- The river bed is almost dry before the rains come.
- Then comes a great flood, often causing damage.
- Too much rain, and most is wasted and stored.
For the last two months, the river seemed to have disappeared, and people were walking on the dry, sandy bed. In the middle was the river, a small stream a few yards wide, in which people washed their clothes and boys bathed. but two weeks ago the rains came heavily, and poured down for days without stopping. Then the river returned to its place, coming down with force as if to drive away the people who were using its ancient channel. Now it is a broad, brown current over two hundred yards wide, carrying along floating wood and all kinds of unexpected objects. Down comes a mass of branches, showing that a large tree has been torn up by the roots. Here is the straw-covered roof of some peasant’s house, and, near it, the body of an unfortunate goat. When the river rises in its strength, nothing is safe.
It is now a hundred yards from where we are standing to the place where the dhobi used to beat his clothes on a stone in the month of April. Between the stone and us, the current seems to boil and swirl, breaking into many little currents. Only a few weeks ago, this place appeared dry and sandy enough to absorb all the rain in the world. What a great waste of precious water is going on now! The time will once more come when the ground is dry and the animals are: thirsty, and the crops are withering for want of rain. When that time. comes, the unreliable river will perhaps have failed us again.
It made to work, the river can be a great friend to the cultivation. He can carry large boats, drive mill-wheels, and can even make electricity. Millions of units of electric power are being wasted as the flooded waters sweep pas enough to do the work of many factories and to illuminate the dark streets of cities and villages. It is y possible, however, to store up the waters in big tanks, so that it is there to draw out for the fields when the crops need it.
The river is the life of the land. It is not by accident that so many towns and villages are built upon its banks. But for the river, there would be no agriculture, with all the people in the vicinity make their living by some form of work on the land. At present, he is like an untrained and irregular servant. Someday this may be put right.
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