World Water Day - Time to get water wise

Published: Friday 21 March 2014

How can we chart a course that could lead to a water future which would be sustainable? Sunita Narain offers some insight
Author: Sunita Narain
It was only in March 2013 that the drought crippling large parts of Maharashtra finally grabbed the nation’s attention. The region had been reeling under water scarcity for two years – by 2013, agriculture was severely hit, as was industrial output. Maharashtra is no stranger to droughts. In the 1970s, the state had initiated the country’s first employment guarantee programme to provide drought relief. But the drought of 2013 was different. It brought home the fact that a state can suffer the consequences of increasing variability of rainfall if it mismanages its water. Maharashtra’s drought is a reminder of what awaits India in its water future.
When communities take the lead
Thousands of people working under NREGS bring a 38 km stream back from the dead in Uttar Pradesh
Author: Jitendra
Thirty nine-year-old Ram Ishwar gave up farming to pull a rickshaw outside the railway station in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur town. He says scarcity of water and a resultant increase in the cost of irrigation rendered farming unprofitable. Wheat production from his 0.4 hectare (ha) farmland shrank from one tonne to half a tonne in a harvesting season. However, a unique initiative to revive the Sasur Khaderi-2 rivulet in Fatehpur district has given a ray of hope to the many small farmland owners like Ishwar in the district who were forced to quit farming.
A farmer in Madhya Pradesh uses discarded saline bottles to irrigate fields
Author: Kundan Pandey
Drip irrigation is a water-efficient means of irrigating fields in drought-prone areas. The infrastructure it requires often proves expensive for small farmers. Now Ramesh Parmar, a small farmer in Rotala village in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, has devised a simple, inexpensive and effective way of drip irrigating crops. The 33-year-old could earlier cultivate only 1.5 bigha (1 bigha = 0.167 hectare) of the 60 bighas he owned due to severe water scarcity. With his new system, involving the use of a few saline bottles, a small water tank and a bucket, Parmar can conveniently irrigate his fields.
With help from a non-profit, graziers reinvent a soil conservation practice, turn into thriving farmers
Author: Jitendra
Moolchand looks up after piling a stack of his wheat harvest, wipes sweat from his face, and smiles. “Harvests are more compared to last year and I will be busy till the wheat reaches my house,” he says. The 63-year-old farmer from Nivera village in Rajasthan’s Karauli district points towards a low cement structure across the dried stream Karaiwahada, and says, “this pagaraa has changed my life. There was a kuchcha pagaraa here 10 years ago but we could harvest only a third of what we do now.” Moolchand then gets busy making a machaan (tree-house) where he will stay the night to guard the harvest against wild animals. He has harvested seven tonnes from his 1.2-hectare farm. Asking his son Kuber to look after the grain, Moolchand says, “Earlier, we were completely dependent on cattle rearing.
With about 4 per cent of the water resources of the world, India should have been a water-adequate nation. However, in 2011 India turned into a water-stressed nation, according to experts. Let us have a look at what caused this stress and what steps need to be taken to bring India back to water-adequacy
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Industry – Global
Wetlands – Global


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