article has been written to present in Ashoka Fellows meet on
Water issues at Academy of Development Science (ADS), Kashele,
Tal. Karjat, Dist. Raigad, Maharashtra State, India from 29th
August to 30th August 2004. This article has been written
and presented by Mr. Kiran Kulkarni, Secretary & Ashoka Fellow,
Institute of Rural Credit & Entrepreneurship Development (IRCED),
Some 70% of the total amount of
water utilised by human beings, go into food production. Water
is hence considered an important variable in controlling the dynamics
of food security situation within a country. Few however, realise
that transboundary trade of food items can also help overcome
the physical water scarcities in water deficit regions.
food security definition specified by FAO says “Food Security
means the food which is physically available, culturally accepted,
nutritious and accessible when required and in necessary quantity.”
the same way in the light of water scarcity, particularly when
it is manmade we must prepare ourselves for water security. The
transboundary issues of water are related to international affairs,
but within the country the people of India must be aware of certain
issues affecting their own resources, otherwise available and
accessible to them. The social, economical,
political, cultural and behavioural issues related to water
are to be understood. One small example will be helpful here to
demonstrate the issue of Water security.
scene on public water supply:
water is available in plenty there is no queue, everybody takes
the water as per requirement and behave silently. There is no
requirement of water to be stored. It is also seen that some mischivous
people even open the tap and water is wasted. When it needs to
be repaired nobody cares.
when there is scarcity of water there is long queue with vessels.
People start fighting to get more amount of water is evident.
At home level, we can see even small vessels filled with water.
When tap needs to be repaired, people raise those issues at Gram
Panchayat level, and subsequent Govt. authorities. People or their
leaders will not take initiative to collect some money voluntarily
and get the tap repaired.
water security needs to be defined taking into consideration the
above issue at village level, state level, national level and
regional level. Some words from food security can be taken here
having appropriate quality for drinking purpose and for
agriculture and other industries.
in necessary quantity.
water security can be defined as follows –
security means the water which is physically available, with appropriate
quality for drinking purpose and for agriculture & industries,
accessible, when required and in necessary quantity.
great Mahatma Gandhiji also
reflected on this issue and said – “the world has enough for everyone’s
need ; but not for anyone’s greed.”
we must understand the core issue of water that it is anyone’s
greed which is affecting the water security of many. Take for
instance the countries like Israel, Jordan, have very less water
compared to India, but they are managing their resources in such
a manner that they are feeding their countrymen and exporting
the surplus. At the same time the countries like Netherlands have
more water which they are managing and utilising in appropriate
case of India, we must understand our own culture, our own resources,
our own knowledge and augment the quality and accessibility of
water. The freshwater scenario in the world amounts to less than
1% of the total available water. But in India we have many resources
of freshwater in terms of rivers. Culturally we are worshipping
these resources for our better livelihood.
upon a time India was known as country of Gold. This fact attracted
British and other people towards India. Ultimately these people
looted the precious sources and made India a country with beggar’s
bowl. To worsen this situation even after independence we made
our people to think and behave like beggars. Where is our courage,
where is our own goals, where is our own initiatives; all we lost
in the hands of power when British were there and now in stretched
arms of money.
it is the hidden fact that many profit oriented people are concentrating
on water resources to gain access, control and use it at their
will. In a democratic country like India, there is no people’s
power or control.
is the time now to make them aware and build movements to save
our precious water resources. Even the UNDP report has suggested
if India is to be developed, it is the people of India who need
to be developed. Even a smaller change, which they can understand
culturally can change their entire lifestyle and the country.
We can see some of these examples around us. Chipko movement,
Appiko movement, Salt movement, Gaoki movement or now Govt. of
Maharashtra is promoting sanitation movement.
organic movement in the drought prone area of Atpadi taluka in
Sangli district of Maharashtra state is around making the people
aware about importance of water and that it is the community’s
Atpadi taluka, a big water canal project is under construction.
It is known as Tembhu Project. A water from river Krishna is to
be lifted and supplied through canals to drought prone region.
When we discussed about use of this extra and abundant water,
many farmers said they will cultivate cash crops like sugarcane.
It was a danger signal for us, because we had seen the waterlogged
and saline areas around Sangli due to sugarcane like crop cultivation.
We decided to give them an alternative cultivation practice. Thus
we landed into organic farming. We made them aware about various
facts including or the main the less water requirement. And thus
we could achieve success for organic farming in drought prone
area. Organic farming is also useful in water intensive
areas to save the land from becoming saline or water logged.
water requirements of various crops is given below –
m. per Ton
products of Animal origin
m. per Ton
is the fact that “As people get richer, their eating habits change.
They begin to eat more meat, eggs, milk, fresh fruits, cheeses
and high value vegetables.”
this fact we have given water resistant and low water
requirement crops as alternative in drought prone areas.
e.g. Drumstick, pulses, maize, bajra, jawar, pomegranate, grapes,
etc. At the same time we are promoting Vermi compost as effective
fertiliser for these crops.
instance, it takes approximately 1,200 ton of water to produce
1 tonne of wheat. So, import of one ton of the cereal, amounts
to importing 1,000 ton of water in a virtual sense. This is especially
favourable, if the importing region is water scarce and water
intensive crops (needing high amount of water to grow) are being
imported. This transaction relieves the stress of finding and
using huge quantities of freshwater domestically to produce the
crop. The water so saved, can be effectively reallocated for more
productive and profitable uses elsewhere.
all the above facts we recommend some steps towards community
based system to achieve water and food security –
water as a community resource.
an integrated approach to village resource development.
people’s participation in the regeneration of village assets.
village institutions to enable people’s participation.
decision making forums.
a legal framework that supports local rights to manage resources.
Please send back your valuable
comments on this article.
Secretary - IRCED & Ashoka Fellow
Institute of Rural Credit & Entrepreneurship Development
6, Nishant Apt., Nagaraj Colony, Vishrambaug,
SANGLI - 416415
Maharashtra State - INDIA
Tel. 0233 - 2302125
Fax: 0233 - 2301473