Get involved in YOUR city and locality - Improve Your World
Get involved in YOUR city and locality - Improve Your World
Get involved in YOUR city and locality 
Improve Your World Home | About Us | Sitemap | Search | Contact Us 



   Home >> Library index >> Rain Water Harvesting >> water resources management / Info design strategy

- Kiran Kulkarni.

(This 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), Sangli, Maharashtra) 

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:

The 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.”


In 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.


The scene on public water supply:


1)When 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.


2)But 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.


Thus 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 for help


Water that is             -            physically available

-            having appropriate quality for drinking purpose and for agriculture and other industries.

-                     Accessible

-                     When required

-                     in necessary quantity.


Thus water security can be defined as follows –  

Water 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.                                 


The great Mahatma Gandhiji  also reflected on this issue and said – “the world has enough for everyone’s need ; but not for anyone’s greed.”


Hence 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 manner.


In 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.


Once 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.


Now 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.


It 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.  


IRCED Organic movement:


IRCED 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 asset.


In 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.


The water requirements of various crops is given below –



Cu. m. per Ton

















Some products of Animal origin

Cu. m. per Ton














It 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.”


Considering 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. 


For 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.


Considering all the above facts we recommend some steps towards community based system to achieve water and food security –

  • Maintain water as a community resource.
  • Adopt an integrated approach to village resource development.
  • Ensure people’s participation in the regeneration of village assets.
  • Strengthen village institutions to enable people’s participation.
  • Promote decision making forums.
  • Develop a legal framework that supports local rights to manage resources.
Please send back your valuable comments on this article.
Yours Sincerely
Kiran Kulkarni,
Secretary - IRCED & Ashoka Fellow
Institute of Rural Credit & Entrepreneurship Development (IRCED)
6, Nishant Apt., Nagaraj Colony, Vishrambaug,
SANGLI - 416415
Maharashtra State - INDIA
Tel. 0233 - 2302125
Fax: 0233 - 2301473