Project Jal Chetna
One of the issues which has assumed great importance for all of us today is of Fresh Water Conservation And Management – whether it is the availability of water for various needs of the people and society at large or the management of depleting water resources. Unfortunately, a large portion of potable water is wasted – not wilfully but due to lack of awareness amongst the masses. The water table in the cities and villages of the country is falling at a rapid pace, there is shortage of water due to mismanagement of this precious resource in some parts of the country for the farmers and it is believed that in the years ahead we may face fresh water crisis if adequate and timely corrective measures ranging from educating the society about water usage, water management and conservation, rain water harvesting are not taken. Experts have opined if necessary actions are not undertaken for fresh water conservation and management, coming years may well see the declaration of water emergency.
Besides availability of water, pollution of the available water resources is also assuming alarming proportions. Years ago the first civilization was established along rivers as it is a basic necessity. However, as a consequence of development and due to the insatiable greed of mankind, the amount of impurities being discharged into water have been adding up and today have reached alarming proportions. One of the basic sustainers of human life – THE RIVERS – around which civilizations have developed and prospered are bearing the brunt of this so called social and economic development.
Seeing the significance of the situation and in order to sensitize the people, DEEKSHA launched a Project for Water Conservation and aptly named it as "PROJECT JAL CHETNA".
In order to bring into light the reasons and solutions of water conservation, DEEKSHA has developed comprehensive training programmes and adequate literature regarding water conservation and rain water harvesting and has distributed it in over 2750 schools.
We have regularly organised various programmes for sensitization of the masses/executed various projects about this issue of prime importance. A few of them are listed below.
"CHUA TO TAP" : The Success Story Of Rasabeda Water Challenge
The inhabitants of Village Rasabeda in District Ranchi, Jharkhand lived their life by the day. Each day began by the women folk walking to the nearby “Chua”, the only source of water for the 117 inhabitants of the village, to fetch water for drinking and cooking. For bathing they would all go to the chua and bathe. Such was the situation that the livestock and humans both shared the only source of water for survival. Without water supply in their village, life was difficult. All this has changed now, thanks to the joint initiative by DEEKSHA and GRAM Association.
Living in Rasabeda village meant spending two hours every day walking to fetch water down steep hillside to an unprotected spring, only to have to carry a 20-litre jerry can of water back up to home. Life was a challenge. Threat of reptiles, elephants and wildlife always loomed. Venturing out to fetch water at night, in the darkness, was out of question. When DEEKSHA and GRAM Association partnered with residents of Rasabeda village to bring them community improved water services, it gave them a chance at a better life as also multiplying the prosperity water brings to the lives of people. A water pipeline was laid from above the chua to the village where a water storage tank of 5600 litre capacity was constructed. A 13500 litre capacity sump to store rain water was also developed. Besides this a 1500 litre tank has been provisioned on roof top to supply water for the toilet at the school. A rainwater recharge pit has been dug to help recharge ground water with rain water runoff. Throughout this project, the local villagers were provided employment to carry out the tasks for execution of the project. This way the villagers of Rasabeda not only got a water provisioning system but also benefitted with employment opportunity during its construction. The team has not stopped at provisioning of water to the village. We have now embarked upon the path of providing sustainable lively hood through horticulture to the villagers. DEEKSHA has provided the villagers around 100 fruit tree saplings to enable them to earn their livelihood in future through sustainable organic horticulture.
We have conducted numerous workshops on Water Conservation in various educational institutions across the country for students and teachers. Students are involved in finding sustainable solutions to the water issues in their schools as Fresh Water Conservation has become the need of the day keeping in mind the Fresh Water Scarcity in most parts of the country. Experts have opined if necessary actions are not undertaken for fresh water conservation and management, the coming years may well go down the history as the years of water emergency. Already many parts of the country are facing acute water shortages. It is, therefore, necessary for all of us to come together and address the issue as a mass movement. To further highlight the same DEEKSHA has been distributing a number of hand outs and literature on water conservation and water harvesting to all the stake holders.
With a view to raise awareness about water conservation amongst the students, DEEKSHA along with Eco Roots Foundation, supported by Department of Sciene & Technology, Govt of India, organised a Theatre Festival on Water Conservation. A large number of students displayed their remarkable talent and sensitivity towards water conservation by performing during the same. Students displayed creative methods to get the message of water conservation across to the audience. The Theatre Festival focused on the role of women in water management. The theme of the theatre festival was “Neer, Naari Vigyan” and it concentrated on the role of women in water conservation by acknowledging their power and by revealing their stories about the change of status of water over the years besides revealing the rationale behind water management.
Documentary on Water Conservation
With an aim to motivate the children to actively take part in water conservation, a Documentary film "Water is Life" made by Siddharth Samuel and Divya Jaiswal, both Class 12 students of Col Satsangi Kiran Memorial School, New Delhi, was released at a function Held at Chandigarh Press Club by the Director DEEKSHA. The documentary, made under active guidance of Mr Murali Menon, (a renowned Information Scientist) and DEEKSHA, highlights the importance of water conservation as also the need to adopt various practices to save mother earth.
Rain Water Harvesting
DEEKSHA has launched a concerted campaign to promote Rain Water Harvesting with a pledge to motivate people to install the structures in their premises. Many institutions and residential colonies/societies have come forward for the same. Rain Water Harvesting is being used not only to store water for various usages but also to recharge ground water. Among the notable rain water harvesting projects carried out by DEEKSHA are the ones at Village Rasasbeda in Jharkhand, Udyan Ghar at Narsingpur at Gurugram and Spring Dales School at Delhi.
DEEKSHA has implemented drip irrigation methodology in many educational institutions besides spreading awareness about the same as a method of conservation of water. The students are being made aware about the tremendous advantages that the drip irrigation method provides in agriculture and horticulture besides gardening. Although it’s initial cost is a bit high but the returns by way of water conservation far outweigh the same. A number of institutions have evinced keen interest in installing the drip irrigation systems to care for their gardens.