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A study finds women are hit the hardest during droughts due to food and water scarcity, loss of income and a range of health problems resulting from it.

Droughts are one of the most feared natural calamities impacting agriculture and food production as well as the morale of millions of farmers in India. Recent studies show that the frequency of droughts is increasing. While droughts are known to cause severe rural distress, little is known on how gender influences the experiences of men and women in coping with droughts.

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Changes in cereal production practices can contribute to improved efficiency of water use in India.

India has the highest national freshwater demand globally and 91 percent of our freshwater is used in the agriculture sector. Cereals account for over 50 percent of the dietary water footprint in India and represent a potential opportunity for reducing water use in Indian agriculture. After the green revolution, cereal production shifted from traditional cereals such as millet and sorghum, and towards higher yielding rice and wheat. Cereals are increasingly produced in the winter (rabi) season.

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India is facing a major water crisis and a number of water sector challenges remain unaddressed even today.

India is on the brink of a major water crisis. With drought looming over the southern and western parts of the country, the existing water resources are in peril. Rivers are getting more polluted, their catchments, water-holding and water-harvesting mechanisms are deteriorating and groundwater levels are depleting at an alarming rate.

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Study shows a rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013 leading to the risk of severe food crisis and drinking water scarcity for millions of people.

India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. It uses an estimated 230 km3 of groundwater per year, which is over a quarter of the global total. About 85 percent of rural drinking water needs, 65 percent of irrigation needs and 50 percent of urban drinking water and industrial needs are fulfilled with groundwater.

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This study from Bihar shows that official flood prediction systems are often inadequate to understand the true impact of the floods on the population. Local gendered knowledge can help fill this gap.

“There is a special type of black ant that is visible just before (and during) the onset of heavy rains. They start coming out of the ground in large numbers with their eggs in their mouths and only travel in a straight line, like a railway track,” informs Chandrika Mahato, a keen observer of nature, when asked how he predicts rains and floods.

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Better governance and equitable as well as sustainable use of water resources are essential to solving the deepening water crisis in Darjeeling.

"Darjeeling today has a thriving water business, with a fleet of 105 trucks plying three or four trips a day from April to June, carrying 5500 to 6500 litres of water on each run"

Source: Lama and Rai (2016)  'Chokho Pani: An Interface Between Regional And Environment In Darjeeling'. Himalaya, The Journal Of The Association For Nepal And Himalayan Studies, 36(2), 90-98

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Multilayered governance and involvement of forest dwellers in the decision making processes can go a long way in managing our forests better.

The recent news on the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribal and other forest-dwelling households from 16 states by a Supreme Court order has again brought the long-debated issue of the role of the state and the community in forest governance to the forefront.

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As climate change and urbanisation threaten water security in the HKH region, there is an urgent need for good water governance.

The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) cover 3500 kms across eight countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

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Three environment-friendly ways of disposing of human waste have proven effective in various districts of Chhattisgarh.

According to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) website, access to toilets has improved in India and 28 out of 36 states and Union Territories are now open defecation free (ODF). While that’s good news, managing faecal sludge in ODF states in an eco-friendly way continues to be a big challenge. 

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Expanding tourism has led to increasing generation of garbage and plastic wastes in natural reserves in Uttarakhand. Wild animals feast on this garbage increasing their risk of plastic consumption.

Plastic or non-biodegradable waste can prove to be highly fatal for terrestrial or land-based ecosystems as well as marine ones. While the impacts of non-biodegradable waste or plastic waste on the marine ecosystems have been extensively researched, its impact on terrestrial ecosystems is still poorly known.

Garbage dumps are getting ubiquitous in India

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