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Environment

Sat 1Nov2014

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The journey from the private to the common

Does private ownership give the landowner the right to do as he pleases with land and water? It is only a new consciousness of the finiteness of natural resources that will lead to the appreciation that they exist in the common domain; that they can never be left to individual or private discretion, says Jyothi Krishnan  

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Ponds are more than receptacles of water

By Jyothi Krishnan

Panchayats in Palakkad district are working towards better water management. But their focus is on structural measures like cement and stone linings for pond restoration. They are not addressing the conservation of catchment areas or preventing changes in land use in an area where fields are being given over for construction or being mined for sand, clay and stone

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The hierarchy of water ownership

By Jyothi Krishnan

It’s the owner of land in the ayacut of a pond who has ownership rights over the water. But what about the rights of the lotus pickers, washer folk, cattle owners, and families who used these common property resources to bathe in for generations? Part 3 of our series on the traditional ponds of Palakkad district, Kerala

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Rich farmers retain water rights in Kerala

By Jyothi Krishnan

Kerala’s land reforms 40 years ago redistributed land but overlooked water rights. As a result, landed farmers and big tenants retain the most fertile lands and also have exclusive access to water stored in ponds. The small and marginal farmers were given fragments of land with no access to water, and they are struggling to cultivate enough to feed their own families

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How dams and irrigation canals killed Kerala's traditional kulams

By Jyothi Krishnan

Seven dam-based irrigation projects since the 1940s saw the traditional ponds on which water-stressed Palakkad district in Kerala relied converted from catchment-based water harvesting structures into containers of externally supplied canal water. This FES-Infochange series on Kerala’s kulams describes the consequences of technological fixes at the cost of traditional practices

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