Groundwater

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Why women need to be trained and engaged in monitoring and surveillance of water quality at the community level in rural India?

Historically, water is a gendered burden, with women being the primary caregivers responsible for cooking, washing and cleaning chores in the house and in modern times in institutions (teachers, anganwadi and healthcare workers). Women have traditionally been associated with various water related tasks - be it collecting, fetching, or purifying water.

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Floods such as in 2018 could take the situation downhill causing severe drinking water crisis.

Surrounded by vast expanses of water, the Kuttanad region in Alleppey district, Kerala faces severe drinking water scarcity due to infrastructure failure and civic body inaction.

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Policy matters this week

World Bank to provide USD 450 million loan for Atal Bhujal Yojana

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Women swipe clean drinking water through an automated dispensing unit at the Lalbagh slum.

It’s a dull reality that the state of water in the urban slum of Lalbagh near Azadpur in north Delhi was awful till a few years back. Hoards of people would queue up to get water from the public taps or the tankers along the road. Life was tough here and people got access to piped water supply only recently. Paying for clean water from private companies was unaffordable and people often depended on sources that were polluted and unsafe to drink. Women and children had to bear the burden of water collection and this cost them a lot in terms of time and energy.

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Fluorosis has turned out to be a chronic public health problem, with millions of people at high risk due to lack of clean drinking water.

I am in the middle of nowhere, out on a field visit to understand how fluoride, a deadly contaminant in groundwater has been afflicting people in some of the worst affected villages in Nalgonda, Telangana. I am thirsty as hell and would do anything to find a seemingly elusive little glass of water, but I can’t.

Restless as I am, with my thoughts running wild, I get out of the car and start walking.

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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 technology, knowledge and capacity creation help in management of commons?

Common pool resources, popularly known as “commons”, are those resources which are accessible to the whole community or village and to which no individual has exclusive ownership or property rights. Commons have two essential characteristics: non-excludability and high-subtractability. Non-excludability means that it is impossible or very costly to restrict a user from using the resource, and subtractability or “rivalness” means that use of the resource by one user will diminish benefits for other users.

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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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Budget fails to allocate enough to turn the rhetoric of tap water to each household into reality.

Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman presented the decade's first union budget in the parliament on 1st February 2020. While presenting budget for 2020-2021, she started with the country’s vision for the decade in which she emphasised on water management and clean rivers as one of the 10 points of vision for the country. The announcement assumes importance in the light of NITI Aayog’s grim estimate that around half of the country’s population or approximately 600 million people face high to extreme water stress.

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