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The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, November 24 2013 9:00 PM UTC +00:00
£46
pledged of £5,000pledged of £5,000 goal
3
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, November 24 2013 9:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

Suranga are a little known and understood indigenous technology that provide clean water for drinking and irrigation to some of the most vulnerable and poor people of the Western Ghats of India. This local adaptive technology is being lost as less efficient modern techniques of water collection replace them. This film aims to document this knowledge and water wisdom before it is lost to the World.

Bodies are cleansed by water; the mind is purified by truth. Manu

The Western Ghats of India are famed for their beauty and biodiversity, brought about in part by the climate dominated by the South Western Monsoon. Unknown to many a burgeoning population of poor but adaptive farmers live on the undulating slopes of the fore hills facing the duel pressures of population increase and climate change that threaten subsistence based livelihoods. Suranga are a local adaptive strategy to seasonal water scarcity providing drinking water and irrigation water to these vulnerable people throughout the year. They are used alongside dug wells and farm ponds.

Two Suranga builders working on a live build
Two Suranga builders working on a live build

 The suranga are tunnel systems that tap into ground waters. They are constructed by local labourers, sometimes under the supervision of local experts, in the red laterite soils. If unwisely selected, these tunnels can be prone to collapse, but normally the water sourced from these is considered to be sweet and pure and more often than not favoured over other sources of water.

Bhat family, farmers who own many suranga and have done so for almost three generations
Bhat family, farmers who own many suranga and have done so for almost three generations

Over time the government has provided financial incentives for farmers to use bore well technology introduced during the green revolution, whereas traditional techniques like suranga building are ignored. In some locations farmers are starting to neglect their traditional water harvesting techniques to use this often over-extractive bore well technology leading to critical ground water shortage in many places of southern Karnataka and northern Kerala where suranga are mainly found. This film aims to show that suranga, as part of a broader water harvesting strategy if managed correctly can provide more sustainable groundwater supplies.

Sudhir (PhD researcher) & Shree Padre a local Water Journalist & Activist, another one of our contacts in that region
Sudhir (PhD researcher) & Shree Padre a local Water Journalist & Activist, another one of our contacts in that region

 The suranga are not only good to humans, but they also provide a new habitat to species, such as crabs, spiders, millipedes, bats, porcupine, boar and snakes. Some of these species may be unique and so this film may capture new species. We have on board an Indian bat expert who will explore the importance of this man made habitat to bats. We will also seek the advice of a snake expert to avoid the venomous snakes that frequent the areas around suranga such as King Cobra.

King Cobra, highly venomous
King Cobra, highly venomous

The aim of this documentary is to highlight the tremendous work that local farmers do to protect their livelihoods using suranga that to date are poorly known and understood. The filming of their testimonies will aid the democratic process in India by giving a voice to those that until now have either been ignored or just plain forgotten about.

Some of the tools used to build a suranga
Some of the tools used to build a suranga

Why We Need Your Backing

This story is important because if the suranga story is not told now it may well be forgotten. We the filmmakers have spent the last several months investing time initially in producing a short film called Water Harvesters of the Western Ghats (link below) that was based on early fieldwork in the regions. The film was a success and was screened at the 2013 Voices from the Water film festival and conference simultaneously in Bangalore India and Stockholm Sweden this autumn.  We now want to take the filming a stage further by providing greater depth to our story by shooting a feature length documentary into the lives of suranga builders and users. Your backing will aid us in the following:

  • Physical Production (Jabs, Equipment, Transportation, Guides, Translators, Accommodations within India, etc.)
  • Post-Production (Sound-mixing, Color Correction, CGI Graphics, Titles & Sub titles, etc.)
  • Distribution (DVD printing, Festival Entry Fees, Educational Materials, Advertising etc.)

Other Ways to Support:

Here are other ways you can also support us:

·Spread the word – word of mouth is the best advertising so please tell others

·Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surangawater?fref=ts

·Twitter: @surangawater

·Suranga website and blog: http://suranga.co.uk

Our teaser Water Harvesters of the Western Ghats has been screened at the Voices from the Water - film festival, screened in India and Sweden:

Future Projects: 

The filming of this documentary will hopefully lead to further full length documentaries based in this part of southern India. There are ambitions amongst our team to provide the first international expose on the Endosulfan scandal in Kerala and Karnataka that has affected the health of local farmers and led to a major legal case similar in scale to the Bhopal disaster in India. This would be very high impact. We have collaboration with some of the major activists fighting the government for compensation for these farmers for loss of livelihood caused by malformation and death of family members

Risks and challenges

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge of this film, or any film based on such a large issue, is how to present an objective view of water scarcity in this part of the Western Ghats.

We need to be sensitive to issues of poverty and caste to ensure that the films narrative explores all peoples’ views. This story is one that is full of so many rich and fascinating tales of everyday extraordinary commitment and behaviour and we have to stay true to them.

Indeed we are excited by the challenge if a little nervous about the claustrophobic and dark conditions that we will be filming under. The climate will be a challenge to equipment and health for all of us.

The film team include an Indian national, a Bangladeshi national and two Lilly white Brits. We are diverse but not diverse enough to cope with the numerous languages and cultures that we will be exposed to. Thus, we are highly dependent on seeking the aid of local guides and translators. We are fortunate to already have many of these in place, but they all need remuneration to compensate them for their loss of income from other means.

Our trip involves several obstacles and challenges. We are travelling to India in January, obstacles may occur before we even leave the shores of the UK with possible severe weather conditions affecting flights and transport infrastructure. We also face uncertainties of weather conditions in India. We have however, chosen January as it is in the dry season. However, extreme heat may affect us and some of the production processes.

We have a list of many subjects in India we want to meet and interview for the documentary. However, these people are spread out widely across the region we are travelling to. We hope to meet them all but for unforeseen reasons on some occasions we may be unable to meet with them, we have contingencies in place and a back up list of subjects we can interview.

We promise to constantly reflect on and re-evaluate our work with a critical eye, and we will be asking the wonderful people of this part of southern India to critique us throughout the entire filming process. Together as a team, that we hope you become part of, we can produce a film that will have a tremendous positive impact on a wide array of vulnerable people.

Thank you so much for checking out our page! From the bottom of our hearts, we really appreciate your support

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Funding period

- (29 days)