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Water conservation: a success story

Posted on 03-06-2013 | Posted by Admin

Most of us have heard about Cherrapunji. It’s famous because it receives the largest volume of rainfall in the world. On the other hand, in Rajasthan, the area surrounding River Ruparel doesn’t receive even half the rainfall received by Cherrapunji. Ironically, Cherrapunji experiences acute water shortage, whereas there is sufficient water for everyone in the Rajasthan village.

A few years ago, the story was a little different. The water level in the river had begun to decline due to extensive deforestation and agricultural activities along the banks and, by the 1980s, a drought-like situation had begun to spread. Under the guidance of some NGOs (non-government organizations), the women living in the area were encouraged to take the initiative in building johads (round ponds) and dams to hold back rainwater. Gradually, water began coming back as proper methods of conserving and harvesting rainwater were followed. The revival of the river has transformed the ecology of the place and the lives of the people living along its banks.

Though Cherrapunji had similar problems, not in terms of amount of water received, but the amount tapped. The reasons were similar. There was extensive soil erosion and often, despite the heavy rainfall and its location in the green hills of Meghalaya, one can see stretches of hillside devoid of trees and greenery. Extensive deforestation and lack of proper methods of conserving rainwater were not used. Whereas in Rajasthan, the story is an example of proper water conservation. The site does not receive even half the rainfall received by Cherrapunji, but proper management and conservation have meant that more water is available than in Cherrapunji.

I think this incident very well establishes the fact that proper water conservation measures can prove to be very effective even in the worst of scenarios. It has proved that humankind is not the master of the environment, but a part of it. If human beings put in an effort, the damage caused by us can be undone.

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