Sri Sri Ravi Shankar inspects Vedavathi Rejuvenation project sites

Chikmagalur: While most of Karnataka is going dry and the Cauvery remains embroiled in a dispute, hope is emerging from Vedavathi river basins in Chikmagalur, Hassan, and Chitradurga. The water landscape of the three districts has been changing with The Art of Living’s Vedavathi River Rejuvenation Project.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Wednesday visited the sites in and around Chikmagalur. He met and shared the joy of the farmers and village folk who have already started benefiting from the ongoing project, which began in 2013. Gurudev applauded the project coordinators and volunteers who have worked to build a network of 6,786 recharge structures while ensuring community participation.

Thamme Gowda, a farmer from Birenhalli village in Chikmagalur who had no water in
his borewell for 10 years, said, “After the Art of Living built recharge structures in the
vicinity of my farm, water has risen from 450 feet to 30 feet. Now, I’m able to make a
profit of Rs. 1.5 to 2.5 lakh compared to the previous Rs. 30-40,000 because I can now
grow many crops.”

During his interaction with farmers, local officials and media, Gurudev emphasized the
need to grow trees such as neem, banyan, kadamba and peepal which attract rains
instead of eucalyptus and acacia trees that deplete huge amounts of groundwater. He
added that he did not favor denotification of lakes and even the smallest of water bodies
needs to be conserved.

The afforestation activities and construction of recharge structures for Vedavathi River
Rejuvenation Project have been done using an integrated and scientific approach
involving geohydrologists, remote sensing experts, and volunteers from various
communities in Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, and Hassan.

Mrs. B Chaitrashree, President of Chikmagalur’s Zilla Parishad, said, “I am happy about
this initiative by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar which will help farmers. We are already
witnessing a revival in water levels because of the rejuvenation efforts.”
Mr. Revanna, the Chief Executive Officer of Kadur Taluka commending the ongoing
project, said, “This is an excellent project, which is especially relevant now because we
haven’t had rains in the past three years. If we do not do this work, then there is no life
for future generations.”

Dr. Lingaraju Yale, Director of The Art of Living’s River Rejuvenation Projects,
explained that the rejuvenation process is the result of thorough scientific planning.
“We slow down the flow of rainwater at the source of rivers and allow it to percolate into
the ground through our boulder checks and recharge wells. Through remote sensing,
fractures in the earth’s crust are identified and injection wells are built to increase the
groundwater levels,” he said.

“This technology should be shared with all,” Gurudev shared while addressing media
persons in Chikmagalur. “To resolve the Cauvery dispute, we should rejuvenate rivers in Tamil Nadu and that’s why we have taken this river rejuvenation technology to Tamil Nadu,” he added.
In 2015, The Art of Living started the Naganadhi river rejuvenation project in Tamil
Nadu and results have started coming in.

Gurudev’s visit to the Vedavathi River Rejuvenation sites has provided further impetus
for the completion of the project, which is expected to benefit 15 lakh people. During the visit, he led the ‘Water Warriors March’ in Chikmagalur which was joined by MLAs, farmers, and volunteers. The March ended with everyone present taking an oath to stop polluting water resources, to optimally utilize water, to plant trees and harvest rain Water.

After his visit to Vedavathi basin, Gurudev will inspect and review Kumudavathi river rejuvenation work on Thursday. The Art of Living is currently working on reviving 30 rivers across India.