Water Conservation
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Water Conservation & Management

Just as 20th century was focused on oil concerns the 21st century will be dedicated to issues concerning safe and adequate drinking water. As we know major chunk of water in our country is utilized to irrigate the fields, and farmers, who are victims of irregular power supply, in order to ensure sufficient water for their fields, switch on the pumps night long wasting water and power both. If we continue to treat water as cheap resource that can be wasted, not even the best technologies could solve the problem. With weather playing games the situation of drought develops every year in Madhaya Pradesh. Heed is never paid to have permanent and stable solution for paucity of water, but always resources are utilized to make immediate and temporary arrangements to tackle the crisis. So the problem of water scarcity resurfaces every year.

It is not that we are backward in terms of technologies, as the groundwater system in Burhanpur town in Madhya Pradesh developed hundred of years back is  so well engineered that people use it till date. Like we know that water is allowed to escape in nallas after rains, if same is retained by series of stop dams, check dams then we could have water flowing for all twelve months. There are several other methods to solve the problem what is  required is just their percolation into the masses. Paying heed to recurring, protracted and silent emergency in the state, UNICEF has intensified its activities.

In the year 2000, 44 districts of the total 45 had registered deficit rainfall. The reported shortfall in the 32 most affected districts ranged from 20 to 62 percent. Subsequently several projects were initiated by UNICEF at various places to assist  the people  in their operations to have access to water including Panna, Chhindwara and Seoni. Local communities have been activated in this regard, solving the twin problem of unemployment and water paucity.

With aim to reduce the vulnerability to droughts, improve income and livelihood of people, Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Watershed Management, since its inception in 1994, is actively involved to better manage the natural resources at local level through community participation of the people. Under the mission, after chalking out location specific and need based action plans, funds are provided under Drought Prone Area Programme, Employment Assurance Scheme and Integrated Wasteland Development programmed. The funds under above schemes come in from the central and state grants. In this regard, preference is given to low cost indigenous and simple technologies, local material and skills. About 8000 villages have been covered under present watershed programmed.

"Pani Roko Abhiyan" was the next logical step to make water conservation activities as a mass campaign. In the mass campaign, structures like farm ponds, nalla bunds, check dams, percolation tanks etc were constructed in all the villages of the state with people's participation. The Emphasis was given to encourage the people to undertake such activities in their fields through their own resources in "Do it yourself" mode. The achievements of this campaign towards water conservation and management are worth appreciating. To give strong foundation to its endeavours, the state government has decided to launch  a similar intensive campaign continuously for four-five years christened as second phase of Rajiv Gandhi mission for watershed management. Enlarging the target manifold in campaign mode, this phase plans to cover all such villages of the state which were not covered under watershed programmed.