Making water everybody's business
Sowing seeds
Water harvesting in Ethiopia
Wisdom in peril
Trapping Water


Initiative to network
Crusader on water harvesting
Evaluating water harvesting in Hyderabad


Rural Community vs. Urban Engineer
Native wisdom?
Relying on old source


Indian states for water policy


Water harvesting in IIM






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Vol. 1                                    No. 2                          June 1999

Sowing seeds

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Students exploring Gandhak Baoli at Mehrauli, New Delhi

The Environmental Education Unit at CSE, New Delhi aims to stimulate young minds to question prevailing development patterns, lifestyles and governance system. The goal is to widen the perspective of students in the age group 10-15 years towards the city’s environment and to make them understand the symbiotic relationship between a city and its inhabitants.

Big cities like Delhi try to meet the rising demand of water by procuring water from distant sources like Tehri dam, often depriving the poor people of these regions. Our country has already spent Rs. 70,000 crore since Independence on developing water works with Rs. 10,556 crores alone on big dams. And yet, severe water shortage continues to affect thousands of villages and urban centres.

The unit therefore organised a tour for students from various schools in Delhi to emphasise the importance and relevance of ‘catching rainwater’ to overcome water shortage. The students were taken to Hauz-e-Shamsi and Jharna, two  traditional water harvesting structures, to show them how such structures can deal with water shortage. The students were also taken to Tughlaqabad fort and the 1000 year old Anangpur dam.

The tour motivated teachers and students alike. Mrs. Usha Srinivasan, Principal of the Sanskriti school who had accompanied her students on the tour has now initiated water harvesting in the school. School students residing in Malviya Nagar have shown keen interest in learning water harvesting techniques.

People from other walks of life have also shown interest. The Greater Kailash Residents Association has expressed interest in knowing more about water harvesting. The Gujarat Nature Conservation Society has also asked for ideas on water management. We hope more and more people become aware and interested in water harvesting schemes in the near future. The CSE is gearing up to offer water harvesting services.


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Indian states for water policy

Water Policy in UP

Uttar Pradesh cabinet, following Andhra Pradesh, has approved a water policy that devolves powers from the irrigation officials to the village panchayat through Water Users body.

The Kalyan Singh cabinet has approved the new water policy of the state keeping in mind the growing demand of potable, drinking and irrigation water in the next century, as the population of the state would be touching 27 crores in 2025 A.D. The thrust of this devolution policy is that the Water Users body will be responsible for the water management and adequate drinking water supply, proper irrigation facility, hydro-electric power generation and support to the agriculture and allied industries, and water transport.

It is proposed that through the Water Users, which will be a registered body under the village panchayat, are expected to promote equitable and opitmal utilisation of water. The executive engineer of the Irrigation Department will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with these user groups, and work as an implementing agency for the policies formulated by the State Government. The policy aims at modernisation and updation of channels and modern conveyance management.

Himachal Pradesh to harvest rain

Burried beneath the new houses and gardens of Jakhu hill, the highest point in Shimla, are many snow pits that people used a century ago to collect water. But today, despite receiving 1134 millimetres (mm) of average rainfall every year, Himachal Pradesh faces acute water shortage in almost all the 59 urban settlements in the state, especially during the summer months. With most residents living on hilltops, the water collected downhill is supplied to the people through lift schemes. In order to rationalise the collection and distribution systems, the state cabinet has now decided to make rainwater harvesting mandatory for all new constructions and the existing public buildings in the state. Close on the heels of similar directives in the Chennai metropolitan city, Himachal Pradesh, directed all commercial and institutional buildings of over 1000 square metre plinth area to have rainwater storage facilities.