On 8th June 2013, thousands of citizens enthusiastically joined ‘Walk and talk’ led by Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar inspiring Bangaloreans to come forward and solve the water woes of the city by rejuvenating river Kumudvathi.
The Art of Living is leading this peoples’ project to rejuvenate the watershed of the Kumudvathi River, a beautiful tributary of the Arkavathi river, originating from the sacred hill of Shivagange in Karnataka, India.
This river that once supplied water to major potion of Bangalore since 1970, has been slowly drying up since 1998 worsening Bangalore city’s water woes. The main reasons being massive deforestation, eucalyptus plantation, sand mining and other side effects of rapid urbanization.
The June 8th, Saturday walkathon titled ‘Walk for Water, was led Sri Sri from the Mahatma Gandhi Statue on MG Road, wended its way via Queen’s Circle, Cubbon Park, KR Circle culminating at Freedom Park.
Addressing the gathering, the Art of Living founder said, “If Kumudvathi river is revived, Bangalore will be saved. Illegal sand mining should be stopped and people should be made aware of this. With our team of experts and scientists in the past two months springs in eight villages have been revived. I invite the citizens of Bangalore and the country to come forward and work towards saving water.”
Hosted by the Art of Living under the aegis of its campaign, ‘Volunteer for a Better India’, the walkathon led by Sri Sri witnessed participation from eminent people like freedom fighter HS Doreswamy, environmentalist Dr Yellappa Reddy, Gandhinagar corporator T Gopalakrishna and farmers of Kumudavathi basin and associated NGOs.
Nagaraj Gangoli, Kumudvathi revival project manager, said: “The Kumudvathi river rejuvenation plan is a three-year plan, envisaged under the ‘Volunteer for a Better India’ program, to revive this endangered waterway that could potentially address 60% of Bangalore’s water needs. In the past three months, 78 boulder checks, five recharge wells have been constructed and 17 kalyanis [ponds] have been cleaned and repaired by volunteers.”
The second phase of the project will focus on increasing green cover by planting 2,50,000 saplings of local variety trees in government and private lands covering all 288 villages at approximately 800 to 1,000 saplings per village. Planting of saplings will help in preventing soil erosion and retaining soil moisture in the river basin.
Volunteers dedicate their Sundays volunteering to work at the catchment area.
“After this work started, the gomalas [tanks for cattle], ingugundis [water recharge pit], and kalyanis have been constructed. Because of the ingugundis water in the kalyanis have increased and it is boosting the eco-system as there is more water for the birds and animals,” said a farmer from the Kumudvathi basin who took part in the walkathon.
The ‘Volunteer for a Better India’ movement is open to all. For details, phone numbers 08042133300 or 9916025348 can be called or an e-mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.