Water harvesting

Monday 31 May 1999

Participants from five countries, including India, discuss ways to improve water harvesting systems

EXPERTS from China, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Nepal reviewed their respective government's policies on water harvesting in the Himalayan region at a workshop at International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (icimod), Kathmandu, on the March 14-16, 1999. Attended by academicians, researchers, government officials, grassroots functionaries and beneficiaries of water harvesting programmes, the central theme of the workshop was to identify ways to improve water harvesting systems in the mountainous areas of the Hindukush-Himalayan region. Delegates called upon various governments to work with the people and modify their policies to facilitate community participation in designing policies related to water harvesting systems. From the papers presented at the workshop, it was obvious that none of the participating countries, except China, had adequate programmes to promote water harvesting systems in the Himalayan regions of their country.

Participants also called for institutional mechanisms which not only recognise the existence of local community institutions, but also decentralise power. The participants urged for a redefinition of the role of the government to suit decentralised governance, promotion of technologies based on local knowledge, and review of water pricing policies.

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