”
The Art of Living works with a team of hydrogeologists and experts in ISRO, IISC, geotechnical groups and IT groups who have prepared a comprehensive Watershed Management Program. They will provide infrastructure and mobilize the people of the area through capacity building measures such as meditation programs, skill development and leadership trainings to work for the implementation of the project. The first phase will see the construction of 751 water recharge structures across the district.
With a majority of the districts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu depending on Cauvery water for irrigation, and Bengaluru getting most of its water supply from this river, directors of the project are hopeful that this solution will help make more water available in the states where distribution of Cauvery’s water has been complicated.
The organisation has already started the Tamil Nadu side of the Cauvery Basin river rejuvenation activities in Kaushika and Noyyal tributaries. Kumudavati and Vedavati Rejuvenation Projects in Karnataka are benefitting 2 million people in Karnataka. Naga Gowda, a farmer from Chikmagalur says “I earn a profit of Rs. 1.5 to 2.5 Lakh now from growing betel leaves and vegetables. Earlier, because of lack of water, I used to grow ragi and groundnut, which used to fetch me only Rs. 20,000 to 30,000.”