Godavari sweeps past key barriers towards free flow

The Satsang Foundation’s mission to revive the perennial flow of the Godavari – the largest water system of peninsular India – has been progressing over the past few months.

Working steadily on the hydrological system feeding into the Godavari, the Aviral Godavari team has desilted six ancient kunds and one well with minor repairs being carried out as needed. Several of these kunds are already showing signs of revival, making water available to human settlements and wildlife on Brahmagiri, the source of the river. 

Parallelly, MyTree workshops have been carried out in 22 schools to enhance the students’ understanding of the importance of trees, and over 1,600 saplings have been distributed to students to manage and maintain for the sapling bank needed for greening the Brahmagiri in the next couple of years.

Towards the end of April 2024, stakeholders convened in Nashik to discuss multifaceted strategies for conservation and restoration of the Godavari’s ecology. Pre-monsoon preparations with a focus on safeguarding the de-silted kunds and initiating plastic waste removal programs were prioritised. Long term sustainability plans were drawn up for encouraging rainwater harvesting (My Water Bank) among the community in Trimbak and Nashik, organic waste management from temple offerings, and the phasing out of single-use plastics. Further water bodies were identified on which work will be carried out in collaboration with government authorities, other Trusts and NGOs, and corporate bodies.

Recognising the pivotal role of local residents in preserving natural habitats, plans have been made to involve them actively in plantation drives and in the upkeep of forested areas. The distribution of grow bags to those residing in higher elevations and installing plastic collection waste bins on the Brahmagiri mountain to support the Forest Department’s own cleaning efforts underscore the commitment to foster a culture of environmental responsibility at the grassroots level.

Putting Words to Action

Dr. Rajendra Singh’s presence in Nashik galvanised joint participation of the public and government bodies to work on active interventions in plastic waste removal, rejuvenation of existing water bodies and creation of new water recharge structures. 

Plogging for Progress

On 28 April 2024, a vibrant display of environmental stewardship unfolded through a plogging drive. Spearheaded by Bhargavi Mahila Sevabhavi Sanstha and students from Dr. Vasantrao Pawar Medical College, the event rallied over a hundred students and many more participants. Together, they combed through the environs beneath the Tapovan Bridge and Ramsrushti Garden, clearing accumulated waste and restoring the area’s pristine look. The Aviral Godavari team also addressed the gathering to inform them of the larger mission and the need for continued public action to protect the Godavari and its ecosystem.

Rejuvenation of Gangasagar Kund

Through centuries, the Gangasagar Kund has been a vital part of the flow of the Godavari and a major source of water supply to Trimbak town, home to the Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga and Nivruttinath Temple among other historic landmarks. The reservoir now faces challenges, threatening the town’s water security. Under the guidance of “Jal Purush” Dr. Rajendra Singh and steady support from the Trimbak Chief Officer and other key personnel, a team of women volunteers from Trimbak and the Aviral Godavari team from Nashik and around the country, cleaned out silt and waste materials from the bed of the Gangasagar Kund. The walls and steps of the kund were also strengthened using materials at hand to prevent their collapse in the future. The augmentation of water storage capacity and improved recharge channels will improve ground water recharge besides contributing to the flow of water into the Godavari.

Building of Loose Boulder Dams

Dr Rajendra Singh also guided local volunteers and the Aviral Godavari team in building two loose boulder dams (LBDs) to break the force of the water flowing down the Brahmagiri into the Ahilya, which meets the Godavari at Trimbakeshwar. The LBDs will allow time for the water to percolate into the ground. He pointed out different paths of the downstream surface flow that would contribute to the formation of the Godavari and explained how to identify locations for LBDs to be built in the future.

Joint Strategies and Collaborative Endeavours

On 29th April, the Aviral Godavari team met with senior government officials including the Collector-Nashik, the Conservator of Forests, Nashik (West), and the Chief Officer of Trimbak, along with Dr. Rajendra Singh. The team briefed the officials on the groundwork carried out under the Aviral Godavari Mission and expressed deep appreciation for the support received from them.

The team requested further support in demarcating forest lands accurately and permissions for tree plantation and grass cultivation. Additionally, identification of land for a sapling nursery was discussed.

In consonance with its efforts for a Plastic Waste Free Kumbh in Nashik (2027), the team plans to reduce single-use plastic bags by incrementally replacing them with reusable bags on Brahmagiri, in Trimbak and in Nashik through the BhoomiBag programme.  It also plans to carry out a campaign in schools for collection and reprocessing of plastic waste for waste-to-fuel via the MyBhoomi-SagarMitra partnership. Fittingly, the Trimbak CO expressed interest in having cloth bags replace single-use plastic bags during the Tuesday market day in town.

The deliberations underscored the importance of fostering synergies between government agencies, non-profit organizations and local communities to realise a shared vision of environmental stewardship.

Join the Mission!

The Godavari is the second-longest river of India and forms the third largest river basin, a lifeline for hundreds of millions of humans and billions of other beings. As we stand at the threshold of a greener tomorrow, the onus lies on each of us to play our part in safeguarding our natural heritage.

You too can support the Aviral Godavari Mission by actively volunteering, contributing funds to its projects, and raising resources to support the Mission.

Please send us an email at connect@satsang-foundation.org with an expression of your interest.

About The Satsang Foundation

The Satsang Foundation, founded by Sri M, is a meeting point for spiritual seekers of all persuasions. The Satsang Foundation also extends a helping hand to the less privileged of society.