Regional meeting - "Mazhapolima", Thrissur

Regional meeting to discuss the effects of the Mazhapolima program.

Forwarded to the Portal by: Nitya Jacob, UN

Dr Kurien Baby, District Collector of Trissur, Kerala, and Solution Exchange Water Community are organizing a regional meeting to discuss the effects of the Mazhapolima program. The dates are 16-17 June 2009, and it will be held in Trissur.


Kerala has among the highest well densities in India, and 71% of the population depends on them for drinking water. The aggregate household investment in the state on wells is pegged at Rs 1800 crore and they have a combined yield potential of 6.6 million cu m per day. That works out to a water availability of 197 litres of water per capita per day (lpcd), well above the government's prescribed norm of 140 lpcd. These wells are threatened. Despite an annual rainfall of 3,000 mm, 70% go dry in summer. The surface runoff is heavy, and therefore groundwater levels in several blocks have fallen sharply, and coupled with saline intrusion at an accelerated pace, have led to water quality problems.

To address these issues the Trissur District Administration in collaboration with panchayat raj institutions (PRIs) launched a process driven, participatory well re-charge programme called Mazhapolima at an average cost of Rs. 1500 per open well. The total cost of about Rs. 920 million (Rs 92 crore) was financed largely by households themselves through demand generation, combined with ongoing decentralized programmes such as NREGP/GOK-GoI, and sponsorships. The programme was marked by informed decision-making, a menu of simple technical choices, strong IEC and awareness creation following social marketing tools for demand generation in a campaign mode, and process orientation are fundamental to the programme. The overall goal of the programme was to improve the health and welfare of communities through improved access to drinking water. Kurien Baby, the district commissioner, started a query on the Water Community to elicit responses on several aspects of the programme. The programme evolved through the members' suggestions and harnessed support, efforts and enthusiasm across all sections. The beauty of the programme is in the creation of multiple institutional and fund flow arrangements and technical choices that are location and need based.

Outcomes so far under Mazhapolima

Official inauguration of the programme by the Kerala state Minister of Revenue on 4th July 2008, in a meeting presided over by the State Assembly Speaker. . District Planning Committee (DPC) approved the programme to be included under the decentralized planning process. . Training for overseers of gram panchayats in the Kerala GPs in KILA. . Publishing technical manual indicating cost and technical guidelines. . Identification of 14 nodal NGOs for different regions in the District. . Commercial banks have come forward in supporting the programme under their Corporate Social responsibility mandate, with a special focus on vulnerable population and institutions. . Private companies have started implementation in partnership with NGOs and PRIs along with merchants and chambers of commerce. . The Government of Kerala has announced Rs. 200 lakhs for the programme and released Rs. 100 lakhs as the first tranche, which will be focused on critical blocks and GPs having acute water stress. . NABARD has agreed to support one coastal block for Quantity and Quality improvement under the RIF. . Rs 4-8 lakhs has been earmarked for each of 60 GPs (out of 92) under the programme under the annual plans, as approved. . GPs like Adat have already started the programme for recharging 100% open wells under its Jalasuraksha. . Volunteers and retired senior officials and have started working with Panchayats in generating demands which are getting crystallized. . Three blocks under the national watershed programme has adopted open well recharge as a key component. . Leveraging resources of ongoing programmes, mainly National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Watershed programmes, Special Component Plans for SC/ST communities.

Regional meeting

The Water Community plans to hold a regional meeting around this theme in Trissur on 16-17 June. The objectives are: 1. Demonstrate the impact of Mazhapolima on water availability as a community-driven, funded and managed scheme 2. Identify elements for documenting the process of project planning and implementation and the role of the Water Community in this process 3. Identify and examine other regional water-related issues in south India to develop collaborative action projects. Specifically: a. Tank rehabilitation in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka b. New model of farmer-managed groundwater recharge scheme c. Integrated urban water supply system d. Rainwater harvesting to provide water for domestic use in high rain fall areas and in areas where groundwater is unfit for consumption.

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