April 30, 2002  

Inspiration for the day

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Gopalakrishnan and Vijayalakshmi, ‘Sarang’, Attappadi.

Former schoolteachers Gopalakrishnan and Vijayalakshmi, who resigned their jobs in search of better teaching alternatives, have done it again.  They have, by their water conservation efforts, given birth to a stream in their 20-acre land ‘Sarang’ at Attappadi.

Attappadi with its barren hills posed stiff challenge to them when they migrated there initially.  They had to bring water from the valleys to irrigate the crops and meet household needs.  So for conservation of water they created water pits throughout their land.  From the initial 15 acres of land in their possession, they let Nature grow its own vegetation and trees in 14 acres.  Only the balance 1 acre they used for cultivation.

With the water pits and the dry leaves from the vegetation acting as a sponge, the water recharge of the soil improved.  Even in their cultivated land, the soil was not tilled or disturbed.  Mulching with green leaves alone was done.

With all these efforts at water conservation, a small brook, which had disappeared years ago, reappeared in their land.

That was a day of rejoicing for the couple.

They then constructed 4 check dams in this stream.  Without using cement, borrowing from the technique employed by adivasis for constructing walls, they did these structures.

Woven bamboo mats kept in two layers 60 cm apart across the stream form the basic structure of the ‘Goda’ check dam.  The inner space between the bamboo walls is filled with earth and the outer faces are plastered with mud.  On top of it they plant saplings of Illi, Eetta and Ama.

Within one year this living check dam becomes strong enough to withstand any flood. 

The 'Goda' Checkdam with overflow section.  Sample Bamboo mat lying by the side.


Courtesy: M.George, Karshakasree, February 2002

Contributed by: Administrator


" That which was too bitter to endure may be sweet to remember later. "