“In most villages, children wake up and get ready for school. That’s the first action item in the morning. But in Ramnad district, Tamil Nadu, things are a little different. Children wake up and walk long distances to fetch water before they do anything else for the day - this is because the area faces a water crisis, especially in the summer months. Even pregnant women have to stand in long queues to fetch a pail of water - which is often not enough. Everyone, including farmers and their livestock suffer as a result of water unavailability. The agony on their faces is painful to watch.” - Nimal Raghavan
Nimal is a climate change activist who works across India on soil and water conservation and tree planting projects. Nimal has so far revived 142 dead water bodies, benefiting over 50 lakh people in 3,200-plus villages, with farmers and fishermen constituting the majority of beneficiaries. He has also launched massive afforestation activities across India, with 16 lakhs of saplings planted thus far.
“Most of our wells are dry, and we are experiencing a severe water crisis in most regions of India, particularly in rural areas. This is primarily due to poor recharging of groundwater. Reviving water bodies improves groundwater recharge and prevents saltwater intrusion and also avoids floods.” - Nimal
Ramnad is one of the driest regions in the country. The saddest part is that people are used to the water crisis. They are accustomed to spending most of their time waiting to fetch water. Though most areas of Tamil Nadu have better access to water now, things have not changed for the better in Ramnad. Lack of access to water is synonymous with lack of access to education and health; it affects the entire community's upliftment.
To bring about a change, Nimal and his team have identified six dormant water bodies in Mangalanathan Kanmai, Kottakudi, Kenikarai, Pandukudi, Paambu and Ervaadi in Ramnad that can be restored. They were chosen because the locals had already tried rehabilitating them in the past to no avail, and now have approached them to help complete the project.
Nimal and team will focus on desilting the lake area, connecting inlets and outlets, constructing and strengthening lake boundaries, preventing saltwater intrusion, water treatment, and constructing recharging pits. In addition, introducing native species plants in the restored water bodies and the lake islands created on the water bodies will help restore the entire ecosystem.
They also plan to plant saplings and palm seeds on the lake boundaries.
“There is a saying in Tamil - ‘Neerindri amaiyaadhu ulagu’ which loosely translates to ‘There is no life without water’. No living being, be it humans or animals or plants can survive without adequate water. Water conservation is the only way we can move forward as a civilization, there are no two ways about it. But to conserve water, we need to restore water bodies that have been languishing in terrible conditions. I have dedicated my life to this cause,” says Nimal who is also a recipient of Better India’s Water Warrior award.To restore lakes Nanban Foundation, Mothers for Mother Nature, USA is sponsoring Nimal and team with an excavator. But that isn’t enough for such a massive project - they are now looking for donors who can help them meet the fuel charges, labour charges, material expenses, costs of buying one extra excavator and other miscellaneous charges.
“We have the will to undertake this project, and the confidence that these lakes will be restored. What we lack is funds. It is a huge exercise - which is both labour and capital intensive. We will need to do a thorough job so that this can yield returns, and impact lakhs of people, especially farmers. We need your help to do this. Without the support of the community, we cannot go ahead and make this a success. Please help us save these water bodies.”- Nimal
With your support, Nimal can make sure that the people of Ramnad have better access to water. Click here to contribute.
Charity No : 319201431163