India is taking some sound measures in the direction of improving water security, especially in water-distressed areas. The outcome delivered by one such measure, Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) is laudable. It has delivered over 3.5 lakh water conservation measures in 256 districts in a span of just one month.
Of the conservation measures that the Centre initiated JSA has delivered, 1.54 lakh are of water conservation and rainwater harvesting measures, 20,000 relate to the rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, over 65,000 are reuse and recharge structures and 1.23 lakh are watershed development projects. An estimated 2.64 crore people have already participated in the Abhiyan making it a jan andolan. About 4.25 crore saplings were planted as a part of the efforts. The outcome of the first phase of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan was announced at a review by Cabinet Secretary in New Delhi today.
Chairing the review, Pradeep Kumar Sinha, Union Cabinet Secretary, appreciated the efforts and commitment shown by the nodal officers in the campaign and encouraged them to closely work with districts for bringing significant changes through key interventions and initiatives. He said, “JSA has definitely created a lot of buzz in the country, and it will do lot of good in the years to come. Our aim is to ensure the benefits reach the farmers at the ground-level.”
Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, DDWS, shared that the JSA has led to an increase in groundwater level, surface water storage capacity, soil moisture in farmlands and increased plant cover. The JSA is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Centre and State Governments, and is primarily a Jal Sanchay campaign, which has gained phenomenal momentum in this past one month.
The campaign is successfully running with the involvement of about 1,300 officers of the central government joined by state and district officials who are required to take up 3 field visits.
Workshop with Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, Founders, Paani Foundation.
The workshop also had presentations by prominent NGOs working in the area of water conservation, deploying successful interventions, innovations and strategies. Aamir Khan, renowned actor and the founder of Paani Foundation, showcased encouraging films about grass-root level stories in Maharashtra, where lives have been impacted by the Foundation’s mobilization efforts in respective villages. He emphasized upon the need of educating people at village-level about the importance of saving water, showing them effective ways and techniques and how they can play a leading role in taking the initiatives forward.
Kalyan Paul, Executive Director, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Uttarakhand elaborated how women played an important role in water conservation across the mountain states of India. Aranyak, an NGO working in North East India highlighted the importance of “Dong Bundh System” (a traditional water conservation and management system) which ensures availability of drinking and irrigation water by deploying conventional methods. Representatives of Bangalore based Arghyam highlighted the importance of educating locals, honing their skills, ensuring their participation and ownership to manage local water bodies and continuing this practice on a daily basis as the ways to ensure efficient water conservation measures.
The review-meeting-cum-workshop was attended by concerned Union Secretaries who clarified on points relating to their departments. TP Singh, Advisor, MEITY made a presentation about the application of Space and Geo Information (3-D) in Jal Shanchay.
News source: PIB.