I was in Kathmandu last week. An interesting time to be in Nepal as a political observer, watching the Jhalanath Khanal-led government run out of time to cobble together a coalition. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there as a political observer. My task was to meet with the top brass in the government’s Education department. And to try to figure out if an environment programme that has managed to excite and engage school students in India, would work its magic in Nepal, too.
Dating back 200 years, tribes in northeast India have used bamboo drip irrigation as a means of bringing water to seasonal crops. This timeless and traditional technology uses locally available material while harnessing the forces of gravity. An assortment of holed bamboo shoots zig-zag downhill, diverting the natural flow of streams and springs across terraced cropland. The advantages of using bamboo are two-fold: it prevents leakage, increasing crop yield with less water, and makes use of natural, local, and inexpensive material.