Two river rejuvenation projects recently brought up the hopes of Bangaloreans suffering from water scarcity. One takes the approach of copying the “Thames” model with an estimated investment of Rs 22 Crores. The British High commissioner has expressed his interest in the project and has promised to raise money internationally to fund the program. It took 15 years to rid Thames river of industrial effluents feeding into it. Arkavati river too will become a source of drinking water to the city of Bangalore in a few years if money survives being siphoned away.
The second initiative was launched six months earlier under the auspices of the Volunteer for a Better Indian (VBI) movement. This initiative will revive the now dried up Kumudvati river that once supplied drinking water to 200+ villages around Bangalore. Over 2000 volunteers have already started working in villages, in and around the river basin, spearheaded by Geological scientist Dr. Lingaraju Yale and his team. The goal is to build 2000 percolation pits, planting of 30000 saplings of local trees known to retain ground water by with the help of volunteers and villagers.
Dr Lingaraja attributes his confidence about the 3 year goal to many facets of the project, namely, Village Level Planning, integrations in micro and mini watersheds, awareness drives among the farmers, implementation of recharge structures, increasing vegetation cover, and motivating people to adopt horticultural plantation for water conservation. Motivated village youth are being trained to involve the villagers on the project. Overseas support wing of VBI is gathering teh support of patriotic NRIs towards the effort of training village youth leaders. Many NRIs want to see positive progress in their places of nativity. Upcoming meeting in Milpitas between interested NRIs and the main architect of the VBI program will take place this Saturday.