DroughtproofiNg TechniQUES

Karnataka has some wonderful drought proofing practices that the country can be proud of. Sand mulching, which is widely practised in the black cotton soils of Koppal and surrounding districts, is one. Even with least rainfall these farmers manage to get a satisfactory yield.

In Hungund taluk of Karnataka, three generations of Nagarals have popularised a technique to grow 'arabaradagoo entaane bele' (meaning, 50 per cent crop even in half drought or full drought conditions). During the unprecedented drought of 2001 to 2003, the fact that many villages of Hungund were insulated by the effects of the drought is testimony to the efficiency of this technique.

Probably one important lesson a water journalist should keep in mind is that in drought-prone areas, if generations have been living there, they invariably should have innovated ways to combat drought and live with that. We need tactics, patience and time to identify, document and highlight such methods. Unfortunately, many such hands-on ideas remain in darkness or are being lost forever.

The movement of water is one that requires us to work for it all round the year. There is no discrimination in water activism. Each one, starting from the prime minister of the country, down to the faceless chaprasi has a role in it. This is for the simple reason that nobody could make a living sans water so far. Since there is a dearth of the right kind of information to lead the communities towards water sustainability, the role of water journalists has become all the more important.

Continue reading here: Nalaka Gunawardene and Manori Wijesekera

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