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Rainwater Harvesting

2006: The waterloo year

The year 2006 will go down as environment’s watershed year. This is not because this year we have had extraordinary success in environmental management; there was also no environmental disaster per se. This year must be remembered because the task of environmental management has come to be even more contested and even more challenged. Protests against environmental degradation have grown. But so have efforts to deny environmental concerns or to dilute regulations.

The laboratory of development

How will vast regions of India, where highly unreliable rainfall makes the difference between famine and sustenance, cope with climate change? Over 85 per cent of the cultivated area in this country is either directly dependent on rain or depends on rain to recharge its groundwater. Seasonal rain provides water for irrigation, drinking and household needs. It provides water to livestock and is necessary to grow fodder for animals. The question is how will these regions cope as rainfall becomes even more variable with climate change?

It's raining GDP

This is the fortnight of India’s budget. Pink and white papers scurry around for comments on what the finance minister will do for India’s economy, completely missing the bigger questions. What will happen if the Indian monsoon fails—or fails in the critical period when farmers sow the kharif crop? What will happen if reservoirs—holding water for drinking or electricity—do not get their supply from the sky? Will we have water to drink in cities? Will we have water and power to operate industries?

Rain or no rain

Last fortnight a dominant image on TV screens was drought. This fortnight, vast parts of the country drowned in water. An uncertain, unpredictable and variable monsoon is still impacting us. Late rain has delayed or jeopardized sowing; or intense rain has thrown life asunder and flowed away rapidly, creating months of (future) scarcity. Regional variations are huge, too. So there is drought in otherwise moist northeast and in paddy-growing Punjab and Haryana. A different monsoon, perhaps signalling the climate-changing times ahead.