Threat to hopes


The Bhopal front
Continuing wisdom
Urban efforts

Inernational Commission on
Irrigation and Drainage (ICID)



Turning a crisis into an opportunity


Cholistan's story




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Vol. 3      

No. 3

June   2001

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Karawal Nagar gets coloured water

Tap water comes in different colours in Karawal Nagar in East Delhi. "Sometimes, it is like cola and sometimes like an orange drink," is how the residents describe the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supplied aqua pura. However its not the only problem. The residents say the water tastes foul. Most of the residents have hand pumps in the houses but rely on DJB-supplied water for drinking and cooking. "At first,
we used to fill the water in buckets and wait till the colour settled down at the bottom and then pour it into vessels. But as this water also tastes very bad and often gives stomachache we just leave the tap run till the colour and odour subsides." said Ram Kishore, a resident. An effective if wasteful solution one might think. " But these days no matter how long we wait, the colour does not change," he laments. Asked why they do not complain to the DJB, the residents mostly jhuggi dwellers- have a simple answer: "Its with great difficulty that we got the tap installed. If we complain, they may seal the tap." On the other hand DJB’s executive engineer in the area, M C Ram denied the whole issue saying, "If at all there is any colour present in the water, it could be yellow because of chlorine which is used to purify the water or brown, because of the natural iron content."

(Statesman, New Delhi, 10 May, 2001)

Rainwater collection ponds raise hopes over

Faced with a daunting challenge to supply clean drinking water to 1.5 million residents of the Kathmandu valley, the officials have finally taken the last resort: rainwater harvesting. So far, officials of Shivapuri wildlife and watershed reserve have built a four metre high dam in Dhap area at a cost of Nepali Rs 500,000. Ever since the dry season started in March, Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC) has been supplying between 60 and 70 million litres of water daily (MLD) as against a demand of 150 MLDs. According to the experts, the idea of rainwater harvesting in ponds on the mountains or in watersheds around densely populated capital city would go a long way in resolving the water crisis. Deepak Gyawali, a water resource expert argues that if 1.5 per cent of Kathmandu valley’s total land are is to be allocated for such ponds the valley will not face water shortage at all.

(Kathmandu Post, Kathmandu, 20 May, 2001)


Colonies dump DJB after starting water harvesting

After going through unbearable water shortage years after year, residents of Vasant Vihar and Shantiniketan colonies have taken to rainwater harvesting with a vengeance. They have completed four major rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge projects and have identified 30 more to be undertaken. "Four lakh litres of water are supplied by the Delhi Jal Board daily for the resident population of approximately two lakhs. If the official estimate of 240 litres per day is to be followed, we should be getting 80 lakh litres per day," points out Veena Bhatnagar, an active member on the Water Committee Board from Shantiniketan. The projects undertaken so far have received technical guidance from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). These include individual rooftop rainwater harvesting, community groundwater recharging and channelisation of wastewater from drains as well from the roads. Out of the four groundwater recharge structures completed, one has been set up by the Horticulture department, of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), one by DJB and two by DDA. These projects include the mobilisation of abandoned tubewells in the area. Moreover implementation of the ban on borewells passed by the DJB is being carried strictly by the resident welfare association. "The groundwater recharge will be enough to supply water to both colonies. The groundwater level has gone down from 40 feet to 250 feet over the past 10 years. Our aim is to generate our own water supply," says G S Bhatia, secretary, Vasant Vihar Resident Welfare Association.

(Indian Express, New Delhi, 15 June, 2001)

Jammu and Kashmir government gears up to meet drought spell

Jammu and Kashmir is reeling under severe drought conditions threatening to affect the entire state. The state has witnessed 72 per cent less rainfall this year resulting in low water level in rivers and a reduction in water table. The state government has already demanded a relief package of Rs 1, 850 crore from the centre, which had earlier sent a three member team to assess the situation. Almost 90 per cent of the rabi crop has been damaged and most of the livestock is dead with water and fodder rarely available. Contingency plans are being formulated to meet the situation arising out of the damage caused. Compensations have been announced for areas where damage to crop is 50 per cent and above. The preventive measures takes by the state government include seeds for alternative crops, strengthening of local irrigation system through Kuhls, a traditional irrigation system, desilting of new irrigation networks, tapping groundwater and digging new ponds particularly in Ladakh to store early melting snow.

(Statesman, New Delhi, 24 May, 2001)

Government to introduce new rules for watershed programmes

The union urban development ministry is in the process of revising its guidelines for its watershed programmes, which include the Integrated Wastelands Development Programme (IWDP), the Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) and the Desert Development Programme (DDP). According to the Union Urban Development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, "the aim is to make the programme a mass movement and bring about socio- economic changes in the rural areas." Introduced in 1995, the changes in the watershed development guidelines will also ensure greater participation of the villagers in the decision-making process and better monitoring. The villagers can modify the programme according to their needs and then implement it. Regarding better monitoring, Naidu said the aim is to involve agricultural institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, farmers’ training centres, NGOs and other organisations. The ministry is also planning to constitute advisory committees comprising eminent persons who can visit the watershed development projects and see their implementation.

(Times of India, New Delhi, 15 June, 2001)

Copyright CSE  Centre for Science and Environment