State level workshop on ‘Mainstreaming Rainwater Harvesting' at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Rajya Gramya Vikas Sansthan (SIRDUP), Bakshi Ka Talab, Lucknow
Lucknow, May 9-10, 2013: CSE organised a state level workshop on "Mainstreaming Rainwater Harvesting' at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Rajya Gramya Vikas Sansthan (SIRDUP), Bakshi Ka Talab, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on May 9-10, 2013
A state level workshop was organised by CSE as part of its various capacity building activities being undertaken as the National Key Resource Centre (KRC) supported by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. The two day workshop main focus was on the source sustainability for drinking water supply in rural areas of UP through rainwater harvesting. The objectives of the workshop were:
To generate awareness about the best management practices (BMPs), state of art knowledge and reforms in the area of rainwater harvesting (RWH) for sustainable rural drinking water supply in state of Uttar Pradesh.
To discuss with key stakeholders the concept, issues/barriers and experiences in mainstreaming of RWH for sustainability of rural drinking water supply.
To explore capacity building support required to implement projects aimed at mainstreaming RWH for sustainable drinking water supply in the state.
The participants included state government officials (both policy makers and technical), PRI representatives /elected representatives from water deficit districts and other stakeholders (practitioners, NGO’s – local/ national / international, academics, researchers) involved in advocacy for securing source sustainability in rural drinking water supply in state of Uttar Pradesh.
Mr. Rakesh Chandra, Special Secretary (Home), Government of Uttar Pradesh inaugurated the workshop and during his address to the participants stated - about the misconception of enough water being available in the rural UP. Mr Chandra emphasised that due to the excessive pumping of groundwater for irrigation and other uses the handpumps were drying up and access to clean water is a major problem in the rural areas. Most of the ‘talabs’ in villages are on the verge of extinction - encroached and built upon. He emphasised that the village cadre needs to be trained on rain water harvesting and on its maintenance.
Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla, Programme Director - Water, CSE setting the tone for the meeting presented an overview of key themes. He stated that the public water supply is getting expensive and in situ augmentation of sources including rainwater harvesting are time tested good practices that will help in making rural drinking water supply – sustainable and affordable.
Shri Akhil Kumar Mittal, Managing Director, U.P Jal Nigam, addressing the participants informed the existing and upcoming programme of the utility towards ensuring accessibility and availability of safe drinking water. Ms Meena Agarwal Director, WSSO Government of U.P also provided the overview of various state level rural water supply programme initiatives towards achieving the goal of National Drinking Water Mission.
In the technical sessions - Dr. Vardani, Deputy Director, SIRDUP and Shri K.B. Biswas, Regional Director, Central Groundwater Board emphasised on the fact that both groundwater decline and groundwater quality can be successfully addressed through rainwater harvesting tools and techniques. Dr P.N.Shah, Director State Remote Sensing Agency speaking at the workshop shared with participant’s the state of art tools and techniques and availability of requisite information including mapping of existing wetlands in the state.
During the interactive session it was clear that certain areas within U.P require priority attention – namely the water stressed Bundelkhand region and some arsenic prone districts. The session included presentations from grass root NGOs who discussed about their initiatives addressing the drinking water problems in the Bundelkhand region highlighting the need of afforestation alongwith rainwater harvesting in securing source sustainability and local initiative of construction of check dams under able support of elected representatives (Gram Pradhan) in Saharanpur district. During the discussions it emerged that the stakeholders are keen to learn more on various rain water harvesting tools and techniques – namely check dams, on-channel recharge methods, dug wells, revival of ponds and roof top harvesting.
The workshop was attended by over 95 participants. The technical session and panel discussion contributions and presentations also Prof. Vibhuti Rai - University of Lucknow, experts from State Water and Sanitation Support Organisation, UP Council of Agriculture Research, Development Alternatives, Integrated Water Resources Management and Water and Land Management Institute. The workshop had active participation of key international donor agencies namely – UNICEF, WaterAid India and GIZ who also shared their experiences on the issue.
The workshop concluded with highlighting the urgent need of capacity building programmes to plan, design and implement rainwater harvesting systems in the state and invited CSE conduct training of real users and implementers - government officials, PRI and others.