Mission Paani: Rooftop harvesting to reviving ponds, how India's communities are conserving water
Rural communities in some of the drought-prone areas have shown the world that community effort and respect for the natural resource is necessary for conservation
India has seen continuous decrement in various ground and surface water resources, according to reports over the past decade, with government and international agencies mulling various ways on how to mitigate this issue.
While many water-preservation techniques across the globe depend on good infrastructure and governmental support, rural communities in some of the most drought-prone areas have shown the world that it also needs community effort and respect for the natural resource.
Here are some communities in India that quenched the thirst of their people with the help of traditional systems:
1. Reviving Ponds - Bundelkhand
A community leader from Chaudhary Kheda village, Ganga Rajput mobilised women from her area to revive a pond that was built in ancient times, during the Chandela Kings’ rule. The community was suffering deeply in the drought-prone region. She formulated Jal Saheli (women friend of water) and they work on harvesting (collecting rainwater in the pond during monsoon) and preservation techniques.
2. Watershed management- Ahmad Nagar
It used to be one of Maharashtra’s most drought-hit region in the 1990s. The community members brainstormed and the best solution turned out to be something naturally available in their geography. On account of their slope, they could maintain and create watersheds that would collect water in the monsoons and keep the villagers thirst-free for the rest of the year.
3. Rooftop harvesting – Northeast India
The lush green states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura have many streams of clear, mineralised water. However, most of the tribal communities had to move downhill in search of water around their settlements. In these tribes, women led an initiative to harvest rainwater, which is very ample in this region.
4. Ruza - Mizoram
This traditional method of rainwater harvesting is used in Mizoram, specifically for farming. As they are a hilly region, water quickly slides down the hill and they cannot use it. So, they use catchments between hilly slopes to store the water and then use bamboo pipes to transport it to their farms.
5. Chowka- Laporiya
In one of the driest states of the country, Rajasthan, there is a small village which is no longer affected by the drought that plagues its state. Around 350 families from the village have been working for the past 30 years to create Chowka which is a system of small, interconnected, sloping rectangular pits, nine inches deep, and made in pasture land. They have so much water now that they even share it with over ten neighbouring villages.
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Mission Paani: Delhi govt's Yamuna water conservation project appears feasible, but needs nod of NGT, farmers
Plans are afoot to conserve water in the 22-kilometre Yamuna floodplain stretch — starting from Palla, where the river enters Delhi, to the other end in Wazirabad — to tide over the looming water crisis.
The Maharashtra government is mulling to develop a state-wide water supply grid, on the lines of Gujarat, to tide over the problem of its scarcity and for equitable distribution of water.
India is endowed with a wide variety of terrains and topographies.