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The hidden impact of riverlinking: widespread waterlogging and salinity

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

It's imperative to put the facts about India's ambitious riverlinking project before the people before politicians permanently alter the geography of the country. How many people know that 246,000 hectares of land in Rajasthan became waterlogged and salinised as a result of the Rajasthan Canal Project?

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Women's participation in irrigation management reaps rewards in Gujarat

By Advaita Marathe

The myth that women have no role to play in irrigation management has been shattered, as the Gujarat government's Participatory Irrigation Management policy clearly shows

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Water wars

By Anuradha Sengupta

Shaken by the magnitude of water stress, and the conflicts surrounding it, award-winning filmmaker Urmi Chakraborty has made a hard-hitting new documentary on water

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Participatory water management requires the involvement of millions

By Mohan Dharia

Vanarai Bunds, erected at virtually no cost by using empty cement bags across nullahs and rivulets, have proved most effective in watershed management, writes Mohan Dharia. Around 36,000 such bunds have been constructed in Maharashtra by local communities since the monsoons of 2002

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The costs of river-linking

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

External funding for the ambitious river-linking project has been rejected. Instead, industry has been called upon to support the costliest endeavour that the country has ever undertaken. But, by opening up the floodgates to private sector investment, the government could be bargaining away the traditional rights of people over water resources

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River Inc

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

Following on Chhattisgarh's heels Kerala has been planning to give easy access to groundwater to private operators. And some 30 Indian cities are inviting bids for their municipal water supplies from a handful of multinational corporations specialising in water

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Water vending is a booming business

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

Farmers in Goa and Tamil Nadu are abandoning their farms for the more lucrative business of extracting and selling groundwater. The groundwater trade is close to Rs 30 billion today, with 50% of the urban and industrial demand met through groundwater. And yet, there are no regulations to prevent this dangerous over-exploitation of groundwater resources

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Dying wisdom: The tanks and stepwells of Ramtek

By Anu Kumar

For centuries the people of Ramtek managed their traditional water harvesting systems, thrived and prospered. The community decided on water distribution. In 1950, water management became the responsibility of the state. Today, the area is drought-ridden. Revitalising the tanks and stepwells could be the best solution

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Rainwater harvesting in Bangalore

By S Vishwanath

With groundwater levels fast depleting, rooftop rainwater harvesting makes sound ecological and financial sense. Bangalore seems to have taken the lead in this form of water harvesting and has even set up a special Rainwater Club

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To privatise, or not to privatise, water

By Jaya Jose

Watershed management expert Vijay Paranjpye sorts out the tangle over water privatisation, and insists that privatisation of public utilities can be resorted to only if the government completely fails to manage the utility, and if private management is going to make the utility cheaper for the people

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Water wars in the US: Lessons for India

By Devinder Sharma

Taps are running dry, water tables are falling, crops are shrivelling and cattle dying as America faces its worst drought since the '30s. Strangely, America's hi-tech model of precision farming has crumbled under just one year of severe drought. What does this say about the wisdom and efficacy of industrialised farming versus India's subsistence farming methods?

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Harvest from the skies

By Teresa Barat

Five model rainwater-harvesting projects in Delhi show how the city's fast-depleting groundwater table can be recharged and how the acute water scarcity could be tackled

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War for water -- and one victory

A report highlights how far rural water and sanitation has still to go, while the success story of the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad shows the way forward for urban India

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More Himalayan follies?

By Kannan Kasturi

The new 'United Nations World Water Development Report 3' carries alarming warnings about the impact of glacial melts in the Himalayas. But over 450 hydropower projects are being planned in the Himalayas without taking the consequences of climate change into account, says a report from International Rivers

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Oil or water? Getting our priorities right

By Darryl D'Monte

Worldwatch's new Vital Signs 2006-2007 seems more concerned with rising oil prices than with depleting water resources

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A reality check on Bhakra

By Himanshu Thakkar

For decades the success of the Bhakra dam has been cited to silence all those who questioned large dams. A new report that assesses the real impact of India's iconic Bhakra dam that's been credited with ushering in the Green Revolution has shaken up policymakers. What is the truth behind the hype?

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Freshwater supplies under serious threat in tsunami-hit areas

In the aftermath of December 2004's devastating tsunami, governments are having to cope with problems ranging from waste disposal and degraded environments to the disruption of basic services like water supply and sanitation

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Himalayan waters of hope

By Ramaswamy R Iyer

A review of Bhim Subba's new book about the Himalayas and the water environment it houses

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Water security in 'desert' Rajasthan

By Vidyadhar Gadgil

Water security is not determined by nature alone. Culture, social structures and tradition play an equal part in ensuring water security in low rainfall regions such as Rajasthan. Anupam Mishra's landmark book on traditional water harvesting and storage systems in Rajasthan is now available in English translation

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Falling water tables: UNEP report on better management of groundwater

The UNEP paints a worrying picture of this critical, hidden, natural resource. In rural India, 50% of irrigation water and 80% of drinking water is pumped up from underground sources by 3 million hand-pumped wells

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