The value of a raindrop Programme for Oslo University students New Delhi, March 2007
1. Growing crisis In 1950, water availability was very low only in North Africa, and was average or above average in the rest of the world. < 1 - catastrophically low; 1.1.-2.0 - very low; 2.1-5.0 - low; 5.1-10 - average; 10.1-20 - high; > 20 - very high. Source: Source: World water resources at the beginning of the 21st century” prepared in the framework of ihp unesco
1. Growing crisis In 2001, more than 75% of the world population has low water availability. < 1 - catastrophically low; 1.1.-2.0 - very low; 2.1-5.0 - low; 5.1-10 - average; 10.1-20 - high; > 20 - very high. Source: Source: World water resources at the beginning of the 21st century” prepared in the framework of ihp unesco
Problem villages in drinking water supply Year of Survey Number of Problem Villages identified Number of villages covered till the next survey Number of villages not covered before the next survey 1972 150,000 94,000 56,000 1980 231,000 192,000 39,000 1985 161,722 161,652 70 1994 140,975 110,371 30,604 1997 61,747
Polluted river stretches … But at a huge cost! 1996 2003
Current scenario.. Drought is becoming more or less permanent Even in “good” rainfall years, there is water stress. Even after a flood there is a drought Nearly 13% of total land area declared drought prone .
5. Potential of water harvesting 4 monsoon months 3000 8 remaining months 1000 Total precipitation 4000 Total river flows - 1953 (75% of this only in rainy season) Percolation into soil 2047 Utilisable - less evaporation, flows to sea & other countries 690 Utilisable - less evaporation, soil moisture 396 Total available for irrigation & other uses precipitation 1086 What is lost – evaporation , soil moisture – which can be captured – 1700 (approx ) Source: National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development. All figures in Km3
30,000 tanks measuring 100mx100mx10m= 10 km 3 in 300
districts that receives more than 200mm of rainfall
(Dr. P.R. Pisharoty, Physical Research Laboratory)
1 ha of land X 100 mm of rainfall = 1 million litres of water Water stored (depth) Catchment area Evaporation loss Collection efficiency Rainfall Total water harvested = 900 km 3. Surface area covered = 3% of total land area ** Rough estimates 8m 50Xsize of tank 4m 60% 200 mm 10m 30 X size of tank 2m 50% 800 mm
8. Ancient wisdom Dated as far back as 5000 years. Dholavira of the Indus Valley Civilisation was harvesting runoff in the dry Thar desert.
9. Traditional wisdom in the Thar desert A talab is a local reservoir made out of natural depressions on outcrops of hillocks or rocky formations. Usually, only the slope side of the reservoir or talab was provided with strong parapet walls.
9. Traditional wisdom in the Thar desert The Chittor Fort once housed at least 50,000 people. There were more than 80 water bodies which could hold water that would last the citizens for more than 5 years incase of a siege. Even today, there are 22 water bodies. Udaipur, known all over the world as the City of Lakes, has a network of lakes, which provided the city with drinking and irrigation water and also provided water for its numerous wells and step wells. Today, this water wealth is facing destruction. Water bodies in Chittor Fort Water wealth of Udaipur
9. Traditional wisdom in the Thar desert The khadin is used even today in agriculture in the Thar Desert. It involves harvesting rainwater in farmlands and consists of an embankment built across a slope in such a way that rainwater is collected within an agricultural field. Virdas was developed by the nomadic Maldhari tribes who inhabit the arid-saline regions of the Rann of Kutch. The maldharis identify the natural depressions ( jheels) from the flow of the monsoon runoff, and then dig small wells (virdas ), within the depression, to collect rainwater. The wells lie over the top of the saline layer, with a transition zone of brackish water between. Bushes and trees, planted on the bunds, protect the virdas .
Diverse systems to suit local ecology, geology, climate: nadi, talab, johad, bandha , etc. Each a definite system.
From the name of a particular system,(eg. a nadi ) people knew how the water is collected, catchment prepared; embankment constructed, etc.
Divided the entire Rajasthan into two areas – palar water & wakar water. Palar is rainwater can be stored in underground tankas for up to 3-5 years. Wakar water underground water which has oozed out of earth with minerals etc.
No water body was made for the people by any king/ chief/ chieftain/ jagirdar (revenue collector or government representative)
Water bodies made by the above was only for their personal use
People had to construct their water systems themselves.
Eg. In Jodhpur, the Ranisar, situated within the fort was only meant for nobility. People used the Padamsar fed by runoff from the Ranisar. Similarly in Udaipur, the Pichola lake was built by the Banjara gypsies which is used by the public.
Starting point for economic development is water. Starting point for water is land. Start with protecting the catchment. Water harvesting goes hand in hand with watershed management.
Water harvesting is not a quick-fix solution. Takes time. First step is to create confidence and awareness in people that water harvesting works.
Create institutions at the village level to undertake water harvesting systems – to decide on type of structure, siting, design, cost, who will pay what, how will the water be shared etc. All must participate. Social fencing – rules for protecting catchment, using water, protecting water.
Role of government – that of enabler; fiscal incentives; legislations, provide communities with rights over land and water
In Gelhar-Choti in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, villagers were able to harvest water and irrigate about 91 hectares even though the rainfall was just about half of the usual average. (govt watershed development)
Thunthi-Kankasiya, village in Dahod district of Gujarat, farmers were able to irrigate 135 ha and all 23 wells had enough water even though the rainfall was just 40% of normal(check dam on a seasonal river)
In Raj Samdhiyala village, villagers had built 12 check dams. Farmers were able to sow cotton, wheat, groundnut and vegetables even though rainfall was less than 2/3 of normal.
In 1994, the government of Madhya Pradesh started a watershed management programme in the district of Jhabua (now applied to the whole state)to bring economic well-being from environmental regeneration.
Effort to involve the people in land and water management on a scale and depth that no other government has attempted.
Result of political will combined with bureaucratic competence and commitment
Some 22% of Jhabua’s land area was brought under the Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Development Mission, covering 374 villages, to develop 249 micro-watersheds.
Today, the programme is being run in all 48 districts, covering 6253 watersheds in 8692 villages. The programme covers 4.2 million hectares, which is a little more than 1% of India’s total land area. The total investment in the programme for the past ten years has been Rs. 1042 crore , which works out a little over Rs. 4000/hectare.