Meet 82-year-old Kere Kamegowda, who has single-handedly built 14 tanks to conserve water

Kere Kamegowda

The story of 82-year-old ecologist Kere Kamegowda is very extra-ordinary. If anyone traverses the Bengaluru-Malavalli-Kollegal Road to reach temples and hill stations of Chamarajanagar district, he will definitely get an opportunity to know this man’s contributions to the nature. Kere Kamegowda has single-handedly built 14 tanks in Kundinibetta.

Kere Kamegowda lives in the Dasanadoddi hamlet which is full of hattis (traditional makeshift house of shepherds). His journey to dig lakes began around 40 years ago. Till 2017, he had built six tanks, and between 2017 and 2018, he built eight more. He also constructed a small road to take earthmovers to the hill. His children still stay in the small hattis without any facilities, and graze sheep for their livelihood.

I would take sheep and goats to the hill to graze. Many a time, they would feel thirsty but there were no ponds for them to drink. Because of this, no wild animals can be found on this hill. So while my sheep grazed, I started digging the land. I would use a wooden stick at first. This gave me an idea about lake construction, said Kamegowda.

Though uneducated, Kere understands the technicalities of lake construction, and the flow of water. All the 14 lakes are interlinked. He even used the money he got from various awards to build more new lakes.