Story | Centre for Science and Environment


Social Centre for Rural Initiative and Advancement (SCRIA)

SCRIA has been working in semi-arid and arid areas of Rajasthan and Haryana since 1979. They are involved in organising rural communities, especially women, and promote integrated development. They have aided communities in reviving and creating water harvesting structures (watersheds, traditional tanks, rooftop rainwater harvesting, natural resource management) for drinking and irrigational purposes.  Micro-finance is also provided to promote self-governance and livelihoods development.

Photos for the Media Briefing

CSE fellowship media briefing on Water Bodies in India - Public Spaces, Private Designs

July 26-27, 2011

Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh

This workshop was supported by Jamsetji Tata Trust
Water is keenly contested today. Reports are emerging from across India about water bodies being encroached upon, gobbled up and sucked dry by a combination of forces ranging from industrialisation and urban growth to population pressures and severe pollution.

Front Page Teaser: 

Date: July 26-27, 2011


    Reviving Catch Water
By Gita Kavarana
    Akashganga: The bounties of rain
By Anil Agarwal
      In focus / cover story
    Are water PPPs here to stay?
     News Updates  
    Delhi Water Shortages on Near Horizon  
    UP Stands Up for Groundwater  
     Best Practices
    When Krishaks become Bhagiraths
     Science & Technology
    Bamboo drip
    Drip irrigation stat
    Rain in a Bottle
    Water Quality Standards
     Media Point
    Book Review
    Water Frames
     Water Statistics  
     Reader's Space  
    Case of Ishwariya Village on Roof top Water Harvesting  
     People for Water
     Contributing Authors
    Gita Kavarana
    Nikolas C Steinberg
    Sumedha Malaviya
    Romit Sen
    Mohammed Shehfar

Reviving Catch Water

When we were in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district in December 2010 as part of our interactions with village communities on water issues, we saw that irrigation was largely groundwater-based, like in many other parts of the country. Dhar district is one of the overexploited districts of Madhya Pradesh and is a fluoride affected area. When we asked the farmers why they were not doing any groundwater recharging, they said that although this was necessary, this work was beyond their capacities. And this was in Madhya Pradesh, where the country’s largest watershed development programme was running successfully since 1994, the Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Programme. Our travels across several villages in Madhya Pradesh made us realise that the idea of water harvesting needed to be revived and pushed to gain momentum to become a nationwide movement.

Nearly 12 years ago, CSE launched its campaign on rainwater harvesting. We have come a long way since then – rainwater harvesting is firmly placed in the policy paradigm. Many states have incorporated rainwater harvesting in their policies, laws and schemes. Many NGOs are working on rainwater harvesting and enthusiastic and committed individuals are doing a fantastic job of showing what can be done by simply holding rainwater where it falls. The Central Ground Water Board has prepared a master plan for artificial recharging for the entire country. Yet, there is a yawning gap between these plans and groundlevel implementation. The National Water Mission has a target of improving water efficiency by 20% by 2020. What about having a target for groundwater recharging?

When CSE launched its rainwater harvesting programme, nobody understood what it was all about. Anil Agarwal, on the other hand, firmly believed that capturing India’s monsoon rains during the short period of not more than 3 months in the year, could be the answer to India’s water problems. He said,” an average Indian village needs 1.2 hectares of land to capture 6.57 million litres of water in a year for cooking and drinking. If there is a drought and rainfall levels dip to half the normal, the land required would rise to a mere 2.4 hectare. Thus, there is no village in India that cannot meet its basic drinking and cooking needs through rainwater harvesting”.

With this in mind, CSE launched its campaign on rainwater harvesting. Catch Water was the campaign newsletter. The newsletter, true to the campaign’s aim of “making water everybody’s business”, endeavoured to be the people’s voice and to showcase their efforts. It was initially brought out in several Indian languages as well as in English. Somewhere, along the way, this effort got lost.

Today, we are trying to revive the newsletter. This is the first issue, and in this year, it will be brought out every two months. We request our readers to send us in water stories from all corners of the country – the issues, the problems, innovative solutions, people’s solutions and technological solutions. We would like to disseminate these efforts in all areas of water management – urban, rural, water supply, sanitation, water quality, rivers, floods, pricing, industrial use, watershed – in fact, anything and everything to with water. This first issue remembers the initial campaign days with a piece by Anil Agarwal.

Read on and we look forward to your contributions and your efforts to make this newsletter truly a voice of the people.

Gita Kavarana


Front Page Teaser: 

Reviving Catch Water

The CSE campaign for people's water management

Energy Drinks samples tested

The Pollution Monitoring Laboratory of Delhi non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tested samples of eight brands of energy drinks. The aim was to check the standards energy drinks were following. The results showed that the caffeine levels in most brands exceeded 145 ppm. Only two brands—XXX Rejuve and XXX Nicofix— stuck to the 145 ppm limit (See ‘Energy drinks report card’).

Front Page Teaser: 

CSE laboratory tests show energy drinks contain excess caffeine; their market grows without checks

Read full DTE story: Cap energy drinks

Water frames

Standards for harvested rainwater

Based on WHO drinking water quality standards and field studies conducted in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Nepal, the Rain Water Harvesting Implementation Network (RAIN) has established the following standards:

To achieve these standards, RAIN has recommended the following techniques:

1. Sampling and collection: 

Water Statistics

What changes does drip irrigation bring to farming?

Study: In a 2010 study, “Impact of Drip Irrigation on Farming System: Evidence
from Southern India” by Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, researches examined the before-and-after effects of 50 farms growing bananas that switched from sprinkler irrigation to drip irrigation between 2007 and 2008 in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. The results are as follows:

Stay on Movement of Bhopal Waste

The Jabalpur Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, on July 28, ordered the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to not allow any movement of toxic waste from Bhopal's Union Carbide site to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) incineration facility at Butibori near Nagpur. The movement has been stayed till the next hearing which is scheduled for August 11. The court also directed the pollution control boards of both the states to inspect the defunct plant site in Bhopal.

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