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December 11, 2019 Dry toilets have long been hailed as a sustainable solution to the sanitation and waste management crisis facing India today, but have been overshadowed by more modern toilet designs.
A traditional dry toilet. Image: India Science Wire
December 4, 2019 To adapt well & build resilience, climate change strategies need to factor in efforts towards water security, writes Vanita Suneja, Regional Advocacy Manager (South Asia), WaterAid.
Image credit: WaterAid/Prashanth Vishwanathan
December 2, 2019 Water stewardship is an approach predicated on the concept that water is a shared resource and so water risks are also shared risks that everyone in a catchment will face
Picture credit: Romit Sen
November 27, 2019 Policy matters this week
An irrigation well at Randullabad, Maharashtra (Source: India Water Portal on Flickr)
November 18, 2019 Bangalore's water utility is understaffed, under financed and unable to service the city's water needs.
Image credit: Citizen Matters
Embankments in Bihar: The inapt and futile defence against floods
Embankments in Bihar have failed miserably against flood protection. Take a look on these frequently asked questions (FAQs) on why they failed and what are the possible solutions to floods in Bihar? Swati Bansal posted 6 months 3 weeks ago

What is the history of floods in Bihar and why is it prone to floods?

An embankment in Madhubani after a week of repairing (Source: Santosh Yadav via IWP Flickr albums)
Women hold the key to dietary diversity
A study finds that women's control over income and better decisionmaking power can go a long way in improving dietary diversity and tackling malnutrition in rural India. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 6 months 3 weeks ago

Evidence world over shows that small scale agricultural production does very little to deal with malnutrition and food insecurity among rural poor.

Empowering women to improve nutritional outcomes (Image Source: India Water Portal)
Not in the interest of women farmers!
The new farm related bills will spell doom for women workers who form the bulk of small and marginal sections of Indian agriculture, warns Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM). Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 7 months ago

Three farm-related Bills were recently passed in the Parliament by the BJP led government at the Center, which have subsequently received presidential assent.

Farm women, overworked and underpaid (Image Source: India Water Portal)
Groundwater recharge needs grassroots solutions: A study of two techniques in Kerala
Although groundwater is emerging as a critical issue and has managed to encourage new government schemes, a generic solution of rainwater recharge cannot be applied across different regions. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months ago

In Kerala, around half the urban population and 80% of the rural population depend on open wells on their domestic water needs. But in the last decade, the majority of observatory wells recorded an average annual decline of half a meter.

Rainwater is captured from the rooftop of the community hall and diverted to the sump before it is pumped into the open well. (Image by Authors)
A rainbow recovery post-COVID
The movement towards radical ecological democracy needs to combine the practical and policy-level grassroots work with broader mobilization. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months ago

There is a disquieting hush across the world as the linkage between the planet’s health and human well-being became pronounced during the times of the pandemic. The deepening socio-economic and ecological crises caused by patterns of production and consumption are being increasingly recognised.

The women of Deccan Development Society sanghams move towards more localized natural resource management (Image: Deccan Development Society, Facebook Page)
Forests, the fast disappearing treasure troves of forest dwellers
Rapidly disappearing forests are not only a threat to the biodiversity, but spell death knell for the livelihoods of forest dwellers who depend on them for food and survival. Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 7 months ago

Forests are disappearing at a fast rate in India.

Dried mahua flowers (Image Source: Pankaj Oudhia via Wikimedia Commons)
How forest-dwelling communities are braving the pandemic
Local communities and gram sabhas better understand the local complexities than the local administrations while dealing with a crisis situation. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 1 week ago

The pandemic and lockdown measures have had a drastic impact on a large population of poor and marginalised communities, causing loss of livelihoods and employment, food insecurity and socio-economic distress. While vulnerabilities, atrocities and injustices faced by forest communities due to forest, conservation and economic policies have increased d

The non timber forest products collection season, which is mainly in the months of April to June coincided exactly with the lockdown (Image: CIFOR, Flickr Commons)
Water wisdom of the Gonds of Garha Mandla
A peek into history shows how the Gonds of Garha Mandla managed their water needs with great ingenuity and wisdom by constructing and maintaining water tanks . Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 7 months 1 week ago

The Gond dynasties mainly flourished in the Central highlands of India. This region includes Sagar, Bhopal, and nearly half of Narmada valley, including the flanks of Vindhya and the Satpuda mountain ranges of southern Madhya Pradesh. The principal states of the Gonds were Garha-Mandla (1300 to 1789), Devgarh, Kherla and Chanda.

Kolatal, a traditional tank in Garha region of Jabalpur (Image Source: K. G. Vyas)
Poor implementation of forest rights act hurts tribals
Need to recognise the rights of forest-dwelling and tribal communities over their traditional lands. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 1 week ago

In pre-colonial times, India’s forestlands were mostly under the use of the local communities. Forest policies led to centralisation in colonial times with forestland being subject to commercial over-exploitation for revenue generation purposes. This, in turn, led to land alienation of forest dwellers and an overall increase in deforestation.

Indigenous groups that lived and helped maintain the forests for centuries have been undermined (Image: Baiga women, Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 3.0)
Governance lessons that could keep us prepared for pandemics
Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group speaks on rethinking aspects of our governance system in post-pandemic times. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 2 weeks ago

Unabashed assaults by human beings on the natural ecological system have caused the coronavirus to spread in the first place.

Decentralised governance systems that allow to adapt and learn are best placed to deal with disasters (Image: Kantsmith, Pixabay)