A village in Nagaur district has set an example on the rational use of water. In Kumhari village, 12km from Nagaur, the ground water is saline and contains high fluoride.
As the ground water is unsuitable for drinking, villagers use the water of Ratan Sagar Talab (pond). During rains water gets collected in the pond and people use it throughout the year.
A villager, Qasim Khan (45), said this pond has not dried till date and is a very old pond.
The caretaker of this pond, Mohammad Akbar (68), speaking to Hindustan Times, said Kumhari has around 1,500 houses with a population of around 8,000 people. He said, “Only villagers of Kumhari are allowed to take water from this pond for drinking purposes. Villagers come and fill water in their pots. Cattle are not allowed to come here to drink water.”
He said villagers can fill water from the pond, which is free of cost, but if any villager wants to get the underground water filled with the pond water through tanker, then has to pay Rs 30 to the committee formed by the villagers for this pond.
Akbar said, “Each house in the village is allowed to get one-tanker of water from the pond in a month and the tanker charges Rs 200 per tanker. The family has to deposit Rs 30 to the committee and a slip is issued in the name of head of the family after making entry in the register. A part of the slip is given to the tanker driver, who deposits it to me then the tanker is allowed to fill water from the pond.”
The caretaker said water is given free of cost for marriages, to hospitals, mosques, temples etc. No garbage is dumped in nearby areas of the pond, he added. “Sometimes, stray cattle quenches its thirst and I don’t stop them, but it is very rare,” Akbar said.
The Ratan Sagar Talab is spread on 170 bighas and is protected from all sides with a wall and it has a gate too. No tanker can come and fill water without permission and if any tanker comes, then penalty of Rs 1,100 is taken. The gate is locked in the evening after sunset and opens for public at sunrise.
The money collected by the committee is used for paying salary to the caretaker and buy fodder for male goats, which are used for breeding purposes. In case of excess money left, new goats are purchased, Akbar said.