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Dried-up Kotdwar Water Spring Gets New Lease of Life, Courtesy a Bunch of Spirited Youngsters

An industrial town, Kotdwar is one of the urban centres in Uttarakhand facing acute water shortage.

Anupam Trivedi | News18.com

Updated:July 18, 2019, 5:33 PM IST
Dried-up Kotdwar Water Spring Gets New Lease of Life, Courtesy a Bunch of Spirited Youngsters
The team, Wall of Kindness, has been doing its bit to conserve water resources in Uttarakhand. (Image: News18)

Dehradun: All it took to rejuvenate ‘Gavee Srot’ — a natural water spring on the outskirts of Kotdwar in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district — was a bunch of youngsters, 24 months of hard work and planting trees and a determination to save the water body.

An industrial town, Kotdwar is one of the urban centres in Uttarakhand facing acute water shortage. Groundwater is the primary source of water supply to the colonies in the town. On the outskirts, natural water springs fulfil the requirement of not just humans but also elephants and other wild animals of the Lansdowne forest division.

It all started in 2017 when Manoj Negi, a youngster working with a private bank, sought transfer from the national capital to his home town in Kotdwar. Negi said the pollution of New Delhi forced him to return to Kotdwar where he expected fresh breeze and water. However, he was in for a shock.

“Industrialisation has ruined Kotdwar, people are fighting over water. I discussed with like-minded friends if we can do something. We first picked up the water spring on the outskirts and I am happy that our hard work paid dividends,” Negi told News18.

When the team started work, there was hardly any water left in the spring. Using traditional knowledge, they dug up small holes to collect rain water and planted several saplings, which ensured return of water to the spring.

The banker’s group — Wall of Kindness — has about 20 members and they generate resources on their own to execute work.

After successfully transforming ‘Gavee Srot’, the next target was to dig ponds to collect rain water in the Lansdowne forest area. Lansdowne range falls in the elephant corridor and during that time, pachyderms had to scale long distances to quench their thirst.

“The idea was to raise the underground water level but digging ponds was as a stumbling block since we did not have funds. Managing resources was a challenge since it takes about Rs 10,000 to dig a pond. Luckily, a local contractor offered us an earth-moving machine for free,” he added.

According to a Niti Aayog report, only 3.5 per cent of 16,793 villages in Uttarakhand are dependent on natural springs for water. Another report of the state water supply body – Jal Sansthan – believes 666 water springs are on the verge of drying up.

In the last 19 years, the Uttarakhand government has spent nearly Rs 6,000 crore on various schemes to meet the water needs of locals. In such a scenario, it’s people like Negi and his team who are doing their bit to conserve water and water springs.

Members of the Wall of Kindness have now set their target for the coming months and are focused on cleaning River Kho — the lifeline of Kotdwar. Sapna Rauthan, a member of the group, said: “Kho is full of trash. It’s a herculean task to clean the choked river but we are hopeful.”

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