A NEW BEGINNING

 






Urban wetlands meet
CSE initiates a core committee

  

IN FOCUS

Null and void?
A success story?
The flouride menace
 

CAMPAIGN

Lake in news
From the courtroom
To save this tal
Operation Baikal

INITIATIVE

Stories from Dewas
Meerut meet
Initiating change
Sensitising regional media
Doosra dasak
Glimmer of hope
History rewritten
HLL harvests
Water soliders
The kiwi connection
Exploring Ahmednagar

FACE TO FACE

For my home....

TECHNOLOGY

Bamboo-supari pits
Countering flouride
Techno tit bits

CSE'S LATEST DESIGNS

Meet the new harvesters!

JAL YODHA

T R Sureshchandra
Arun Mathur
Shivanajayya
K G Vyas

R Ramani

NEWS FROM CHENNAI

Recharge maps
Bank loans for RWH
Harvesting in Nilgris
The Vengaivasal model

'Water wisdom' in schools

JAL BIRADARI

No to bore wells
Ghagara revived
Jal bhai, Jal bahen

NEWS FROM GUJARAT

Charting future
City's pride

CLASSROOM

FUNDING AGENCY

WATER  WISDOM

NEWS FROM ABROAD

WATER IN NEWS

READERS SPACE

AN OPPORTUNITY

BOOK/DOCUMENTS

VISUAL WATCH

WEB INFO

EVENT


   
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Vol. 4                                         No. 5           October-November 2002

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Null and Void?

The judiciary may have come to the rescue of the decaying urban lakes, but implementation of their orders still remains primarily in the hands of executive. And, this is proving to be disastrous. Chandola Lake in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Himayat Sagar in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh are clear indicators.

Court orders bypassed
In Chandola, the state government partially executed the High Court's (HC)order, by filling up the lake with Narmada water. But this was done without removing the encroachments that had also been specifically maintained in the order. Beginning on September 3, water was released after desilting the Kharicut canal. Within ten days, the lake filled up and about 2,000 houses were submerged and nine people were killed, most of them were children.

The incident puts a question mark on the ability of the executive to protect lakes, a responsibility given by the HC. The opinion of the experts on the issue varies. While, Mayur Pandya, member of the advisory committee to HC says,"It does not raise any serious doubts, atleast they have started working." Frederick Smeatack (Jr), litigant fighting for saving lakes in Uttranchal, holds the civil society responsible. "It happened and will continue to happen, if people decide to be mute spectators,"he says. But now the issue is what can be done? Removal of encroachments is a politically sensitive matter, will the state take a rational decision on this front?

Bypassing themselves
In Hyderabad, the authorities went a step a further. The government order (GOMS No 111) dated March 8, 1996, prohibiting the setting up of polluting industries, hotels, residential colonies or other establishments within a radius of ten kilo meters of Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar was grossly violated. As a result, about 60,000 unauthorised plots have cropped up in this region covering an area of 5,000 acres, disturbing the entire catchment area.

A success story?

The Delhi Government's Flood and Irrigation Department (FID) claims to have collected 200 million gallons of rainwater by reviving storm drains and ponds in rural Delhi this year. A feat its counterparts in urban areas are unable to replicate.

In last three years, without involving the local people, the FID has desilted and deepened about 70 ponds used primarily for irrigation. "These efforts have created a storage capacity of about 170 million gallons of rainwater annually," says FID. A proposal to develop another 40 ponds is in the pipeline. "The remaining rural waterbodies, nearly 80 of them have turned into toxic pools and would be taken up once Municipal Corporation of Delhi diverts the waste water into out flowing drains,"informs FID.

The success claimed by FID has been questioned. "If FID has done this work, why don't they submit an affidavit before the court?," inquires V K Jain, who is fighting for the protection of Delhi's waterbodies since the past two years.

These facts began surfacing, as the government gave a green signal for the construction of proposed Shamshabad international airport, where half of the area falls within the 'prohibited' zone. The government has found a way out, by planning to bring in an amendment to reduce the radial distance from ten to five km.

On the other hand, the Hyderabad Meteropolitian Water Supply and Sewerage Board plans to bring river Krishna's water to solve city's water problem. Is it viable? SVUniversity's retired professor MVNayudu, questions,"For bringing 40 million gallons in a day (MGD) Krishna water the government will spend Rs 1,000 crores. If these lakes dry up, the state will lose 45 MGD water. So, why not stop this decay by just shifting the proposed airport project 15 to 20 km further south?"

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The flouride menace

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Collecting contaminated water from within the complex of deflouridation plant.

In Rajasthan, flouride contamination in groundwater has reached alarming proportions. In India, the state tops the list, with 40 per cent of its water resources contaminated with excess  flouride. Villagers who have no other option but to consume this water suffer from yellow, cracked teeth, joint pains, crippled limbs and fast aging process.

In October, Shiv Charan Rawat, president, Sardar Patel Yuva Gramin Vikas Sansthan, a Khuri Kalan village-based NGO, Dausa, approached CSE for help, as the menace has gripped 46 per cent of the villages in the district. State negligence has forced few families of the village to consume contaminated water from within the complex of a defunct defloridation plant. A CSE staffer visited seven villages in Dausa and Sikarai block to take stock of the situation, and came up with some shocking observations.

The region's groundwater reserves are depleting and, low rainfall this year has worsened the situation, further. High concentration of flouride, chloride, total hardness and alkalinity in ground water is found - resulting in a loss of soil fertility. A villager pointed out that, "the water sources near the talabs (pond) yield 'sweet' water than those at a distance, due to sustained recharging." A fact supported by a officialstudy in Dausa. It revealed that the technique of rainwater harvesting reduce the flouride concentration upto a level. Balisana, a village in Patan district, Gujarat, substantiate these finding ( See: Catch Water, February 2002).

 

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