The people of an Indian village that was facing an unbearable water shortage saved themselves by coming together to revive a dead river. In just 70 days, a 700 strong team of determined men and woman dredged the waters of the Kuttemperoor river in south Kerala by removing the plastic, pollutants and debris that had accumulated over many years. All fish and other aquatic life had disappeared from the river, but thanks to these efforts it is now bright and clean for its entire 12km length. Children are even playing on its green banks again, much to the delight of the residents who worked so hard during the clean-up.
The Kuttemperoor is a tributary that connects to a larger river system, and it is crucial for the villagers in this region. The head of the village explained: “When the water scarcity turned unbearable we decided to revive the river. Initially many discouraged us saying it was a waste of money and energy. But we proved them all wrong.” Sanal Kumar, a volunteer who worked on the project added: “Once we removed all waste the river started recharging on its own, and on the 45th day the flow started.” State PWD minister G Sudhakaran also praised the villagers for coming together. “It shows that if there is a will there is a way. Cutting across political leanings and other disagreements, they all united on a single common goal to realise this dream.”