Mission Jal Jagruti
It is common knowledge that water shortages are already evident in India and likely to reach worrisome magnitudes in another decade. Currently, less than a quarter of our agricultural output is harvested only once a year due to lack of water for the second harvest. If the water availability increases adequately for another crop, the GDP can be boosted significantly from its current contribution of around 25%. Apart from the increased revenue, the community also benefits from additional employment, mainly in the rural sector. A spin-off benefit is increased literacy / education, especially for the female child.
A community development program to provide sustainable water has to necessarily work at 2 levels in the main - awareness creation and implementation. In addition, a nation-wide resource group could be created by net-working to share know-how, best practices, etc. As such, these are general in nature and based on promotion of Rain-water Harvesting. The Action Plan outlined below is at a limited level of activity in specific areas of operation, for one year initially. This exercise can lend itself subsequently to escalation in an ongoing manner over an extended period of time. The cost-benefit ratio of such initiatives is highly favorable due to increased agricultural revenue for the rural areas and relief from water cuts in the urban context. The emphasis, however, will be on implementation in the rural sector since this generates the maximum benefit to the community.
The mentor and guide for this mission is Shri Rajendra Singh1, Magsasay awardee. Nationally and internationally acclaimed for his Rain-water Harvesting projects in Bhikhampura district, he has revived Aravari, a dead river for decades, to perennial flow with the active help of the local community. The success story authored by him has led to additional agricultural revenue of Rs100+ Crore every year with an initial investment of Rs 7 Cr.
This mission is an initiative of panIIT alumni and faculty for building sustainable water systems, with emphasis on Rain-water Harvesting in the rural as well as the urban scenario. GIS data and software tools for analysis could be used to enable quicker implementation for larger areas. It is envisaged that, subsequently, it would be possible to provide inputs on bio-technology, solar energy, literacy and online market information.
This project is being undertaken in collaboration with Ojus Medical Institute, an NGO working in the field of rural development, health care and AIDS in Nashik and Mumbai.1(Tarun Bharat Sangh, Bhikhampura, Rajasthan, Tel: 0141 393178)
This multi-level multi-media program will be addressing the rural community and schools,colleges,social groups, architects, plumbers, contractors, etc. The concepts of Jal Sanskruti, ie. water literacy, are brought out in lecture sessions, printed literature, manual/handbooks on CDs and video clips. The content mix for each group, in and around Mumbai/Thane/Pune/Nashik, would be tuned specifically for maximum impact. Visits to selected villages will be a part of this activity jointly with a local NGO.
100 schools and colleges have been identified in the operation area where suitable presentations will be made by the team. Similarly, social groups like gram panchayats, Rotarians, Advanced Locality Management Citizens’ associations, Architects’, Housing Societies, Senior Citizens, etc. will be targetted.
The activity level is suited to the 1 year time-frame and budget. It would be possible to increase the coverage based on the funds available.
Lack of Design and implementation support is a handicap both in the rural and urban scenario. Basic techniques taking into account local site parameters would be made available in the public domain to empower lay people to implicate RwH projects. NGOs, Gram Panchayats, Farmers, Jilla Parishads,etc would benefit in the rural areas and Housing society secretaries/ property owners in the urban areas. Technology tools like satellite images and related software can be used for providing time-saving analysis and faster results.
This entails creating a small technical team to deploy resources for hands-on support at site. In addition, inputs are to be provided to BMC for mapping the geological types for Mumbai city and specifics for any RwH effort in the city and outlying areas.
A Master Plan is to be generated for Greater Mumbai to enable citizens as also the BMC to implement RwH schemes in Buildings, Bungalows, Industrial/Commercial Estates. Appropriate schemes for the different geo-realities in the city/suburbs would be made available to motivated citizens for their location specific applications.
Internet technology facilitates connecting active experts in the field to identify best practices and spread this knowledge country-wide. Internet technology is to be deployed to provide relevant intelligence and information for empowering RwH exponents. Periodic conventions and inter-active workshops are to be conducted towards achieving this objective. The forum would also monitor Government projects and their efficacy.
A website is under construction - www.jalsangrah.org - and will be updated on a regular basis. The web resources will enable country-wide communication with the community, with ease and speed. Helpdesk facilities are to be developed over time, need-based.
Workshops, seminars and multi-media presentations have been conducted in various fora including Schools, Engg. Colleges, Educational Institutes, Architects and Senior citizens groups,etc. In addition, orientation programs have been initiated in various villages.
A 2-day workshop was conducted on Dec6/7,2003 at IIT Powai, attended by over 500 enthusiasts. Jal Sandharan Sankalp 2003, a pledge made by all the participants for water conservation, is available for viewing at http://jalsangrah.org/sankalp.html.
Some big and small RwH projects have been initiated in Karjat (Bungalow), Dahisar (College), Chikadi (Farms), Farmagudi (Goa Engg College campus) and Dehrang (Panvel). A RwH Study tour to Bhikhampura (Raj), Bhoyare-Khurd (Mah) and Chennai (TN) have also been conducted in the past to acquire grass-root expertise and knowledge.
A group of involved activists has been banded under Maharashtra Jal Biradari for the cause of RwH, region-wise in Maharashtra state. A tentative structure has been created to link nationally with Rashtriya Jal Biradari under the aegis of Shri Rajendra Singh (Magsasay awardee), Shri Anupam Misra1 and other eminent jal yoddhas. This group is seized with the issues of water scarcity, water policy, privatisation,etc.
An advisory body has been formed for Mission Jal Jagruti consisting of IIT alumni/faculty and eminent citizens to promote and implement RwH systems. The members are: