PARADIGM SHIFT AND GENDER CONCERNS INWATER RESOURCES EDUCATION AND RESEARCH Prakash Nelliyat * and Ambujam N K ** * Research Coordinator ** Director,Centre for Water Resources, Anna University, Chennai
Introduction• Historically WRM under the domain of physical scientists and engineers• However social concerns are significant, … recent periods (population growth, competing demands, inter-sectoral conflict and pollution).• In water resources management, particularly in policy decision making, the women’s role has been insignificant (However, women are playing a critical role in handling and managing water in different sectors).• This demand a significant shift in water resources education (more inter- disciplinary perspective with representations for women)• This paper is an attempt to explore two broad aspects: 1. Capacity building on interdisciplinary gender oriented education and research through examining: (a) The changes that have occurred in water resources education (from the traditional hard core engineering approach to the modern broader approach) and (b) Training a new generation of women water professionals (as part of the CB Project initiated by the CWR - AU, Chennai). 2. The gender issues in WRM emerging from the field research carried out in the peri-urban areas of Chennai.
CAPACITY BUILDING• Capacity building vs women led water resources management• Centre for Water Resources (CWR): Emergence, Courses, Interest, policy .• Crossing Boundaries (CB) Project: St. (2006); SaciWATERs, WU + 6 SA – Pis• Aim to contribute in capacity building on Integrated Water Resources Management and Gender & Water through higher education, research, knowledge-based development and networking.• The main components of this inter-disciplinary capacity building programme: (a) Development of an interdisciplinary curriculum and syllabus for a post- graduate level course on IWRM (b) Training and capacity building through M.E. and Ph.D (for women) in IWRM and Water & Gender, and (c) Conducting field oriented participatory research in IWRM, with special emphasis on gender issues.
Interdisciplinary Curriculum• (good combination/balance of engineering, physical & biological sciences, and social sciences).• Topics like IWRM, Gender Issues in WRM, Field Research Methodology, Economics, water rights, conflicts, legal and policy issuesSouth Asian Water Fellows (SAWA) Fellowship• 50 Masters and 5 Ph.D FellowshipsChallenges* Suitable Women Candidates for SAWA Fellowships* Employability of SAWA Fellows in the Water Sector
SAWA FELLOWS EMPLOYMENT STATUSS. Batch and No. of Water Other Ph.D Teaching in NotNo Year Students Professionals Govt. (Research) Eng. working Dept. Colleges / University1 First 6 0 0 1 4 1 (2006-08)2 Second 10 2 0 1 6 1 (2007-9)3 Third 13 0 0 7 5 1 (2008-10)4 Fourth 10 0 1 0 8 1 (2009-11)5 Fifth 11 1 1 1 7 1 (2010-12) TOTAL 50 3 2 10 30 56 Ph D 5 (3) 3
Positive Elements:* Participation of SAWA Fellows in International Events* Sustainability of the ProgrammeInference• CB project attempted towards a paradigm shift in water resources education.• Since engineers are playing significant role in WRM -- targeted towards them.• ‘Gender and Water’ has been introduced in curriculum• Since women water professionals are limited in South Asia, the programme encouraged women candidates (all fellowships availed by women).• No doubt the programme has succeeded highly in capacity building in IWRM and Gender & Water among women. But the questions or concerns are: 1. Whether these capacities help in our water resources management. 2. Whether SAWA fellows’ contributes in increasing the women water professionals in a country like India.IWRM students are much needed in WRM and policy making in the presentcontext, where water resources are getting huge pressure from variousdevelopmental activities. Hence, the institutions in water resources shouldprefer the IWRM graduates in their recruitment. Thus, one can achievesustainable and women-led water resources management strategies.
GENDER ISSUES IN URBAN AND PERI-URBAN WATER SECTOR• Population growth and Urbanization (Developing Countries) .. India• Unscientific urbanization and its impact on water sector (Chennai)
Unplanned urbanization with unscientific land use changes has created enormousimpacts on Chennai’s water sector.(a) Groundwater market and its hydro-geological & socio-economic implications(b) Groundwater contamination and health risks(c) Degradation of urban water bodies, and its ecological and social impacts(d) Flooding in urban areas: Reasons and Implications, and(e) Municipal Solid waste disposal related groundwater pollution issues.Gender Issues• In the groundwater marketing villages in peri-urban Chennai, the water table has reduced drinking water scarcity (concerns are more for women than men, since they are primarily responsible in mobilizing the water for domestic purposes.• Depletion and degradation od water bodies in peri-urban areas and impacts on agriculture and other rural livelihoods: Generally, the male labourers, who lose employment in agriculture, migrate to the city, seeking employment. But the women labourers are not involved in this transformation, and remain in the village, unemployed. Many women as ‘dobies’, who depend on tanks have also lost their employment. All this has resulted in livelihood loss to the peri-urban women. They strongly feel that the remaining water sources in the peri-urban areas should be preserved, primarily for drinking water security.
• In the groundwater contaminated villages surrounding to a solid waste dump site, women face huge challenges in mobilizing fresh water for various domestic purposes. Moreover, they are also prone to various diseases, since they live in an unhygienic environment throughout the day.• Women are more vulnerable to flooding and various flood impacts. They are less aware of evacuation routes, relief distribution locations due to limited access to information and knowledge. In the rainy season, in the flood prone areas, due to prolonged stagnation of water, women face problems in collecting water for drinking and other domestic purposes. During floods employment loss also occurs more for women, due to the restrictions in their mobility from their residence to the work site. In brief, the research findings clearly revealed that the magnitude of various impacts due to water scarcity and pollution is more for women, than for men.
Policy Suggestions• Strict enforcement of the (a) Groundwater Regulation Act (b) Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules and (c) Protection of Tanks and Eviction Act;• Wastewater should be collected and treated in properly designed treatment plants. Recycling and reusing treated water must be considered;• Water supply and sanitation facilities should be enhanced with affordable pricing systems, where cross subsidization for the poor should be a priority;• Proper land-use P&M is essential (preserve ecological sensitive areas)• Rainwater harvesting should be encouraged (Improve GW quantity and quality)• The public, NGOs, educational institutions, media and citizens have a major role to play. They should collectively put pressure on the local government to enforce rules, and maintain public property like rivers and tanks properly.• Citizens should pay the appropriate property/local taxes and user charges, so that the urban bodies have the financial resources to improve & extend their services.For achieving these goals, women can play a significant role, since they are thevictims of most of the urban and peri-urban water related crises.