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Policy matters this week: Delhi HC issues notice to Indian Railways for supplying poor quality water; DJB ends the free water policy on April 1; Rajasthan govt plans to set up 1,000 RO plants.

HC issues notice to Indian Railways over poor quality water

Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central Government for supplying poor quality water to railway passengers and staff living in railway colonies. The High Court has sought improvements in the quality of drinking water in Indian Railways and a probe into the alleged irregularities while awarding contracts to the chlorination plants for supply of water. 

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At a time when Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), is much talked about, two villages in Nagaland show that helping one's neighbour doesn't always have to be for a cost.

“Water flows humbly to the lowest level. Nothing is weaker than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, nothing surpasses it.”– Lao Tzu

At a time when many predict that water could be the cause of the Third World War, there is a small oasis of hope tucked away in the hills of Nagaland. A place where the quote comes to life, where the human spirit rises above the level of give and take.

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Eris, a system of cascading tanks, were once completely managed by local communities. With centralisation came disuse and lack of maintenance but an organisation is working to revive them.

South India has a rich tradition of tanks with the three southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh contributing to close to 92% of the total irrigation by tanks in the 1970s. Two decades later, this number dwindled to close to 53%. A decade after that, in 2001, the total contribution of tank irrigation in all of India was estimated to be just around 5.18%. In stark contrast, other sources of irrigation such as borewells and tubewells have clocked consistent increase in percentage use.

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No-till agriculture, an alternative farming method, which helps prevent soil depletion as well as uses water efficiently, is being used successfully by farmers in Haryana.

Kalwaheri is a village of over thousand households comprising mostly of small farmers and landless people tucked away in Karnal, Haryana. The district, once the birth place of the Green Revolution, is now far from green. The application of modern techniques of agriculture and the introduction of high yield crop varieties led to an initial production spurt but farmers now say that their soil is less fertile, which has started hurting their harvest of paddy and wheat.

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Saline waters left Rohtak's farmlands fallow. After some research by local organisations, the farmers who were into agriculture, could soon move into aquaculture!

Mile after mile of saline lands line the Delhi-Rohtak-Bhiwani stretch of the highway. Here, the land wasn't always saline, it became that way thanks to canal irrigation. Farmers have used extensive surface water, which has led to an increase in groundwater levels. This leads to the twin problem of waterlogging and salinity. These lands once grew two crops, but lie fallow today.

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The Water and energy nexus

A report released by the United Nations in Tokyo this World Water Day says places where people do not have adequate access to water largely coincide with those where people have no electric power

NGT demands report on fluorosis in Maharashtra

Bombay HC orders ban on wetland reclamation

The Court ordered the ban in the whole of Maharashtra in response to a petition filed by NGO Vanshakti for saving wetlands and for setting up wetlands authority to monitor violations. The Court also directed the authorities to submit an 'action-taken report' against the violations

Local jokes, dialogues and narratives from issues of community quarrels over water tanks to rainwater harvesting came alive in a Grassroots Comics workshop in Sikkim to mark World Water Day.

As a run up to World Water Day 2014, India Water Portal conducted a Grassroots Comics workshop with Field Facilitators, Barefoot Engineers and other field workers of the Dhara Vikas Programme. The Programme is an initiative of the Government of Sikkim through its Rural Management and Development Department to conserve and develop the state’s water resources, especially focusing on the revival of springs.

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Nuclear plants are usually located near oceans or rivers in order to have access to ample water for cooling but not the plant at Fatehabad. It is India's largest and could be its most dangerous too.

National Highway 10 passes through Badophal, a village in Fatehabad district of Haryana. The highway is lined by a tiny market and a point where several jeeps start and terminate. These jeeps are headed to Gorakhpur village, some 15 kms away via Kajal Heri, another village en route. Hordes of researchers, journalists, activists and politicians throng these three villages nowadays for it presents a familiar tale of might over right-government pushing past ecological considerations and squashing local opposition to get what they want.

A nuclear power plant this time.

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Spur in farmer suicides after untimely rain in Maharashtra

18 farmers end their lives in less than a month after unseasonal rain and hailstorm destroyed their crops. Social activists claim the figure could be anywhere above 80, more than the average for every two months

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