Deep Aquifers

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PSI addresses the shortage of safe drinking water in remote Uttarakhand villages through a participatory community-based approach to springshed management.

People in remote hamlets left out by previous schemes like Swajal and Sector Wide Approach Program of the Uttarakhand Jal Nigam and Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan longed for household-level piped water supply for drinking and domestic purposes. People’s Science Institute (PSI), a not for profit organisation based in Dehradun took up a drinking water and sanitation program with the active participation of local User Water and Sanitation Sub Committees (UWSSCs) through the support of The Hans Foundation in 2016.

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There is an urgent need to prioritise uninterrupted river flow over unpolluted flow in the Namami Gange programme.

India’s Himalayan rivers have been a cradle of civilisational development and a centre for faith and culture for ages. Ganga being a fertile basin has been a significant contributor to our agricultural economy as well as our river-based agrarian development. It cannot be visualised simply as a single river flowing through the northern states, but as a complex system of tributaries, main river and geological balances in alluvial geography.

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The program envisages promoting panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management.

Groundwater fulfills the drinking water requirements of nearly 85% and 50% of the rural and urban Indian population, respectively. 65% of the total irrigated area utilizes groundwater. It also caters to the water needs of the industrial sector in India. However, this intensive and unregulated extraction and utilization of groundwater has led to a sharp and severe decline in the groundwater levels. To arrest the decline in groundwater levels, Atal Bhujal Yojana or Atal Jal - perhaps India’s largest community-led groundwater management program to date - was launched in December 2019. 

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Saurashtra, and Vidarbha and Marathwada have similar climatic and aquifer characteristics. Why do the latter suffer from droughts when Saurashtra has been able to improve its groundwater levels?

Groundwater depletion, a growing challenge for India

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An attempt to document the geological features, water potential, and traditional wisdom around them in the Upper Ken basin.

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Issues in groundwater management and recharge have been dealt with in a series of booklets as a part of the MARVI project.

The ‘Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention’ (MARVI) project is being undertaken since February 2012 with the overall aim to improve the security of irrigation water supplies and enhance livelihood opportunities for rural communities in India.

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Jal Jeevan Mission can go a long way to promote springshed management and ensure source sustainability of spring based piped water supply.

Springs are the key source of water for rural households in Uttarakhand, yet they have seen an overall neglect over the decades with discharge from many springs declining bit by bit. The depletion of aquifers, changes in land use and ecological degradation have led to several initiatives to address springshed management in the state. We speak to Dr.

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Decentralised groundwater governance frameworks that integrate democratic institutional mechanisms are needed to deal with the current groundwater crisis in India.

The challenges to sustain groundwater dependency in India are many where groundwater over extraction is not only leading to rapid depletion of the resource, but also giving rise to water quality issues in a situation where the response at the level of policy continues to be lukewarm.

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Experts discuss if the budget has enough funds for water access and security.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget announcement on February 1, 2020 made a push for piped rural drinking water supply and promised full coverage of all households by 2024. Last year, the National Rural Drinking Water Mission (NRDWM) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission.

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How can India change the game on groundwater management to deal with its overexploited aquifers?

After independence, India was largely food insecure but post Green Revolution around the 1970s, foodgrain production increased manifold consequently reducing food insecurity and poverty in the country, in spite of rapid population growth. Its ability to achieve targeted results was largely dependent on the explosion of groundwater abstraction mechanisms like tubewells.

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