WOMEN and WATER
Meet some of the women from Karnataka and Maharashtra, who are doing pioneering work in
the field of rainwater harvesting. Overcoming all the hurdles, they have scripted success
not only for themselves but also for many others.
Being illiterate, poor, belonging to a backward community and being a
mother of five have not thwarted Janaki, a woman in her forties to use her innovative
skills and solve the persisting water problem. Her village is Kepulakodi, about 32 kms
from Manglore, Karnataka.
To avoid a km of slippery walk down the hill during the monsoons,
she came up with the idea of using her saree to harvest rains to meet drinking water
needs. First, she firmly attached the saree with bamboo sticks to keep it static against
heavy rains and winds. Then, its four corners were tied with bamboo, while giving it a
funnel shape, so that water can easily sieve into the pitcher. "Even 15 minutes of
rain is sufficient to meet cooking and drinking water needs", shared Janaki.
Impressed by its user-friendly applicability, a local non-governmental organisation,
Maithri Trust, is promoting it.
V Radha and Manisha Mhaiskar
|Paying up Since 1987, the people of Olavanna
panchayat in Kerala have been successful in regulating their water usage by paying for the
every drop that they consume.
It all started when the people decided to take charge instead of
approaching state water board for help. Their panchayat supported them. Community-based
societies were set up and small piped water schemes and meters were installed with
peoples contribution. Later, panchayat chipped in, bearing the installation cost,
The rules of the game are strictly adhered. Each household is entitled
to draw a monthly quota of 400 500 litres (l) of water, which varies across schemes
and seasons. Over-consumption attracts penalty. In schemes with a relatively small
population, meters are not installed, as people keep a tab on each others
consumption. Olavannas experience is an example that state can follow to solve the
persisting water scarcity.
For further information
Olavanna Gram Panchayat
Tel: 0495 - 430788
They are senior officers from the Indian Administrative Services (IAS)
posted in Aurangabad and Wardha districts of Maharashtra respectively. Their style of
functioning has ensured active community participation in developing water supply schemes,
without spending a penny out of the state exchequer.
Initially it was very difficult for V Radha to convince people of Sarola
village, to revive their dry 30-year percolation tank, which is today brimming with water.
It is the only village among the 700 in Aurangabad district not to suffer water
scarcity. Things took a positive turn, when instead of financial support, she offered
farmers to freely use the self-dug out silt from the pit. On its part, the administration
has ingeniously modified the Employment Guarantee Scheme allowing people do water
related works for employment.
In Wardha, already three schemes were underway Jalada, Sampada
and Vasundhara when Mhaiskar came on deputation. Her challenge was to
consolidate and sequence the existing schemes to make water supply sustainable, by
involving the community. The administration has ensured transparency at every level.The
state government has applauded these initiatives, as replicable models.
Each of these stories celebrates the willingness to reap the harvest of
water at minimal cost.
Source: Harsha 2002, How Janaki stopped going down the
hill to fetch water, Indian Express. V Radhika 2002, Three women and a water revolution,
tiny oasis in Uttar Pradesh
In a state that is plagued by alarming
depletion of groundwater tables, one area stands apart - the Lakhaoti Branch Canal command
area. First the achievements. A uniform increase in the groundwater table by six to seven
meters. About 26 per cent increase in the average net income of the farmers. Despite
adopting more intensive cropping patterns, the water pumping cost has been on the decline.
IWMIs research update 2002, A success story in reversing groundwater decline
These assessments were jointly done by the Water
and Land Management Institute (WALMI) of Uttar Pradesh (UP), States irrigation
department and International Water Management Institute (IWMI). All this was accomplished
within a period of ten years by the government of UP on an experimental basis in this
area. In 1984, the government embarked on the mission of harvesting excessive monsoon
runoff for artificial recharge and irrigation. "It transformed an earthen irrigation
system into a highly productive groundwater recharge system simply by switching
from providing irrigation during the dry season to providing canal irrigation only during
the monsoon." (See illustration: The technique) This technique works wonders in areas
with good aquifers, surplus monsoon water and no problem of soil salinity or waterlogging.