Water Literacy: A Need of Time

Introduction

It is public knowledge that water shortages are already evident in India and certain to succeed in worrisome magnitudes in another decade. Currently, but 1 / 4 of our agricultural output is harvested just one occasion a year thanks to lack of water for the second harvest. If the water availability increases adequately for an additional crop, the GDP are often boosted significantly from its current contribution of around 25%. Apart from the increased revenue, the community also benefits from additional employment, mainly within the rural sector. A nation-wide resource group might be created by net-working to share know-how, best practices, etc. As such, these are general in nature and supported promotion of Rain-water Harvesting. The Action plan sketched below is at a limited level of activity in specific areas of operation, for one year initially. This exercise can lend itself subsequently to escalation in an ongoing manner over an extended period of sometime. The cost-benefit ratio of such initiatives is highly favourable due to increased agricultural revenue for the rural areas and relief from water cuts in the urban context. It’s an ethical responsibility today’s society that the environmental resources should remain unpolluted for next generations. The surface freshwater resources are finite and they are at stake due to unscrupulous discharges from growing urban centres. The purity of water bodies, environmental quality is the need of human being for his survival, health and occupational activities.

Public understanding of ground water, ground water management, and water related issues is basic to solving present and future water problems. Unfortunately, most people are only vaguely aware of the role ground water plays in their lives. The components of a ground water education program will helpful. The goals of a ground water education program are to make people water literate, to educate citizens with respect to the problems and complexities of supplying safe, affordable, and high-quality drinking water from ground water sources.

Education can increase understanding and lead to greater support for the various activities required to carry out the Ground Water Management Plan (GWMP). Some components of the GWMP require action by individual citizens. Education can bring about a widespread change of behaviour as is being done with public education programs for smoke-free environments and recycling. Public water conservation is a cost-effective way of meeting increased drinking water demand that comes with population growth. The expense of drilling new wells and laying transmission lines far exceeds the cost of a water conservation education program.

Contaminated ground water is expensive and difficult to treat. Prevention is cheaper than treatment. Most people do not knowingly pollute their drinking water source. They need to know what to do to prevent ground water contamination. A public education program can greatly help to protect the quality of water resources and therefore can be of great economic benefit. Public education can lead to an increased understanding of the problems dealt with in the GWMP and pave the way for acceptance of the mitigating measures required by the Plan. An educated public has the ability and incentive to bring information, expertise, values, funding, and support to ground water decision making processes.


People’s participation

People’s participation and collective action are critical ingredients for watershed management. In watershed management sustainability, equity and participation are the three basic elements of participatory. Sustainability involves conservation and enhancement of the primary productivity of the ecosystem, the foremost components of which are land, water and biomass. Equity has got to be seen in terms of making an equitable access to livelihood resources for the watershed community. Participatory watershed management attempts at ensuring sustainability of the ecological, economic and social exchanges taking place in the watershed territory. This includes natural resource exchange, which is the conventional watershed management, and participatory watershed management additionally considers the economic, political and cultural exchanges. At this juncture it may be advisable to understand the limitations of people’s participation in any development project. Participation may lead to delayed start and slow progress in the initial stages of the programme. We may require more resources because in the participatory process we have to move along the path decided by the local people. Since participation is an empowering process where the people are empowered to make decisions, donors, governments, and other players have to relinquish power and control. Relinquishing power and control are not an easy task for the bureaucracy Increased expectation due to involvement of the local people may not always be accomplished. But the advantages of people’s participation are many and sound. Participation can ensure effective utilization of available resources. In real terms community participation means voluntary sharing by the users group their time, energy and money on the programme and adopt the recommended measures and practices on a sustained basis.

Case Studies

Ralegan Siddhi Village

Ralegan Siddhi may be a village during a drought-prone area of Maharashtra where the annual rainfall ranges from only around 500 mm and where the villagers were once not even assured one regular crop. In 1975, the village was poverty stricken, with but one acre of irrigated land per family. Anna Hazare, a retired driver from the Indian army, began to construct storage ponds, reservoirs, check dams and gully plugs. Due to the fixed percolation of water, the groundwater table began to rise. Simultaneously, government social forestry schemes were wont to plant 300,000-400,000 trees in and around the village. Because of the increased availability of irrigation water, land that was lying fallow came under cultivation and therefore the total area under farming increased from 630 hectares to 950 hectares. The average yields of millets, sorghum and onion yearly increased considerably.

Every effort was made within the village to make sure equitable access to the resources generated. Water is distributed equitably. Only low water-consuming crops were allowed. Water conservation efforts resulted in increased availability of groundwater that successively has facilitated the event of community wells. Water from these wells are supplied to farmers at a moderate price, which enabled to grow 2 to 3 crops throughout a year including fruits and other crops and which are exported to other countries.

Today not one inhabitant of the village depends on drought relief. Incomes have increased substantially. By Indian standards, Ralegan Siddhi may be a rich village now. Over 1 / 4 of the households earn nearly half a Rs 5 lacs a year, and a branch of a serious bank has opened within the village. Ralegan Siddhi’s income distribution is additionally much less skewed than that of rural Maharashtra. An impressive system of decision-making has been created within the village. Some 14 committees operate to make sure people’s participation altogether decision-making. A participatory democratic institution called the Gram Sabha was created to require community decisions and to involve every villager within the development process and exert social pressure wherever required. So Ralegan has proved participatory democracy is important than to representative democracy.

Dead Arvari River

Rainwater harvesting has brought the communities life up alongside the river Arvari back to life, which streams & meanders call at dry and drought-prone Rajasthan regions. Earlier the villagers living on the margins of survival were desperately poor and want to find work for sustenance by migrating to cities. According to historical records of the region, the river Arvari want to provide groundwater recharge to wells within the area. But no one can remember seeing surface runoff except during the short monsoon period. The river flows through across 70 villages – in its 45 km journey. The source of river lies within the degraded hills near the village of Bhaonta-Koylala.

Since 1986, working with, the Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) an area NGO, the villagers of Bhaonta-Koylala built a rainwater harvesting structure locally referred to as johad to trap the rainwater and recharge the groundwater for ultimate use. Since then over 200 water harvesting structures are inbuilt the 70 villages within the catchment of Arvari. These small dams and river have helped to recharge the Groundwater. Major completion of works the flow within the river adapted to its sustained nature within about 5years. It has been now perennial ever since and nowadays, a wonder of last century.

NIMBI – Beating the Drought

When villagers unite against drought and capture rain, the impossible becomes possible. In 1994 Nimbi village where, land was available nearly free and yet there were no buyers. Where in the village the able-bodied left their homes, resigned a lifetime of labour and migrated towards the cities around.

A dramatic turnaround has occurred. Almost within the blink of an eye. The village is now a veritable oasis within the desert, where reverse migration has taken place and labour comes from other states and abroad in search of labour on the agricultural fields. The key to success is often summed up in two words: “water and people” Just seven years years ago, in 1994, Nimbi village – 30 kilometres faraway from Jaipur, was just like any other ecologically degraded village in India. Surrounded by sand dunes and denudational hills, the westerly winds that blew the sand particles through the village buried everything under sand. The old lakes were during a degraded condition and wells dried up. The village population was divided. With no water source left to water their fields, males migrated to figure as wage labourers in nearby Jaipur, which had become almost sort of a second home. The first dam was built Ghatabara dam, followed by the Jungle dam. Small check dams also were built on the three sides of the nallahs which were flooding the land with silt. Simultaneously, afforestation on the surrounded hills started. Results started to pour in. The water level within the wells began to improve. Agricultural activities resumed. Family economies revived and flourished.

In 1998, the monsoon failed and rivers dried up. The vegetable cultivators within the Banganga river catchment in Rajasthan were faced with a water crisis. Their look for alternate agricultural land brought them to Nimbi village. They had heard that farmers here were continuing to cultivate without irrigation due to their conservation efforts. Now in the village crops were taken during summer and a bumper production obtained. The economy grew. Every day, 25-30 trucks of vegetables began to leave the village for markets as far as Delhi. Labour is now in demand within the village. The wage and manure rates have increased per day than earlier one. Now, people in the village have started making organic manure. This village is now providing employment to more than 500 people from the country.

The turnaround is complete. Nimbi villagers who want to migrate for employment now provide employment to others. The moment one enters the village the luxurious green crops attract attention. About 800 bighas of latest agricultural land has been developed. Now 2-3 crops are being taken yearly from 2,000 bighas. Some 10 years ago even during good monsoon, only bajra and jowar might be sown during the kharif season. Now, gram, peas, mustard, potato, tomato, cucumber, watermelon and other fruits and flowers are cultivated in the farm of village. Milk production worth Rs 1.25 lakh is supplied to the govt dairy and adjoin cities monthly from the village. Worried about their efforts could be washed away, several villagers holding lanterns braved their way within the downpour to the structure. Minor repairs were undertaken on specific time interval and the structure are saved. Along with conservation, this village has also haunted forest and wildlife conservation. There is a complete ban on poaching. With prosperity borne out of self-help comes social transformation and confidence to affect the longer term. Nimbi is an ideal example.

The End

The components of a ground water education program will helpful. The goals of a ground water education program are to make people water literate, to educate citizens with respect to the problems and complexities of supplying safe, affordable, and high-quality drinking water from ground water sources. Rainwater may be a free source and comparatively clean and with proper treatment it is often even used as a potable water source. Rainwater harvesting is helpful for high-quality beverage sources and relieves the pressure on sewers and therefore the environment by mitigating floods, soil erosions and enhance groundwater levels. In addition, rainwater harvesting not only reduces the consumption potable water but also the quantity of generated wastewater. A water literacy program builds on many levels of knowledge. Program elements should include the following levels of learning: Comprehension – knowledge of facts and concepts with an ability to express them. Attitudes – development of responsible and realistic attitudes based on learning. Skills – development of an ability and willingness to act in direct response to what has been learned about water. The additional support to civil administration’s efforts will be helpful in achieving the goal of purification, conservation and protection of water bodies within short period of time. The continued efforts are needed to maintain the purity and sanctity of water bodies.

2 thoughts on “Water Literacy: A Need of Time”

  1. Kamble anil uttam

    Very nice through this project, people will definitely get a massage on how to conserve surface water & ground water. Good job keep it up thanks 🙏

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