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What's not to like about clay pots? "They cool water naturally due to the tiny air pores present in them, are affordable, save energy and are eco-friendly when compared to refrigerators", says Gautam Bandhopadhaya, a water expert in Chhattisgarh.
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel like a normal person, but when I get up, I realize that I cannot walk properly. I feel like running but I cannot", laments Md. Manik Uddin. This isn't unique to just Manik. Many others of Tapatjuri village in Nagaon, Assam feel the same.
Meghalaya boasts one of the rainiest places on the planet at Cherrapunjee, receiving over 11,000 mm of annual rainfall. Yet, despite all the rain, water availability remains a problem for many rural and urban communities across the State. Natural springs that have provided drinking water for generations are in crisis.
Groundwater isn't understood very well, especially in hilly areas where springs seem to appear and vanish of their own accord. However, as science tells us, there's no effect without a cause, and understanding the reason why water flows where it does can ensure optimal use of this natural resource to support life and livelihood.
Between May and December 2014, 17 deaths were registered in Sambalpur due to jaundice but residents say that the death toll due to water-borne diseases is much more than that. In January 2015, the Odisha High Court issued a notice to the state government asking it to furnish details on the steps taken to check the Jaundice outbreak in Sambalpur.
What is Jaundice?
Muneswar and more than 170 farmers in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh have no regrets after shifting over from traditional agricultural methods of farming to the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method. Why would they? Most of them have been overwhelmed by the kind of returns they have got compared to their investments.
“The Dalits of this country get access to water on the goodwill of the dominant caste. Water to untouchables is still miles away,” says Goldy M George, a Dalit activist and an expert on Dalit rights.
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.
Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics.
"The Kelo river has never been like this but in the last two decades, the economic growth in the region has spoiled the purity of the river", says eminent journalist Shiv Rajpoot from Raigarh, who is also known as "Kelo man". He has twice traveled by foot, the 90 km stretch of the Kelo from its origin to its end.
The objectives of his two visits were to study and document: