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In 2009, Cyclone Aila caused significant damage to livelihoods in the Sunderbans. While saline soil is subversive to agriculture in the area, integrated farming gives many the courage to start afresh.

“Another flood like Aila should never happen again, but if it does, we have the knowledge to start working on our soil again”, remarks Binota Munda of Nebukhali village in Hingalganj block, North 24 Parganas. Cyclone Aila that came in 2009 caused extensive damage in large parts of India and Bangladesh, killing scores of people

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As Ladakh faces water scarcity, the Ice Stupa project aims to overcome this in an innovative manner--through the making of vertical ice mountains.

Living in the mountains

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Hundreds of villagers pitched in to revive a village pond at Bapugaon, a village in Rajasthan, to make it water and food secure.

It had not rained for awhile and the tiny cracks in the earth in Bapugaon were opening up. This little village in Chaksu tehsil of Jaipur was yet again faced with a drought in the mid 1980s. The situation was aggravated in 1986 when the river Dhund, an important water source for Bapugaon, went dry. Since then, both the quantity and quality of water started deteriorating. The rains were playing truant yet again and had stopped buffing up the rocks and big boulders scattered over the hills.

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Bandhabhuin village went from having 1 handpump for 400 people to 7, toilet facilities in 55% of the houses and had an overall improvement in its social and economic fabric.

In India, about Rs.70,000 crore has been invested in the Rural Water Supply sector since independence by the central and the state governments.

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Bishop Cotton School in Shimla tides over water scarcity by harvesting rainwater, setting an example for other residential schools located in hilly regions.

Mathew Jacob, estate supervisor at Bishop Cotton School (BCS) in Shimla, remembers when he took his students walking in single file to the nearby stream to wash and bathe every other day in the summers.

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Understanding scientific principles and spreading this knowledge among communities to design their water solutions could be an answer to tackling both groundwater crises and flood situations.

Over the last few months, rains--whether they flooded India enough or not--have certainly flooded the news. May brought a grim prediction by the Minister for Earth Sciences, Harsh Vardhan, that this year’s monsoon forecast is expected to be 88 percent of the long-term average setting off fears of a drought.

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Rainwater harvesting in a school in Jorhat, Assam helps address water quality issues, improves attendance and serves as an example for others in the area to fight arsenic and fluoride contamination.

Even in the remotest village of Assam, you would often find one saying ‘paanir nisina daam’ (meaning as cheap as water) or ‘paanir nisina xorol’ (as simple as water) over a good bargain or an easy task. Water is, almost always, associated with simplicity and abundance.

But those were the good old days.

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Although fluoride contamination was identified in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh a decade ago. children of some villages still continue to fall victim to skeletal and dental fluorosis causing bone deformities.

Urmila can neither walk upright, nor run about, nor do her chores easily. She is loved in her parents' house and they do not grudge her the extra care she requires. In rural India, this state of affairs does not last long for a girl, especially since she's only six years old. 

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Devithans are shrouded in rituals and myths but serve as an important institution to preserve springs. While religious sentiments sometimes get in the way, development around them continues.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase". - Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Residents who live near the lake, representatives from the Taxi Drivers’ & Shopkeepers' Association, Tourism Department, and the Police Department have worked together towards a common goal.

There are about 227 lakes and wetlands in Sikkim, many of which are revered by the people as holy. While Gurudongmar and Keopchari are popular with the tourists, Tsomgo lake at an altitude of 12,400 ft above sea level, is perhaps Sikkim's most visited tourist spot. 

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