HC issues notice to Indian Railways over poor quality water
“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
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%.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni is the Executive Director of the Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), a non-profit organisation in Pune. It is a premier education and research institution, which facilitates work on groundwater management through action research programmes and training.
Mewat, a historical region comprising of the present Mewat district of Haryana and parts of Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan, lies in a semi-arid belt. It experiences variable rainfall annually and receives, on average, 336 mm to 540 mm, as per the Mewat Development Agency.
Tamilnadu has a rich tradition of tank management at the village level. Every village had one or more irrigation tanks, locally known as ‘kanmais’ or ‘eris’, and a drinking water tank called ‘ooranis’. This system worked for centuries with the support of residents and the local administration.