Chalakudy

The passing of Latha Anantha, a true crusader and champion for rivers, leaves a void in the water sector. The Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India pays tribute to her.

Latha, well known environmental activist and researcher from Kerala, is no more with us physically. Though many of us knew that she was battling with cancer for the last 3-4 years, closely following her ups and downs and also knowing that over the last two weeks or so her health was steadily deteriorating, the question still comes up time and again, why was she taken away from us so early? She was just 51. She left us in the wee hours of Thursday, 16th November.

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Policy matters this week

This I-Day new name given to the Agriculture Ministry and the Swachh Vidyalaya mission accomplished 

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Latha Anantha was awarded the Bhagirath Prayas Samman for spearheading the campaign to save the Chalakudy river in Kerala, at the recently concluded India Rivers Week.

Latha Anantha of the Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samiti (Chalakudy River Protection Forum) was awarded the Bhagirath Prayas Samman at the recently concluded India Rivers Week for her commendable work on safeguarding the integrity of the Chalakudy river in Kerala. “She has combined sound research with the mobilization of community, political and state agencies, to usher in a unique methodology of consensus-based conservation of rivers in the country”, the citation said. 

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Theme of the training program: The theme of the workshop will focus on the crises around water and water resources management. It will highlight key issues of water as a common property resource – its exploitation, privatisation and the resulting impacts like conflicts around water and its access for the common people. The workshop will also focus on struggles and solutions for assertion of rights to this resource and redressal of the issues.

June 16, 2014 9:00AM - June 19, 2014 6:00PM
May 15, 2014 6:00PM

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Another proposed power project blurs the lines between cost to environment and need for development. Will it ever cease to be a dichotomy and become a win-win situation for both?

Athirappilly falls is situated 70 km from Kochi city in Kerala's Thrissur district. The 80 ft high falls is a part of the Chalakudy River and originates in the upper reaches of the Sholayar ranges in the Western Ghats. Lush greenery and little streams that cover the winding route up and down to the falls exhilarate and intimidate all at once. The region is home to many endangered species of animals such as the Asiatic elephant, tiger, leopard, bison and sambhar. Four species of hornbill are only seen here in the Western Ghats.

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Streams receive stress from sewage and organic effluents, as per this study.

water samplingThis report by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) and Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) on water quality monitoring in Kerala covers all its forty four river basins. This is being done under the “Environmental Monitoring Programme on Water Quality” under which samples are being collected both from surface and groundwater sources.

Groundwater sampling stations were fixed after conducting a sanitary survey in the panchayats. Water Quality Information System is being developed using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to manage the water quality from point or non-point source of pollution.

In the first phase of the project, three river basins of Kerala viz. Kabbini, Periyar and Neyyar were monitored. The network was later expanded to basins such as Chaliyar, Kadalundi, Meenachil, Karamana, Anjarakandi, Pamba, Muvattupuzha, Bharatapuzha, and Chalakudy. 

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Of all the positive elements and assets, the most important ally of our environment is the future generation.


Above - Children studying a map of the Chalakudy Basin. Photo - RRC.

Seeds of sustainability and sensitivity when sown at a young age, blossom into responsible individuals. And you need to be in touch with the land to sow those seeds. The Central and State Boards of Education in India have made Environmental Science a compulsory subject for schools and junior colleges (for all subjects). But Environmental Sciences is not to be studied in the classroom. In order to understand the erosion and deposition processes of a river, students need to visit a river bend in their city and in order to instil a lifelong aversion to plastic bags, a landfill and dumping grounds need to be seen.

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