Mukti has launched a water conservation drive through pond renovation to permanently address the shortage of potable water crisis for the people of the Sunderban. The people of the Sunderban have to rely on deep tube wells for drinking water which are scarce in number and most of them become dry in hot summer. People have to rely on ponds. Installing new tube wells is not the solution to the drinking water problem. Water conservation by making people aware is the need in this crucial time.
Mukti has targeted to renovate 200 such ponds to restore rainwater. The work started the previous week and to date, Mukti has successfully renovated 12 ponds of Purba Sridharpur Samantapara. The pace of work has been somewhat hampered by the sudden onset of rains.
The objectives of Mukti in launching this drive are –
As a first step towards this objective, Mukti is thinking of reducing the cultivation of paddy and restoring the water in the ponds. Water from ponds will be available for village household chores, bathing and drinking water for cattle. Alternative rice cultivation can also be done with pond water. Where 1 kg of paddy requires about 35,000 liters of water, if farmers can cultivate other vegetables, their cost will be reduced and water will be saved.
If paddy is cultivated repeatedly in the same land every year then the soil loses its fertility and the ecological balance is disturbed. Cultivation of other vegetables instead of paddy will fix nitrogen in the soil, increase soil fertility and save a lot of water (including rainwater) which will make up for the shortage of drinking water in the Sunderban.
Mukti has started digging the pond for this purpose. The soil is being cut from the lock of the pond with a Poclain machine and it is being dumped at the edge of the pond. In the next phase, some beautification work will be done along the edge of the ponds – flower saplings, fruit trees will be planted and fish will be farmed in the ponds from where villagers will be able to earn a livelihood.