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Mountain dwellers across India are learning hydrogeology in a bid to save their dying springs. In the process, they are also revolutionizing their lives.

Hydrogeology has, before this, been considered a highly specialised field known only to dedicated academics.

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Ahead of the Union Budget, Civil Society Organizations ask for policy strategies to support drinking water and sanitation for vulnerable sections.

A National Convention on Union Budget 2015-16 by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, New Delhi held on 8th and 9th January 2015 brought together around 200 Civil Society Organisations from more than 20 States to discuss the policy asks for water and sanitation sector. Civil society budget groups, collectively as a network called People’s Budget Initiative (PBI) discussed issues pertaining to the union budget and the government’s commitment to the social sector - drinking water and sanitation – was sought.

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None of our policies seem to be designed keeping in mind the farmer and his convenience, says Suneel Joshi, State Coordinator for Jal Biradari, in an interview with India Water Portal.

Recent news has been flooded with reports of the severe drought situation in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra. Even more shocking are the reports of large-scale suicides by farmers due to crop losses.

Although the government has announced a relief package for drought-affected areas, these sort of quick- fix solutions are not enough to solve the real problems on the ground, argues Suneel Joshi.

Maharashtra is experiencing drought this year too. Why does this happen every year?

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Can the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana that was launched in October this year, achieve its aim to create model villages through the Participatory Groundwater Management (PGWM) programme?

On October 11, 2014, the Government of India launched an ambitious scheme for village development – the Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). The scheme requires ‘saansads’ or elected MPs to convert 3 villages in their constituency into ‘Adarsh Grams’ or model villages worthy of replication elsewhere in the country.

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The water in Jamwadi village, Yavatmal has been severely contaminated by the Raymond Company but quality tests only confirm this when the villagers changed the name of the village on the test sample.

A decade ago, Jamwadi village in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, was a famous tourist attraction due to its beautiful lake. Now, there is no lake to speak of thanks to the Raymond factory in Yavatmal. Wastewaster from the factory flows untreated into the lake, which is located 15 kms away. This has severely affected the environment, health and community life of not only Jamwadi village but also five others in the area namely Yechuri, Tiwsa, Bhoyar, Varaz and Chani.

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To let people make their own decisions and to understand that the best solution doesn't always work are two big lessons that have come from meetings with Jharkhand's tribals.

"Clean water", emphasized the woman. "'Close to the house. Whenever it is needed", she added. She was speaking at a village meeting organised to determine what was needed to make the village water secure. The discussions had begun with an attempt to define water security.

The leader of the group sat stunned. It had taken him many moons and many meetings to explain to his peers in both the development and government sectors the concept that a tribal woman with no formal education expressed so succinctly.

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Policy matter this week

Centre launches the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

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Dibang hydel project gets Centre's nod

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Policy matters this week

Uttarakhand Government submits to Centre the Rs 9,478 crore Ganga Action Plan

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The film 'Kaayal Kadhaigal' meaning 'stories from the lagoon', shows how Cheyyur's flourishing fishing and agricultural practices, could soon end due to an upcoming coal power plant.

Cheyyur, a town 100 km from Chennai in Kanchipuram, has been identified as the site for a 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Ultra Mega Power Projects are a series of ambitious power projects planned by the Government of India where each UMPP is said to have a capacity of 4000MW or above.

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