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Kudos to Karnataka: Receives incentive from Centre for emerging as top performer in managing rural drinking water scheme - Roundup of the week’s news (April 1-7, 2013)

Karnataka emerges as top performer in managing rural drinking water schemes

Karnataka was ranked as the top performer among 28 states which were evaluated on their performance in the implementation of rural drinking water schemes based on Management Devolution Index. For this it has received an incentive of Rs. 241.1 crore from the Union government.

Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra secured second and third places,respectively, and got Rs. 182.1 crore and Rs. 114.29 crore as incentive. Three states — Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Jammu and Kashmir — received no incentive.

States adopt new version of National Water Policy

Prime Minister sought to allay fears by saying the Centre has no intention to encroach on the states rights on water management. States adopt the new version and also want their demands to be addressed. Maharashtra demands planning of basins to deal with water shortages, Karnataka a permanent water dispute tribunal, Punjab opposes establishment of a water regulatory authority and Haryana advocates for setting up of national fund for water conservation.

Maharashtra dam up for reconsideration despite being rejected

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) reconsiders its clearance for the controversial Kalu Dam in Thane district, Maharashtra, which was rejected last year because of its location in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats. Work on the project had begun before all legal requirements were in place.

Rainwater harvesting in IIM-K meets water demand

Even as many parts of the country reel under water scarcity, Indian Institute of Management, Kozikhode’s rainwater harvesting system almost entirely fulfills the water demand of the campus. The hill-top campus of the institute has neither independent water source nor a water pipeline connection.

Water woes in the country

A photo feature of protests and campaigns against water scarcity that has gripped the nation

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Drought of 2013: The story of Maharashtra’s water woes - Roundup of the week’s news (March 25 - 31, 2013)

 Drought of 2013: The story of Maharashtra’s water woes

Present drought situation in Maharashtra is hydrologically worse than in 1972. Construction of large dams, water intensive cropping patterns, neglect of local water systems and unaccountable water management are to blame for this unprecedented situation. A former planning commissioner agrees that large dams are not the solution to Maharashtra’s water worries.

In spite of acute water scarcity, politicians in Solapur district divert water from dams to run sugar factories. Water business booms in drought-hit Marathwada as tanker owners transact Rs.6 million in water sales daily in Jalna town, Maharashtra. The state must look at renewable energy options to reduce its dependence on thermal plants and diversion of its precious water to them. In comparison with the 1972 drought, though there is ample supply of food grains at present, the drinking water scarcity is much worse. A video gives a more effective coverage on the situation in the state, reeling under a severe drought.

Drought effects in Gujarat

Gujarat villages are facing severe scarcity of water, fodder & food. Even eligible bachelors are left high and dry as marriage alliances break in drought hit Amreli district as parents refuse to send their daughters to water scarce villages

Gujarat irrigation & drainage bill passed by the governor

Despite protests, Gujarat governor clears the state irrigation and drainage bill that will require farmers to obtain license to dig borewells deeper than prescribed norms. The bill puts restrictions on the farmers but does not restrict the industries from using the water resources of the state. 

Green litigation widens its scope

Violations of green norms and clearances can be appealed against by any citizen and not just someone directly or indirectly affected by a project, states the National Green Tribunal. The tribunal also puts in mandatory obligations on the government and project developers to disclose details of clearances.

Miracle workers :Turning a desert into a forest

A Belgian man and an Indian woman painstakingly build a farm from an absolute barren land in the outskirts of Pondicherry, creating soil purely out of dry leaves, transforming the arid, useless land into rich, green, vegetation.

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Revised National Food Security Bill, 2013: Seeks to ensure access to adequate quantity of quality food, at affordable prices - Roundup of the week’s news (March 18- 24, 2013)

Revised National Food Security Bill 2013: A summary

The revised national security bill, 2013, seeks to provide for food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices so people can live a life with dignity. Its 3 schedules include prescribed issue prices, nutritional standards and various provisions for advancing food security. The bill gives legal entitlement to 67 per cent population (including 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban) for subsidised grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)

Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court for directions

The State government moved the Supreme Court for a direction to the Ministry of Water Resources to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) before the last week of April to effectively implement the final Order of the Cauvery Tribunal during the ensuing irrigation season.

Debate on water privatization

Water privatization is against the constitution, says Justice Rajinder Sachar at a conference, criticizing the Delhi Government’s move to undertake three public-private partnership projects in the city. However the Delhi Jal Board vehemently opposes the use of the word privatization, saying that since it will retain control of water treatment plants and other infrastructure, it is only outsourcing work that is necessary to bring efficiency into the system.

Review of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), 2013

States & Union territories physical & finanacial performance under the NRDWP in 2013 and the good practices they adopted were reviewed during a national consultaion by the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

Water scarcity to hit Bangalore in a big way

The supply of drinking water in Mysore, Mandya, Ramanagaram and Bangalore is expected to worsen in the coming weeks as the water-level at the Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir (KRS) near Srirangapatna has reached ‘dead storage’ level.

Wall of water: A public art event creates awareness in Odhisa

Hundreds of people including eminent artists and students, painted their concerns on the dwindling valuable resource of water on a 500-feet-long wall in Bhubaneshwar in Odisha.The event stressed on the possibility of a war-like situation between individuals, families, states and countries if water scarcity is not stemmed in the near future.

Giving water back to the earth

An organic farmer in Rampur taluk, Kolar, has refilled a dried borewell in his farm with harvested rainwater instead of depending on groundwater for irrigation. His farm has a pit to collect water at one end, while a dried-up borewell connected through a pipe that helps refill the ground water is on the other end.

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Evaluating groundwater reforms in India based on administrability, equity, and sustainability - A research paper in Texas International Law Journal

This paper in Texas International Law Journal evaluates groundwater reforms in India based on three criteria: administrability, equity and sustainability.

The paper starts with a brief introduction on the over dependence on groundwater in the country for various purposes. The heavy reliance on groundwater is attributed to the country’s unique climate and how it affects India’s largely agrarian economy. Further it states that annual groundwater extraction rate is the highest on earth: an estimated 200 billion cubic meters per year. Firstly, the erratic monsoon trends drive most farmers to rely on irrigation to support their crops and groundwater is the largest sources of irrigation. Secondly, expanding industries, such as textiles, construction companies, and bottled water plants, are also heavy users of groundwater.

The paper then goes on to elaborate the emerging groundwater crisis, which is most evident in the dry regions of the country. The drop in the water tables has a harsh effect on impoverished farmers many of whom depend on small tubewells for groundwater access. The quality of water also becomes an issues of equal concern along with seas water intrusion. Following, this the author evaluates the reforms to India’s groundwater governance system based on three criteria:

  1. Administrability refers to the ability of the government to achieve actual implementation of a given policy.
  2. Equity measures the extent to which the reforms operate fairly between different segments of the society.
  3. Sustainability conveys whether a policy successfully balances the rates of present resource consumption with “the capacity of ecological . . . supply, over a long period of time.

Finally the paper concludes by making key policy recommendations that are necessary to institute a more effective groundwater system, which are as follows:

  • To construct a system that elevates institutional transparency and democratic participation
  • To eliminate duplicative regulatory bodies
  • To reform basic groundwater rights structure

Click here to read the full paper.

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Residents of Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, resist public private partnership in their water supply project- A press release by Manthan Adhyayan Kendra

With no single example across the world to cite for successful model of water privatisation, the irony remains that it continues to grow in developing countries. India is witnessing a range of private sector participation in various water schemes, these come under different forms and shapes but the motive remains the same- make profit out water.

Almost all privatisation endeavor in water sector has met with obstacles, Khandwa is no exception! The teething problem of the project doesn't appear to settle as the rising discontent and resistance among people continues to grow.

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Guidelines for setting up bi-tech wells, which helps in arsenic mitigation- A document by Project Well

Access to arsenic-safe water is spreading in rural pockets of West Bengal. Thanks to the setting up of bi-tech wells by a non-profut organisation- Project Well. Read on to follow the step-by-step guideline to set up a bi-tech well.

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Traditional water purification methods followed in developing countries- A compilation by Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems

What are the different ways through which water can be purified before it can be consumed? Read on to know more about the traditional and household water purification methods followed in rural communities in developing countries.

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Model Groundwater Bill lays responsibility for protecting the resource from contamination primarily with the states concerned - Roundup of the week’s news (March 11- March 17, 2013)

New bill to control groundwater exploitation

Ministry of Water Resources has formulated a Model Bill to regulate and control groundwater development and management in the country. The responsibility to protect ground water from contamination lies primarily with the States concerned. For protection of ground water from contamination, the government has taken various steps including constitution of Water Quality Assessment Authority (WQAA).

Drought scenario in Maharashtra

Geographically, one-third of Maharashtra is facing drought in varying degrees. The scale is gigantic with the drought affecting 2,00,00,000 people in 11,801 villages. The prevailing drought will further affect the sugarcane availability for the 2013-14 season and the fresh planting. Farmers face parched fields while taps in towns have already run dry though summer is still two months away. However the Chief Minister assures of drinking water to the affected people.

Recharging groundwater by ‘Chaukh’ in Laporia, Rajasthan

An ingenious method of rain water harvesting has made Laporia, a small village near Jaipur drought proof and poverty free. The 'Chaukh' method uses bunds, channels and pits in a checker board pattern, to slow down water flow and increase moisture content.

Locals campaign to save Loktak lake in Assam

Fishermen and people residing around Loktak lake, Assam, carry out a campaign to save one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Asia. Sit in protests were also held by the fishermen and speakers urged the government to check the activities of the National Hydro Power Corporation which threaten to destroy the lake as it has constructed a dam.

Mangrove saviours in Sunderbans

Groups of women get together to plant mangrove trees in Sunderban area, West Bengal, to create green embankments that would prove crucial not just to their survival but of their ecosystem as well. They have have taken on the responsibility of saving their rapidly eroding coastline.

Water supply schemes worth Rs 5000 crores in Kerala

Kerala to implement water supply schemes for Rs 5000 crore in the state, taking care of the water needs of 50 percent people, says water resources minister. The state also issued strict norms to ensure safe drinking water, in the wake of severe water shortage. Now it is mandatory for tanker lorries to possess a Food Business Operator (FBO) license.

Infographic on water status in India

A visual narrative on depletion of water sources in India between 1990-2010, shows that groundwater levels have dropped at a rate of one meter per year.

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Conference report: The Anil Agarwal Dialogue on "Excreta does matter", organised by Centre for Science and Environment on 4-5 March 2013 at New Delhi

Where will India get its fresh water from in the coming years ? What is the state of the sewage system in the country ? A close examination of these two issues shows that the water and sewage challenge is already grave and could get worse.

With this as the backdrop, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi, organised a two day conference called the Anil Agarwal Dialogue on “Excreta does matter”. The conference took place at the Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi on 4 and 5 March 2013.

The dialogue aimed at furthering the agenda of CSE’s seventh State of India’s Environment report titled Excreta Matters. This report is a comprehensive survey of the situation of water and wastewater management in 71 Indian cities. The study found that most cities lack a basic policy direction on how best to tackle issues of demand, supply and treatment of water, and of management of sewage. 

The Dialogue being the first of its kind brought together a wide range of professionals, activists, practitioners, policy makers, academicians, researchers and administrators from the water sector. The event was aimed at drawing attention on the critical issues of how cities will get affordable and sustainable water and waste systems that can supply to all and take back and treat the sewage of all.

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How have India's flagship development programmes fared ? - Budget briefs on the TSC, JNNURM and MGNREGS by the Accountability Initiative

Government of India’s development programmes are aimed to bring in much required inclusive development and pave a way towards an equitable and socially just society. With this motive the Centre had introduced several programmes in social sectors and allocated a fixed amount for achieving the set goals.

An analysis on the performance of the programmes shows how far the targets have been achieved, the shortcomings and the steps that are to be taken to strengthen the programmes. Read on to know how the government has spent its money for three of its flagship programmes.

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