A group of villagers from Malakpur in Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh, India are trying to breathe new life into Katha, a 150-km long river which is dead now. With help from a local scientist, farmers are leading the effort to turn a one kilometre stretch of the barren riverbed into a lake.
People from dozens of villages have started digging the river bed to level the surface, and plan to tap nearby water sources to feed it.
The self-made engineering plan is to put up check dams to harvest monsoon water along the one kilometre stretch of the river bed which is 5-40 feet deep. At present, in the absence of check dams, it flows into the Yamuna. Over the last two weeks the villagers have launched a “one house, one pot” water donation movement.
Prof. Umar Saif who leads the initiative, says Katha earlier used to flow between Saharanpur and Rampur but it died in 1830 when East Yamuna came into being, using a 60 kilometre area.