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Endangered rivers and biodiversity

By Parineeta Dandekar

Over 70 hydel projects are being constructed in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi basins in Uttarakhand, adversely impacting over 9,000 hectares of forest land, the holy confluences of rivers and several wildlife parks. A Wildlife Institute of India report recommends that 24 of these projects be scrapped

Ganga Valley of Flowers National Park

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Buying silence, manufacturing consent

By Manshi Asher

The Himachal government has notified that the 1% free power to be made available for ‘local area development’ by hydropower producers would be distributed as annual cash transfers to ‘project-affected’ families. Is it trying to buy people’s silence in the face of increasing community opposition to hydroelectric projects?

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The Sindhol power struggle

By Ranjan K Panda

Three more hydropower plants on the Mahanadi, which already has the Hirakud dam, will mean that the river will be dammed four times in a 100-km stretch, virtually killing it. To what lengths is the government prepared to go to serve the interests of water-guzzling industry, ask communities and activists who are strongly resisting the Sindhol project

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Can science solve our water problems?

The Supreme Court believes it can. In a series of recent directives the Court has recommended scientific solutions to the water problem in the land of Aryabhatta and Ramanujan. Ranjan K Panda points out that it is science which has caused much of the problem and that we must also look at strengthening traditional and cultural solutions to water management

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India's first bid to privatise irrigation project stalled

By Anosh Malekar

The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority has directed the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation to withdraw its controversial proposal to privatise the Nira-Deoghar project, a long-pending, money-guzzling project in the Krishna river valley

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Hirakud dam causing rather than preventing Orissa floods?

By Ranjan K Panda

The Hirakud dam was originally conceived as a flood control measure on the Mahanadi. The rule curve or storage level was revised in recent times to prioritise the needs of irrigation, industry and power-generation. With serious consequences for flood control in Orissa. Are economic compulsions being put before human lives and livelihoods?

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TERI faults Coca-Cola for depleting community water resources

A recent report by TERI on six Coca-Cola bottling plants in India confirms that the plants have been located in water stressed areas and recommends that the plant in Kala Dera near Jaipur be closed down or relocated

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Industry vs agriculture: The battle over water in Hirakud

By Ranjan K Panda

Before 1997, total allocation to industry of water from the Hirakud reservoir was 31,912 lakh gallons per year. In the nine years since, an 'allocation committee' has allocated 27 times more water to industry. This has, of course, been at the cost of water for irrigation

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Privatisation cloaked as concessions and decentralisation?

By Nitya Jacob

At the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City, everybody agreed that governments have failed to provide safe drinking water to their people. The new management mantras proposed were decentralisation and handing over the management of water supply to private concessionaires

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Water of life: The rebirth of Surodi

By Shrayas Jatkar

A firsthand account of how the villagers of Surodi got together to construct and repair bunds in their village, transforming it from a poor, drought-prone village into a thriving model of self-sufficiency

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Anicut brings Mota Mayanga village to life

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

With the simple construction of an anicut, the Western India Rainfed Farming Project (WIRFP) has helped transform the lives of tribal villagers living in the seriously degraded and drought-prone village of Mota Mayanga in Partapgarh, Rajasthan

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'The miracle of paenghara has shown us the way to live again'

By Ranjan K Panda

People in the tribal village of Padia Badmal, in Sambalpur district, have revived the traditional practice of building paengharas, or small tanks, to help combat drought. This simple intervention has led to improved yields, less outward migration and a greater sense of confidence and security among the villagers

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The Ganga, viewed from Delhi

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

Delhi lifts 100 million gallons a day from the Ganga river. Unable to meet the growing demand, the Delhi Jal Board plans to increase water tariffs, cut down on operational losses and restrict demand. But is this the best solution for Delhi's water woes?

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Plachimada vs Coca-Cola: 1,000 days on

By N P Chekutty

Activists and campaigners converged on Plachimada in Kerala recently in support of the ongoing struggle to shut down the Coca-Cola plant which has been dangerously overdrawing water

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Will Area Water Partnerships give people back their rivers?

By Surekha Sule

The people living near the Patalganga river have been fighting for two decades against the pollution of their water source. Now there's new hope in the form of the Patalganga Area Water Partnership, initiated by the Indian Water Works Association, that will give them a say in how this natural resource is used and maintained

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Steel City tackles its water woes

By Manipadma Jena

The Steel City of Jamshedpur suffers severe water stress. But over the last decade, steel giant Tata Steel has reduced pollutant discharge by 98% and cut water consumption by 67.3%. Today, India's largest iron and steel production facility boasts a zero groundwater extraction record. The conservation efforts of the industry that dominates this town are being replicated by citizens in the old city. InfoChangeIndia travelled to Jamshedpur to document this pathbreaking corporate-citizens initiative

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Silent Valley in turmoil again

By Max Martin

As the power-strapped Kerala state studies the feasibility of a 64 metre high dam across the Kunthi in Silent Valley, environmentalists argue that the Rs 2,470 million dam will have an ominous impact on the environment

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Village uses 'Laporiya Squares' to outwit drought

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

In Laporiya village in Rajasthan, a unique water conservation scheme involving Laporiya Squares has ensured bumper harvests and increased incomes

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Harvesting rain, auctioning gain

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

The auctioning of water in the Integrated Watershed Development Project in the Shivalik foothills of Haryana suggests that this is a significant new participatory approach to watershed development

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Living with floods

By Naren Karunakaran

There was a time when the people of north Bihar, India's most flood-prone state, celebrated the monsoons and lived with floods. How and when did they become victims of floods, struggling to control the waters? Now, a silent movement to empower citizen's groups to re-establish their cultural ownership over rivers is taking shape

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The Cauvery delta: An economy under threat

By Lalitha Sridhar

Thousands of farmers in the Cauvery delta are being forced to come to terms with a new reality: perennial water scarcity. The lack of water in the rain-fed Cauvery is destroying livelihoods and disrupting communities

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Village committees manage water supply scheme in Rajasthan

By I M Shah

Two hundred villages have so far participated in the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the Aapni Yojana scheme in three districts of arid Rajasthan. A water and health committee in every village is responsible for fair distribution of water, water conservation, health education, payment for services and sanitation

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Monsoon showers wash away rainwater harvesting initiatives

By Dr Sudhirendar Sharma

With the start of a good monsoon, everyone seems to have forgotten about water harvesting as a means to ensure healthy supplies of water even after the rains

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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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