Mass Production vs. Production by the Masses
CSE Conference on the potential of water harvesting
Catching Water for the President


Real power to the people
Hydrological Data Anyone?
The Government on Ground Water






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Vol. 1                                    No. 1                              February 1999

Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) an NGO based in Alwar, Rajasthan specialises in the construction of small water reservoirs known as johads. A series of books documents their activities.

Bullet Rebirth of a river: Jashbai Patel, 1987. "Story of a Rivulet Arvari: From death to rebirth". Tarun Bharat Sangh, Bhikampura, Thanagazi, Alwar 301 022. Rajasthan. Pages: 48. Jashbai Patel narrates the story of the rebirth of a small river Arvari in Alwar through traditional water harvesting structure called johads.

BulletRejuvenating a river: Vir Singh, (undated) Rejuvenating the Ruparel River. Tarun Bharat Sangh. Alwar. Pages: 40. Price: Rs 21.00.

BulletEfforts to build trust: Khalakdina Margaret . 1998. The Promotion of Community Self Reliance - Tarun Bharat Sangh in Action. Oxfam India Trust, Ahmedabad. Pages: 60. The book documents the challenges and achievements of the organisation since its inception in 1985.

BulletDocumentation of Good Practices: United Nations. 1998. Johad: Watershed in Alwar District Rajasthan. UN- Inter Agency Working group on Water and Environmental Sanitation (UN IAWG-WES). Pages: 24. The book is part of a UN Agency initiative to document the water harvesting systems.

BulletCan people’s gut-feeling be right?: G.D. Agrawal. 1997. Evaluation of Water Conservation Efforts of Tarun Bharat Sangh in 36 Villages of Alwar District. Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar, Rajasathan. India. The report states that about 70% of the people’s gut feeling in terms of soundness of water conservation techonology are upto the engineering standards.

All these books are available from: Tarun Bharat Sangh, Bhikampur, Thanagazi, Rajasthan: 301 022. India.



1. Manual on Watershed Management: PALMYRA. 1998. Watershed Management: An integrated approach to the restoration of degraded lands. Centre for Ecological Landuse and Rural Development. Auroville.

It is a simple and excellent illustration on watershed management that is important for school children and for NGO’s. The book introduces the concept of watershed and steps involved in watershed management. In addition, calls for local people’s active participation in the programme for long term success. Finally it outlines the guidelines for watershed management for the beginners.

The Book is available from: PALMYRA, Centre for Ecological Landuse and Rural Development, Aurobrindavan, Auroville- 605 101. Pondicherry.



2. Whose Voice?: Jeremy Holland & James Blackburn. 1998. Whose Voice? - Participatory research and policy change. Intermediate Technology Publications Limited. London. Pages: 254.

In recent years there has been a quiet revolution in policy analysis. The increasing use of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and related participatory approaches by NGOs, governments and multinational agencies have opened up new ways in which policy can be influenced by those who are poor, weak, marginalised and excluded. Participatory policy analysis questions conventional policymaking procedures, challenges the behaviour and attitudes of policy makers, and influences the style and substance of policy itself. The book demonstrates the far reaching implications of this quiet revolution for the development sector and examines the issues that need to be addressed in order to increase the effectiveness, sustainability and acceptability of future participatory policy-focused research. The book stems from an international workshop convened in May 1996 at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. The book is organised with Part 1 examines the case-studies that have used PRA methods to influence policy. Part 2 reflecting on participatory poverty assessments. Part 3 draws the theme. The book will be an invaluable to professionals and policymakers with a special interest in PRA approaches and methods and their impact upon policy and development.



3. Ripples in People’s Movement: FAO. 1998. Ripples of the Society - People’s movement in watershed developments in India. PWMTA & FARM Programme. Food and Agricultural Organisation of United Nations.

The society, the samaj, evolved varied institution to support life that revolved around their natural resources, the land, the water, the soil and the forest that nurtured and sustained their lifestyles. The book is a documentation of such institutions in watershed development in India. The document from the case-studies from the Himalaya and the rainfed desert areas of India aims to replicate these programmes in other parts of the world. The document identifies some of the key factors that are crucial to promote peoples’ participation. In addition, what these case-studies also highlight is that most of the success stories have emerged due to committed intervention by an individual or an organisation. What needs to be taken with caution in replicating such experience is that most of the characterisrics identified cannot be prevalent in all regions. many of the Indian villages are characterised by authority-based power strucutures. However, this book is an interesting piece of case-studies documented by Gandhi Peace Foundation that might be useful for NGOs and for researchers.

For copies write to: Environment Cell,Gandhi Peace Foundation, 221 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110 002, India.



4. Self reliance in water? .Alacrity Housing Limited. 1998. Self Reliance in water - The Alacrity Experience. 2nd Edition, October. Alacrity Housing Limited, Chennai

Scarcity of potable water in Chennai has been a vital factor for Alacrity Housing Limited to tap and recycle rainwater to meet the demands of their clients. The impact is documented in the second edition of their booklet ‘Self Reliance in Water - Alacrity Experience.’ Their experience in about 200 housing complexes in the Metro reveals that about 73 to 79 per cent of annual per capita water need (at the rate of 135 litres per capita per day) can be met by tapping and recycling rainwater. This reduces their dependence on Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board (CMWSSB), recharges the groundwater aquifers, and reduces the adverse effects of the seawater intrusion. In due course, the effort promises 100 per cent self-reliance in water.

The booklet is a simple research piece that assures sustained supply of potable water to prospective buyers of flats. The booklet begins with a background of the perilous future of potable water scenario in Chennai. Alacrity has channelled rainwater to shallow dug wells and shallow pits, and reviewed old dug wells that had helped to meet 36 per cent of the annual per capita water needs of the flats. In addition, recycling grey water meets another 36 to 43 per cent. On the whole, it assures that 73 to 79 per cent of annual per capita water need can be met. Such novel efforts can be replicated in places like Hyderabad, Delhi, Coimbatore and Bangalore, which have reasonable rainfall, flat terrain and favourable sub-surface soil.

The booklet has been published in public interest, though it is for Alacrity’s prospective clients. The novel effort could be put to a wider use in influencing public policy, urban research and building confidence of the buyers if the booklet could explain: how has the cost of harvesting water been internalised in the cost of housing? How were their clients’ responses before and after rainwater harvesting? What has been the quality of tapped and recycled water compared to the potable water standards? How has the quality and quantity of groundwater changed? This information could be used to justify the beneficial impact of rainwater harvesting in promoting environment-friendly urban policy. In addition, it could also add value to the Chennai Corporation’s recent efforts to have rainwater harvesting as a pre-requisite for commercial flats to get plans approved.

Alacrity Housing Limited. 1998. Self Reliance in water – The Alacrity Experience. 2nd Edition, October. Alacrity Housing Limited, Chennai.