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All about Drip Irrigation (Download pdf)

CSE’s Jal Swaraj campaign is about empowering civil society to manage its own water. By reviving — with appropriate adaptation and integration of modern systems — the traditional technology of rainwater harvesting. While the genesis of the campaign is in rural India, sustained by innovative local practitioners, the campaign also explores the tremendous potential of this system in the urban arena. Its urban strategy is based on two principles: that local people must play a leading role in conserving and managing water; and that they must be provided authentic information and technical know-how to take this movement forward.

CSE campaigners have been working on both these fronts, with considerable success.

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Vijay Saluja, superintendent, training, NDMC, at a CSE networking meeting in Delhi

Training policy makers
The rains have been abundant in most parts of the country this year. Predictably, state governments have been on an overdrive, coming up with policies and legislations — the key mantra being "exploring the potential of rainwater harvesting (RWH)". Municipal corporations in several metros have announced stringent norms and strict deadlines for installing structures in all buildings — both public and private. Interestingly, CSE engineers were invited by almost all civic bodies to hold training workshops to prepare their engineers, plumbers and masons to   tackle the growing demand from citizens for technical know-how on RWH.

The state government has been extremely prompt in coming up with various policy measures — notifications, by-laws, financial incentives — concerning RWH. Not all of them have yielded results. Lack of a proper enforcement machinery and indifferent monitoring have, in fact, evoked criticisms from experts. CSE has been keeping a vigil. It recently organised a network meeting, which provided a platform for all RWH practitioners in the city, to share ideas, innovations and concerns.

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Groundwater Prospect Map of Delhi
CSE’s www.rainwaterharvesting.org website presents this clickable map of the city, that provides answers to some vital questions. It tells a reader who is concerned about the city’s falling water table what the exact water level in his or her area is. It goes further than that. It provides all the information that a person would require to set up a rainwater harvesting structure. Soil profile, geological features, rainfall pattern, quality of water—all these details can now be accessed by anyone who visits this site.

Hearteningly, members from all government agencies, Delhi Jal Board (DJB), New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) attended the event and interacted with the citizens. A joint action plan was drawn up, envisaging a proactive people-government collaboration.

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A rainwater harvesting workshop in Progress in Mumbai

Uttar Pradesh
Kanpur may lie in the Indo-Gangetic plains, yet its cup of water woes is overflowing. The city’s groundwater table has been falling at an alarming rate in the past couple of years, and a recent State Groundwater Department survey report reveals high level of chromium in the water due to unregulated discharge of effluents from leather factories. The Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) is convinced that the only sustainable solution lies in practicing and popularising RWH. Anita Bhatnagar Jain, the enterprising vice chairperson of KDA, initiated a workshop and CSE was invited to set the ball rolling. Similar programmes were then organised in others cities such as Luknow, Meerut and Ghaziabad.

Andhra Pradesh
The Chandrababu Naidu government had set tough targets for its officials this summer. With towns and cities reeling under a severe water crisis, the authorities could not afford to let a single drop of rain go waste. As the preparations began on a war footing, CSE engineers were invited to conduct a series of training workshops in six municipalities — Hyderabad, Kurnool, Tirupathi, Vishakhapatnam, Guntur and Warangal.

Tihar: Sweeping the bastions
It was certainly one of CSE’s most challenging assignments — teaching the residents of India’s largest prison the basics of RWH. CSE was invited by jail authorities to hold a training programme in Tihar in September 2003. The two harvesting structures, built within the premises in 2002 under CSE’s technical guidance, have yielded rich dividends—pulling up the groundwater table by two meters after the first bout of showers this year. The residents, especially those familiar with masonry work, are keen to learn more. And the administrators are eager to capitalise on this. They have decided to set up RWH harvesting structures covering the entire jail complex, spread over 400 acres. The construction work will be conducted by the residents, with support from CSE. The workshop, attended by 53 prisoners, signaled the launch of this unique project.

The concept of RWH is just gaining ground in Mumbai, and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been quick to respond. It has come up with a legislation which not only promotes RWH but also makes recycling of wastewater mandatory in all public buildings. It used CSE’s expertise to train a group of professionals that will play a crucial role in this process — the Brihanmumbai Licensed Plumbers Association. CSE also addressed an event that was jointly organised by BMC and USAEP.

Tamil Nadu
The Jayalalitha government stirred a hornet’s nest when it issued an ordinance announcing that all buildings within the purview of the state municipal authority would have to set up RWH structures within a month. The municipality — not equipped to deal with the situation — failed to provide adequate technical or infrastructural support to the harried citizens. But CSE believes that the CM’s move may infuse some life into the 1994 Chennai groundwater legislation — that has till now done little to check the alarming drop in the city’s groundwater table. The government’s real challenge will now be in ensuring that the citizens are provided access to reliable data on the technology of RWH.

Stabilising groundwater levels
Results from CSE’s model projects in Delhi
Designed by CSE staff, maintained by the people, this chain of model sites in Delhi is used to demonstrate the impact of rainwater harvesting on the quality and quantity of groundwater. CSE monitors the water levels throughout the year.

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In one such move, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Tamil Nadu Zone, organised a seminar on RWH for civil engineers. CSE held a technical session, focussing on maintenance issue.


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