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Needed efficient local governance: what practitioners say on rainwater harvesting

By IMPRI Team 

The three days Online Certificate Training Programme on the theme “Implementing Rain Water Conservation: Practitioners’ Perspectives on Rainwater Harvesting and Efficient Local Water Governance and Resilience”, a joint initiative of the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development(CECCSD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, commenced on 2nd August 2022.
Inaugurating the session Dr Souravie Ghimiray Research Program Officer at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panellists.
Day 1 of the program included eminent speakers Mr Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI as conveners, Dr Indira Khurana, Vice Chair at Tarun Bharat Sangh, Chairperson at Indian Himalayan River Basin Council, Prof Anamika Barua, Professor in Department of Humanities and Social Science at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Dr Jenia Mukherjee, Assistant Professors at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Kharagpur.
Commencing the program, the convener for the session, Mr Tikender Singh Panwar gave a very brief introduction on looking upon local governance, and urban planning which is leading to massive land change.
Dr Indira Khurana, Vice Chair at Tarun Bharat Sangh, Chairperson at Indian Himalayan River Basin Council:
Dr Indira Khurana based her talk on “Water Conservations for climate resilience.
Examples from Rajasthan and Maharashtra”, which covered a wide range of topics and experiences from Rajasthan and Maharashtra impacts of climate change and developing resilience understanding. She also gave insights into the various initiatives undertaken by India.
Talking about Climate Change impact, Dr Indira Khuranna talked about major issues which are being caused due to climate change such as glacier melting, sea level rise etc. There is an increase in water crises such as declining and contaminated groundwater and drying up of water bodies. She also explains the importance of the river and groundwater relationship. If the connection between any of them snaps then as both river flows continue to be tampered with on one side and groundwater extraction continues unabated on the other, water resources will simply run out, tipping the balance toward water scarcity or floods.
How infrastructure is important for running rainwater. The river water must be allowed to flow. She concluded by sharing the positive case study of Agrani river Sangli, Maharashtra West Sangli and Sherni River in Rajasthan where the rivers are being revived and are now the lifeline of various villages. Thus, water conservation structures with community participation and local people are leads boost in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, biodiversity, and agricultural production. Water security holds the key to resilience, peace, and security and results in an increase in the happiness index.
Prof Anamika Barua, Professor at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati:
Prof Anamika Barua elaborated on the topic “Water in the age of climate change. What does water policy tells us?” She talked about the water policy and approaches to remove water scarcity. There is no escape to it and thus we need to conserve and adapt it. The dimensions of policy were discussed. She also explained the reason of India’s water resource development from 1950-1980. Bengal Famine 1943, food security concerns, growing population and self-sufficiency in food production, and uneven distribution of water across the country which leads to the importance of creating infrastructure such as large check dams, and developing irrigation infrastructure.
She also talked about the green revolution and its aftermath and Central Water Commission. She drew attention to the development and protection of groundwater. She also discussed what NWP offer for Rainwater Harvesting and conservation differences between 1987 NWP and NWP 2002 and the need to revive the policy.
Dr Jenia Mukherjee, Assistant Professors at Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology(IIT), Kharagpur:
Dr Jenia Mukherjee shared her views by presenting “Rethinking adaptation and social resilience: Lessons from RWH Project in Indian Sundarbans” Talking about Rainwater Harvesting projects in two blocks of Sunderbans, She discussed the concept of riskscapes and even different hazards in this type of area like cyclones, political corruption, tiger attacks socio ecology template. She explained how all the dimensions of disaster resilience can be achieved at the community or local levels. There were challenges in access to water they lack common property resources and the whole project was hampered.


Day 2 of the program included eminent panelist Dr. Fawzia Tarannum, Assisted Professor in the Department of Regional Water Studies at TEHRI Advanced Studies, Ms Anjali Makhija. CEO, S. M. Sehgal Foundation, Gurugram, Dr. Brajesh Kumar Dubey, Associate Professor – Environmental Engineering and Management, and In-charge, Sustainable Engineering and Circular Economy Research Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur (IIT-KGP).
The patron for the session was Mr Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI.
Starting with the session, Dr Souravie Ghimiray, IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the programme with an introduction to eminent panellists.
Mr Tikender Singh set up the stage for panellists by sharing significant issues related to urban management, the current state of climate change, and the importance of creating a proper rainwater harvesting system
Dr Fawzia Tarranum, Assisted Professor in the Department of Regional Water Studies at TEHRI Advanced Studies:
Dr Fawzia Tarranum presented the topic “Rainwater Harvesting Design and Management” which covered various topics -water stress, overdependence on groundwater in urban and rural areas, management challenges, blue, green and grey infrastructure. She also discussed the case study of Tanker Mafia: Case from Lathur which explains why we need rainwater harvesting as per capita water availability is declining. In between, she also talked about various missions and programmes in India some of them are Jal Shakti Abhiyan and Jal Jeevan Mission. She talks about mismanaged urbanization, and encroachments leading to urban flooding.
She explained various rainwater harvesting system techniques for roofs, roads, parks and paved areas. She discussed real projects of rainwater harvesting set up, working components and maintenance in Bangalore and rural rainwater harvesting which showed the climate reality project in the Pune district. She also mentioned some calculations and figures related to rainwater harvesting potential and how good it is to consume water.
She also talked about infrastructures such as gabion structure, bio swales and sponge city concept which are helping in reviving ponds and trenches. She also gave insights into pitfall and maintenance of rainwater harvesting in Delhi, Eco restoration in Sikandarpur Village, Gurgaon.
Mr Tikender Tarannum raises concern regarding the crisis which are not getting addressed. He also stressed the need for interdisciplinary and integration of the development rule process for massive land patterns. He also spoke regarding rainwater harvesting in Shimla.
Ms Anjali Makhija, CEO, S. M. Sehgal Foundation, Gurugram:
Ms Anjali gave insights regarding “Women Leadership in the governance of Rain Water Harvesting” and the working of Sehgal Foundation, its mission in terms of planning evaluation, water augmentation and conservation. She stressed increasing vulnerability among women due to water scarcity and clean drinking, leading to absenteeism of adolescent girls from school. She also thrashes about women’s participation in both water and agriculture due to the lack of women technical experts and role models. She also emphasised creating a centric approach to sustainable rainwater conservation as women are water managers and concluded by speaking about National Water Mission.
Mr Brajesh Kumar Dubey, Associate Professor – Environmental Engineering and Management, and In-charge, Sustainable Engineering and Circular Economy Research Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur (IIT-KGP):
Mr Brajesh Kumar Dubey presented a brief presentation on “Challenges of Wastewater Treatment- Impact on surface water”. He informed and educated the participants on how wastewater can be treated and if we treat wastewater properly then a lot of demand for surface water will be fulfilled. He also discussed challenges of wastewater management some of them are-.He explained regarding working on wastewater treatment in IIT Kharagpur. He emphasised creating a system in designing out waste and pollution and keeping materials in use and regenerating natural resources.
Black water and grey water. He discussed pollutants of poverty, pollutants of growing prosperity and emerging pollutants and also measure for mitigation of water pollution such as regular monitoring of water and wastewater, reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation, effluent and sewage treatment plant and construction of proper storm drains and settling ponds., discharge effluents as per standards. The plastics in the sea are an alarming issue which is impacting the ocean, health and the economy thus there are some projects going on for the sustainability of the ocean.
Mr. Tikender Singh Panwar discussed the impacts of climate change on humans and water over time. he also told that there is a definite shift and conversion on what we are planning and things happening hence we need proper governance. He also gave some instances from the study of Delhi where water demand is high and decentralized.


Day 3 of the program included eminent panellist V R Raman, National Convenor, Public Health Resource Network, Ranjan Panda, Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha and Prof Arun Kumar, Professor, Department of Hydro and Renewable Energy, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee.
The patron for the session were conveners Prof Anil K Gupta, Head ECDRM, NIDM, New Delhi and Mr Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI.
Starting with the session, Dr. Souravie Ghimiray, IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the programme with an introduction to eminent panelists.
Prof Anil Gupta gave overview of rain water management and importance of Rain Water Harvesting .He discussed the common city problems and how rain water harvesting prevents various disaster. India being the diverse country we face many challenges like heat wave, floods, drought. At the end he welcomed everyone and hopes that the webinars helps the participants in finding the best solution to the problems
V R Raman, National Convenor, Public Health Resource Network:
V R Raman, National Convenor, Public Health Resource Network and Amuliya Miriyala presented the presentation on “Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation: An agenda for WASH Sector Organizations” which comprises the topic -climate linkages of WASH , issue of WASH climate linkages, reason and its agenda. He elucidated upon the impact of climate change on WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) sectors; he explained the whole narrative of climate change keeping water at the centre of understanding.
The water consumption has increased Multifoods and is expected to increase shortly because the rapid growth of industries and growing urbanization have resulted in acute water shortages. Rather, the occurrence of floods, droughts, and heatwaves have increased along with the mortalities due to waterborne disease. he highlighted the research taken up by WaterAid which reflected, most toilets were unsafe, rather rural washrooms were not only unsafe but were a hazard for the environment, they continued to find that many washrooms are safe but are not sustainable in nature. Another study was taken up by WaterAid, regarding the suitability of washrooms following the terrains. Most of the toilets were not suitable in their specific area.
Another study carried out shows that the washrooms were not enough distance from their water source. The main trend around the nations has been decreasing along with over-drafting of groundwater at an unprecedented rate All the changes and newly established instruments should be following the problem of climate change and the financing should also have a major leap.
Ranjan Panda, Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha:
Ranjan Panda presented the presentation on “Rainwater Harvesting in India: Learning from community experiences”. He gave a general introduction in terms of water availability demand scarcity and variability in different terrains. In his presentation, he told about the increasing gap between freshwater availability and the demand of fresh water.
Though groundwater is replenishable but due to water stress groundwater is depleting and hence not able to replenish. The coastal area is facing issues with the quality of water as there is an increase in cyclone regions due to an increase in sea level. Tanks are an integral part of our culture. They are appropriate for retaining surface water. He shared stories of Bijapur Kata and Lakshmi Bandh, a lifeline of thousands of villagers. Decentralised water resource management is key to ensuring water security and building climate resilience.
Prof Arun Kumar, Professor, Department of Hydro and Renewable Energy, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee:
Prof Arun Kumar shared a presentation on “Rainwater Harvesting: Motivation, Water Governance and Resilience”, where he talked about the concept and methods of Rainwater harvesting -community level, individual level, rural model, urban model challenges in urban water sector. He discussed various policies some of them are- National Action Plan on Climate Change 2the 008, Water Mission and their objectives. He discussed water governance rain water harvesting, social acceptance and water quality and health, economic viability. He explained the regarding Rain water harvesting and its importance. He also showed working of rainwater harvesting model established in IIT Roorkee.
Closing the 3-Day training session conveyor, Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI, gave his concluding remarks and thanked all panellists. He underlined that many essential points had been brought up in training. He complimented the entire NIDM and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI) team on the successful conduction of the training program.
The training program ended with a voter thanks by Dr Souravie Ghimiray.
Acknowledgement: Kashish Prasad, research intern at IMPRI



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