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Reduced migration, better hygiene practices and access to information on govt. schemes were only some of the achievements of villages in Rapar, Gujarat. The videos tell the full story.

For many in Rapar taluka of Kutch, migration was a way of life due to the absence of rainfall; they went in search of greener pastures. But when the people realised their collective potential and how they could use it to resolve water scarcity in their villages, there was no stopping them ,and the compulsion to migrate reduced.

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Mountain dwellers across India are learning hydrogeology in a bid to save their dying springs. In the process, they are also revolutionizing their lives.

Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics.

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The science behind Mazhapolima is perhaps best suited for Kerala’s context but it has truly created opportunities for people to participate in a movement. Here's a look at how it has worked there.

Mazhapolima is an open well recharge programme based on rainwater harvesting in Kerala. Facts and figures indicate that Mazhapolima was initiated in 2009 by the Thrissur district administration in collaboration with Panchayati Raj institutions to ensure water security to households.

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Baadi near Jodhpur turned its weakness into strength to halt distress migration and reduce its dependence on rains.

Big sandstone hills cover the landscape dotted by little grass, while the land below is covered with Israeli babool (akesia tortlis), an invasive species which does not let any other vegetation grow. Amidst this, Baadi village with its lush green fields full of cabbage, pepper and groundnut seems out of place.

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Declining groundwater levels and increasing maintenance costs are the norm for most people these days, but residents of Rainbow Drive are exceptions.

"Just having the people of Delhi look at their water meters everyday will enable the city to deal with its current water supply", said K.P Singh.

He should know.

Singh is a resident of Rainbow Drive, a bungalow community in Bangalore. Led by him, the society has revolutionised its water availability from chronic scarcity to self-sufficiency.

Borewells run dry

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“Best practices in water management are too scattered, and results are not clearly visible. A model village would be ideal to spread awareness”, says Devaraja Reddy, a hydrogeologist in Chitradurga.

Chitradurga district in Karnataka receives the lowest rainfall in the state. According to the Drought Monitoring Board, most borewells are dry and where there is water, its quality is poor. According to Chitradurga-based Devaraja Reddy who is a hydrogeologist,150-200 borewells were drilled in 2013, with an unfortunate success rate of 2%. He says “Most people want a quick method of obtaining water and therefore keep drilling borewells and spend a lot of money on it, but hardly get anything in return”.

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Khonoma village, which fought the British four times, is today also known for how it protects its ecological heritage. Watch how its indigenous water management system works.

Khonoma village resisted British rule in the region from 1830s to 1880 and is therefore considered as the last bastion of Naga warriors against the British. But today, the village is also known for upholding its rich indigenous erudition.

In the last decade, the village has stood out for its environmentally conscious people and prominent efforts to maintain its green. As a result, not only does Khonoma conserve its forests, but it has also banned hunting, which is a way of life for the Nagas.

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Panchayat presidents of Namakkal district get people to build toilets at home by banning them from work until they do so.

Thipramahadevi Pudhur is a village in Erumapatti Block, Namakkal District with 115 households. In July this year, this village was declared as ‘open-defecation free’ (ODF), something that was aided by Leaf Society, an organization based in Namakkal and their effective strategy of awareness generation, and leveraging of government loans to communities via convergence. 

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Area- and crop-customised agro-advisories in Sangamner taluka of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, have helped farmers deal with weather-based events and minimise their related losses.

“In gram crops to control gram-pod borers, use pheromone traps”. While a statement like that most likely won't make sense to average people, it does to the farming community in the Sangamner taluka of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. They have been trained to make sense of the agro-advisory provided by Vasundhara Sewaks.

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The theme of World Toilet Day this year is 'Equality, dignity and the link between gender-based violence and sanitation', all things that should hit us hard in India.

Have you ever complained about a toilet anywhere? Not so clean, not so dry, not so nice-smelling, not so something else? On November 19th 2014 and possibly every other day this year and forever after, thank your stars that you have one because 2.5 billion people in the world don't!

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