Vellore: Several districts in Tamil Nadu have been facing a severe drought and calls for help to those in power seem to have yielded no results. These women in Vellore decided to take matters into own hands and revive what was once their primary source of water - the Naganadhi river.

Farmers’ organisation named Tamizhnadu Vivasayigal in an official statement said, “In the past four years, nearly 50% of Vellore’s agricultural labour has left behind farmlands for the city”.

The move comes after the people in Vellore are unable to sustain their livelihood.

Vellore was declared one of the 24 drought-hit districts in the state by the government and these women who belong to Salamanatham village, decided to do something about their lifestyle.

The women are registered as employees under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Act scheme (MNREGA).

They toiled hard to revive the long-lost river that was devoid of water for 19 long years. The women are also being assisted by the members of a foundation named ‘The Art of Living’ (AOL).

They have built as many as 36 recharge wells and 25 boulder checks. They are also using pebbles to help them save enough water by reducing the rainwater flow.

The flow of river does not just depend on the surface, the groundwater needs to be replenished as well. Rainwater must be allowed to filter into the soil and then flow of water would be facilitated, explained Chandrasekaran Kuppan, the director of the Naganadhi Rejuvenation Project that was launched in 2014.

The action plan to resuscitate the river was carved out by the members of the ‘Art of Living’ foundation. The organisation was assigned to the task of designing an implementation strategy considering the geology and geography of the region.

The foundation was assigned after they had successfully contributed to the revival of two rivers, namely Vedavathi and Kumudavathi respectively.

The Hindu reported that the women worked at all stages of the project, be it digging wells, placing cement rings and stones to finally closing the well with a cement lid.