Hiriyur, Chitradurga, Karnataka. Till the lakes, ponds, rivers and other surface water bodies were under the maintenance of the villagers, it was looked after well. There was accountability among the villagers and the farming was done according to the availability of water, no cash crops or water-intensive crops. Once the Minor Irrigation Dept took over the water bodies, the locals were forbidden to do anything with the lakes or any watershed activities such as check dams as it was the responsibility of the government. The irrigation department had bureaucrats who had very little or no knowledge of the water bodies who were responsible for it and it soon fell into disrepair. This brought the need for large dams and canals, which did not help the cause. We have 5000 large dams completed and 430 dams under construction in India, with Maharashtra leading the way with over 2300 dams. We know the situation Maharashtra is in today.

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