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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Rebuilding Karez

13-1.jpg (7633 bytes)For peace to return to Afghanistan, the government has to address the issue of water management by evolving a long term strategy on water management. The 23 years of conflict has destroyed the country's infrastructure.

Afghanistan receive less than 300 milli meters (mm) of annual rain and in the last five years consecutive drought has worsened the situation further. Deep drilling is emerging as a major issue of concern. A sustainable solution to their water woes partially lies in repairing existing karez system that has been an integral part of the irrigation process in Iran, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, North Africa, and the Arabian peninsula for more than 2,500 years.

The karez irrigation system relies on gravitional pull and comprises of a water source, underground tunnels, and vertical shafts that feed the water scarce areas.(See diagram: A dissected view) "A vertical well is dug to tap ground water. Instead of bringing to the surface at the site of the well, a horizontal tunnel with a gentle slope brings the water and, it surfaces usually far away from the source," explains Biksham Gujja, WWF International. The series of these tunnels supply water for both irrigation and domestic purposes. These systems are owned and operated wholly by individuals and community.

A dissected view

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Besides, karez has been extensively used by the villagers as shelter against invading armies, since medieval times. Taliban has effectively used this system as a vital part of its guerrilla warfare. Karez is in a bad shape today, because prolonged battles have ruined the country's agricultural system.

Reconstruction projects are being taken up by the local non-governmental organisations with external funding. According to WWF International reports, "The entire system could be rejuvenated for about US$ 20 million" - not a large sum if one take into account the US$ 4.5 billion already pledged in aid. This will help in generating rural employment for millions of people - giving peace a chance.


KUWAIT
Desert bloom

In early 1960s, Kuwait successfully developed two regions - Wafra and Abdally, as major agricultural areas. Cucumbers, eggplants and even strawberries were grown with brackish water. But this desert bloom was on the verge of death with salinity affecting the groundwater table.

The quality of groundwater has declined rapidly in both the regions. Experts cautioned that "If these trends continued, agriculture here, would grind to a halt within a decade". Intensive research conducted by the government proposed that a proper water withdrawal technique could tap groundwater while bypassing the pockets of salty water. The government took note of this and acted with alacrity. Local farmers supported the process.

The efforts are now yielding dividends. The continued high yields from Kuwait's 'fruit and vegetable belt' in Wafra and Abdally, is an evident indicator. The desert that receives less than 115 mm of annual rainfall is blooming again.

Source: TWAS Newsletter 2002, Strawberries in Kuwait, Jan - Mar


AFRICA
Stranglehold in Africa

Under the varied legal systems prevalent in the continent of Africa, rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH) does not form a part of the national water management strategy. Except in South Africa (SA). While water laws are surely not the key to promote RWH, but they can certainly hinder it. Such consequences were faced by the people of Lava ka baas village, Rajasthan, India. When without any reason, the authorities were all set to destroy a community-based water harvesting strucutre.

In SA everyone has right to basic water supply and all water resources including rainwater are treated as a property. This is in complete contrast with the legal system of other African countries. For instance, in Uganda and Kenya, the right to own and use all the water resources rests with the government alone. Ironically, in many of the African nations, even when the public distribution system is not effective, permits are needed to install rwh at household level. Rainwater is treated as state's property like any other water resource. Further, in some countries like Kenya, Lesotho and Tanzania the ownership of land is the condition to get a permit. In Namibia, RWH is forbidden.

Major policy functions like the right to define legal public water schemes remain vested with the federal governments in Uganda and Tanzania.

The absence of a legal framework in many African countries is adversely affect the sustained applicability of the process.

Source: Hartung H and Patschull C, Legal Aspects of RWH in Sub-Saharan Africa, A research paper


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