Society, Culture, Religion and History

  • The impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle should be of paramount concern to all because global warming affects rainfall patterns in various ways like triggering more extreme rainfall events. Unpredictable changes in runoff make it difficult to plan infrastructure to manage water resourc...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 8 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • CWC allows preparation of DPR while TN objects to the Mekedatu project on the Cauvery river The Central Water Commission (CWC) has given a go-ahead to the Karnataka government to prepare a detailed project report on the construction of a reservoir on the Cauvery river near Mekedatu. The Tamil ...
    swatiposted 8 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • The Erai river, the main tributary of the Wardha river, is the lifeline for the people of Chandrapur in Maharashtra. It primarily supplies water to the Chandrapur city and Chandrapur super thermal power station (CSTPS). Since 1984, after the initiation of operations of M/s C...
    makarandpurohitposted 8 months 3 weeks agoread more
  • A new study, Mahanadi: Coal Rich, Water-Stressed sheds light on how both Odisha and Chhattisgarh have locked horns over the distribution of waters of the Mahanadi river. The 851-km-long river originates in the Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh, flows through the state and then Odisha before joi...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 9 months 1 hour agoread more
  • India is running out of water fast. As if this is not bad news enough, it has been found that even the available water is highly polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants. Infact, a recent Water Aid report finds that India is among the top countries with the worst access to clean water clo...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 9 months 3 days agoread more
  • Wind energy, considered a clean source of energy, does have a carbon footprint and is also known to disturb bird life. Now a new study done in the Western Ghats has found that wind farms in biodiversity-rich areas can have deeper ecological consequences beyond already known impacts.  The study...
    arathiposted 9 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • Wetlands are very important and productive ecosystems that support a wide range of plants and animals and provide livelihood opportunities to local communities in India. However, they are increasingly being threatened by rapid urbanisation, pollution, developmental interventions, unsustainable manag...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 9 months 3 weeks agoread more
  • Anil (40) died on September 14, 2018 while clearing a block in a sewage line at Dabri, a locality in north-west Delhi. Cleaners hired by state governments and civic bodies are supposed to be provided safety equipment like gas masks, goggles, gumshoes, gloves, safety belt etc. Yet, Anil was unprotect...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 10 months 5 days agoread more
  • Centre notifies minimum e-flow for the Ganga river Following the demise of 87-year old G.D. Agarwal who passed away while on a hunger strike to save river Ganga, the water ministry has notified that the upcoming dams or structures diverting the Ganga river water for the purpose of irrigation, hydro...
    swatiposted 10 months 1 week agoread more
  • On March 16, 2017, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India began a performance audit of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) by discussing with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation the scope and methodology of the performance audit. Records relating to the implemen...
    arathiposted 10 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • We have just a year to go for Swachh Bharat Mission’s (SBM) deadline of making India open-defecation free (ODF). In the last four years, the government has built 86.08 million toilets (as on September 26, 2018) throughout the country as a part of this flagship programme on providing safe sani...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 10 months 3 weeks agoread more
  • Every time there is a huge flood in India with massive loss of lives and extensive physical damage, there is a hue and cry. Especially, if this takes place in an area not normally prone to such floods. Assam and Bihar, for instance, are regularly laid waste by floods and so, there is not much agitat...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 10 months 4 weeks agoread more
  • The family of Somesh Manikpuri of Amasivani colony in Raipur is still in shock of his sudden demise from jaundice in May this year. Six similar deaths have been reported from Raipur since April 2018. Memsingh Chandrakar, a resident of Naharpara, another locality in Raipur, was also affected by jaund...
    makarandpurohitposted 11 months 5 days agoread more
  • As the Ganga emerges from the glaciers and glides along the foothills of the mighty Himalayas through the towns and cities with their sprawling ghats, engineered embankments, hydroelectric dams, and interrupted flows at barrages, the icy chilliness of its waters is lost. Pilgrims swarm its bank to p...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 11 months 1 week agoread more
  • Sacred groves are undisturbed or preserved patches of vegetation or forested areas located on the outskirts of villages, towns or plains that are conserved by communities by dedicating them to local folk deities or ancestral spirits. Locals believe that these forests belong to deities and their dest...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 11 months 1 week agoread more
  • Every time an extreme weather event like the Kerala floods occurs, there is a great demand for information on its causes. The question uppermost in public discourse is if such events can be attributed to climate change and global warming. Detection and attribution are the foundations of climate cha...
    arathiposted 11 months 1 week agoread more
  • Clean chit to dam management, CWC says congested Vembanad lake worsened floods in Kerala In its assessment of the cause of the devastating floods in Kerala, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has said that it was the congestion in the carrying capacity of the Vembanad Lake, the largest lake in Kera...
    swatiposted 11 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • Witnessing a multitude of disasters from destructive floods to catastrophic earthquakes, the vulnerabilities arising out of natural disasters are ever increasing in Jammu and Kashmir. Intensified cloudbursts, frequent flash floods, recurring landslides and avalanches pose a serious threat not only t...
    arathiposted 11 months 2 weeks agoread more
  • River Mutha, the pride of Pune, lovingly called 'Muthai' or 'mother Mutha', is dying a slow death, thanks to the rapidly urbanising city which is depositing huge amounts of untreated sewage and dirt in its water. The pollution of the river is consistently rising. The situation is so bad that the riv...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 11 months 3 weeks agoread more
  • Kerala blames Tamil Nadu for massive floods in the state Entering into a legal battle, the Kerala government has told the Supreme Court that the reason behind the deluge in the state was the sudden release of Mullaperiyar dam water by Tamil Nadu. As per Kerala, it had requested Tamil Nadu to gradua...
    swatiposted 11 months 4 weeks agoread more

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As India votes this month in the Lok Sabha Elections, WaterAid India takes a look at how water and sanitation are still top of mind for many female voters across the country.

As the world’s largest democracy is all geared for its biggest test - for voters to select their Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister, the top issues that dominate the electoral agenda at the national level have been increased jobs opportunities, controlling inflation, and reducing farmers’ distress. While these could be the top priorities for the rest of India, what dominates the agenda at the local level are every day issues that may seem mundane to many - water and sewage lines.

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A study finds women are hit the hardest during droughts due to food and water scarcity, loss of income and a range of health problems resulting from it.

Droughts are one of the most feared natural calamities impacting agriculture and food production as well as the morale of millions of farmers in India. Recent studies show that the frequency of droughts is increasing. While droughts are known to cause severe rural distress, little is known on how gender influences the experiences of men and women in coping with droughts.

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A sanitary pad manufacturing unit in a Rajasthan village brings women together and breaks taboo around menstruation.

Leela Patel (19) explains how women at Wali, a tribal gram panchayat in Kurabad block, just 30 km away from Udaipur, manage menstruation by using old scraps of cloth. She’s aware of cases when women have had to use ash, dust and soil to soak up their periods. Buying a pack of sanitary pads is a luxury in this poverty-stricken belt. Despite cramping and pain, women here would hide it away and pretend like it doesn't exist. The sign of misogyny, of the feminine as the other, is dominant in the area. Menstruation is considered dirty and disgusting.

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India is facing a major water crisis and a number of water sector challenges remain unaddressed even today.

India is on the brink of a major water crisis. With drought looming over the southern and western parts of the country, the existing water resources are in peril. Rivers are getting more polluted, their catchments, water-holding and water-harvesting mechanisms are deteriorating and groundwater levels are depleting at an alarming rate.

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Civil society activists champion alternatives to conventional water management solutions implemented by the government.

India, the second largest population in the world, is facing a water crisis with over 600 million people facing acute water shortage, as per a report by Niti Aayog, the government think-tank. India’s water crisis is expected to worsen, threatening the country’s food security as over 80 percent of our water is used in agriculture. Twenty-one cities are likely to run out of groundwater by 2020, despite increasing demand, as per the report.

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Private provision of water services is most successful where the operation and maintenance contracts are offered by the local water users.

India has, over the last 50 years, spent approximately $50 billion on developing water resources and another estimated $7.5 billion on drinking water, with little to show for the money (Devraj 2002). Apart from big dams and irrigation systems, the government has encouraged the digging of millions of tube wells and borewells energised by electric and diesel-driven pumps that now provide half of the country’s irrigation. Still, around 120 million people in India do not have access to safe drinking water, and about 21 percent of all communicable disease in this country are water related.

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This study from Bihar shows that official flood prediction systems are often inadequate to understand the true impact of the floods on the population. Local gendered knowledge can help fill this gap.

“There is a special type of black ant that is visible just before (and during) the onset of heavy rains. They start coming out of the ground in large numbers with their eggs in their mouths and only travel in a straight line, like a railway track,” informs Chandrika Mahato, a keen observer of nature, when asked how he predicts rains and floods.

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Better governance and equitable as well as sustainable use of water resources are essential to solving the deepening water crisis in Darjeeling.

"Darjeeling today has a thriving water business, with a fleet of 105 trucks plying three or four trips a day from April to June, carrying 5500 to 6500 litres of water on each run"

Source: Lama and Rai (2016)  'Chokho Pani: An Interface Between Regional And Environment In Darjeeling'. Himalaya, The Journal Of The Association For Nepal And Himalayan Studies, 36(2), 90-98

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Manual scavengers release manifesto to ensure right to a dignified life.

Hundreds gathered to release the Safai Karmachari Manifesto ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019 at the Indian Social Institute, Delhi on April 4, 2019. The manifesto was released by the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), a movement for the elimination of manual scavenging and restoring the rights of the 1.2 million people who are engaged in this under completely degrading and life-threatening conditions.

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Healthy forests are necessary for healthy rivers and prosperous communities that depend on the river, say experts.

Odisha is home to 11 major rivers of which many are interstate rivers such as the Mahanadi. As climate change makes extreme rainfall events more frequent in the state, there is an urgent need to better manage the rivers and their basins. Most of these rivers are faced with conflicts arising from issues of flood control, sharing water and hydropower, diversion of water for industries and flood control. These problems are frequently aggravated by the unforeseen consequences of continual human interference in the river basins.

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