Amaravati, Nov 11 (PTI): Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh has topped the country in water conservation and bagged the national award under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan for the year 2019.
The award, instituted by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, was presented by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday.
Kadapa topped the list with 84.84 marks followed by Sangareddy in Telangana with 77.75 and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu with 69.79.
Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) is a time-bound campaign taken up on a mission mode approach to improve conditions in around 1,500 blocks in 255 districts across the country that are drought-affected, water stressed or over-exploited.
Of these, 23 are aspirational districts.
In Andhra Pradesh, 68 mandals (blocks) in nine districts were chosen for JSA activities.
In Kadapa, it was taken up in 13 blocks with activities like watershed development, water conservation and rainwater harvesting, reuse and recharge structures, intensive afforestation and renovation of traditional and other water bodies, according to district Collector Ch Harikiran.
'We have taken up some of these works under MGNREGP (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme) and also separately. In all, 2,17,860 works were taken up in the first phase between July 1 and September 15, 2019,' senior IAS officer Suresh Kumar, the Central Nodal Officer for JSA, told PTI.
He said Krishi Vigyan Melas were organised in which over 3.
72 lakh farmers participated, where they were sensitised on water conservation methods.
We had also undertaken an extensive IEC (information, education and communication) campaign by engaging members of the women self-help groups, conducting essay-writing competitions for students, organising focused group discussions among stakeholders and kala jathas (cultural shows),' he said.
This ensured active involvement of people in water conservation as water is a precious commodity in a district like Kadapa, he said.
Kumar hoped the JSA would help improve the water-table in the parched district and help it overcome the crisis as the conservation efforts begin to yield fruit in the coming seasons.
Groundwater-level in the district depleted from 9.15 metres in 2001 to 19.33 m in 2019.
Thanks to JSA, the groundwater has been recharged to an extent of 3.57 tmcft this year. PTI DBV NVG NVG