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An innovative rainwater harvesting structure stores sweet rainwater below the ground, within a saline aquifer.

356 students and the teachers of Government Middle School in Sukhpuri village of Mewat district, Haryana are a happy lot now that they have access to potable water right within their school premises. The groundwater in the area was saline making it unfit for consumption.

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A village school in Madhya Pradesh deals with the micro-realities of the area and gets out of a sanitation crisis.

Sajan, a 14 year old Bhilala Adivasi boy studying in the Rani Kajal school in Kakrana in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh says, "We now save a lot of time as we bathe in the bathrooms and defecate in the toilets rather than in the open fields; and so we study better". The school on the banks of the River Narmada run by the Kalpantar Shikshan Kendra, now has functional bathrooms and toilets which is an exception in this country as despite the hype around the Swachh Bharat campaign, the reality is that most schools are without functional toilets.

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The film “Rainwater Harvesting: From books to fields”, showcases how rooftop rainwater harvesting can also bring about social and economic change.

Chhattisgarh ranked number 1 in the country for providing domestic water connections in 2014-15 under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). Despite this, the government has failed to provide safe and clean drinking water to many who are still affected by fluoride, arsenic and iron contamination.

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Jhum or shifting cultivation has been criticised regarding its ecological and economic impacts. UNDP takes on the challenge by introducing integrated farm development practices.

A thick smog and haze eclipse the sun all through the day when jhum areas are burnt. Jhum, known as shifting cultivation a practice practice involving the slash-and-burn of felled trees in a forest patch followed by farming, is home to India's northeast.

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The stories in this yearbook highlight efforts by rural and urban communities across India to take back ownership of their water resources.

Water sustains lives and livelihoods. It is a precious and finite resource that, in future years, is likely to become the main bone of contention between peoples, states and nations. Water – like every other finite resource – needs sustainable and equitable management, with equal focus on reducing demand, recycling and finding alternatives, as well as the usual emphasis on supply solutions.

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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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