National Conference

Though three-fourth part of our earth is covered by water, only a very small part of this is fresh. Out of this small quantity, nearly 70 per cent water is used in agriculture for producing grains. Requirement of food is increasing with increase in population. But continuously declining water table is casting dark shadow for food production. Surveys carried out in 93 countries have revealed that they are suffering from water shortages. In 10 per cent countries water supply for agriculture is being curtailed. On the other hand, there is pressure on water for use in industries and household consumption. It is certain that with the increasing consumption of water and exploitation of nature, better water will have to be managed in a better way. Apart from this water from water excess areas will have to be conserved to make it available to water deficient areas.

Water disputes have spread from one country to other country, from one state to other state and one district to other district. Now the situation is that it spreads to villages. Our concern is water is not being utilised in water excess area. We are concerned where water is being used in a limited manner, one state does not bring it the other in drought condition. We will have to pay attention for water drainage for preventing water-logging and salinity.

Even today one third agriculture in our country is dependent on monsoon rains. Main source of food and development is water. Therefore, NAVIC is organising a national conference on water, forest, land, life and livelihood issue to give a new direction to importance of water and its management.

Generally water conservation and development and management are treated as one, while they have theoretical difference. If these differences are understood and tasks are implemented, meaningful results will be obtained.

1. Conservation of Natural Resources

Conservation of water, forest, land and animals is beneficial for humans. Land conservation requires mechanical, bio-mechanical and bio-treatments. These treatments are dependent on present capacity, condition or limits of natural resources.

2. Development of Natural Resources

After conservation, natural resources need to be developed. For example if in a specific area, some indigenous species is getting extinct, it needs to be conserved first and then developed. Generally, conservation and development are processes which go together. On a whole, in watershed conservation areas developed production technique is used for conservation of natural resources. This technique includes animal husbandry, agriculture production and other high value organic products.

Water conservation is a geo-water activity in which water flows to a specified place. Water conservation system is project based and in flows from mountain tops to valley in reference to soil and water conservation.

Common people understand utility of water conservation, but the people in water excess areas do not understand its importance. Water is normally available in Uttar Pradesh, but a few blocks are water deficient. In such areas district administrations and a few voluntary organisations  have made some efforts. But there is need to do much work.

Rain Water Conservation

Seeing the magnitude of water problem it is but natural to lay emphasis on water conservation. Our 25,000 villages are suffering from water deficiencies. If we arrange water only from ground water exploitation, it is not proper. Need is to conserve rain water as much as possible. In India only 25 per cent water is conserved and the rest 75 per cent flows into seas through rivers. This needs to be conserved. For this in each village, home and city river or pond should be bounded to conserve water. This water can be used for all purposes other than drinking.

Land

India's geographical area is 3,287.3 lakh hectares out of which 1,420.2 lakh hectares land has been recognised as fit for agriculture and 1,205.8 lakh hectares has been identified as barren land, for whose development the Government of India has spent funds. In Uttar Pradesh, Diversified Agriculture Project is working towards this. Such effective steps during the past decades lave led to good results. This, however, requires large scale investments and labour.

Land Management

This is an important component associated with land. Alkaline, acidic or saline needs to be improved. For alkaline land, use of gypsum, pyrite, biomass, vermi-culture, etc., is necessary. For improving alkaline and saline land crops such as arhar, bean, moong, urad, gram, pea, orange, lemon, grapes, berry, etc., would have to be raised. In less salty land, crops like rai, wheat, barley, paddy, maize, tomato may be raised. Cotton may also be raised on such land. Improvement of such land is an important topic in the area of land management. Main cause of land degradation is drainage of fertile topsoil by water and flood. Soil health can be maintained by plantation. Apart from this afforestation is also very important. Forests meet wood related needs of the villagers to a great extent. Afforestation/plantation will also become basis of wood based cottage industries. The following points need to be considered:

  1. Improvement and management of barren land
  2. Management of saline land
  3. Mass awareness about barren and usar land
  4. Linkage of panchayat representatives, voluntary organisations and government officials with barren land improvement works

Life and Livelihood

Man is a social animal. Society is a must for its survival. In today's atmosphere while traditional industries are being increasingly degraded, livelihood of individuals is at stake following increasing population. Unemployment is a major problem. Pollution, disease, earthquake, ozone layer depletion are some of the major crises. Government programmes like Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana, formation of panchayat groups, promotion of traditional self-employment, etc., are getting only partial success. But these need to be given permanent shape.

A Few Points for Consideration of Panchayats:

  1. Raw material from village does not go out and finished product from outside does not come in.
  2. Cluster industrial area be made at gram panchayat level.
  3. Permanent cottage industry be promoted and arrangements be made for marketing of the produce and panchayats be made focal point.
  4. Farmers be acquainted with organic farming/bio compost and vermi-culture techniques.
  5. Loaning process from banks be made easy and panchayat be made focal point for recovery.
  6. Simplicity, sanskar and cooperation be promoted in life.
  7. Those indulging in good works be honoured.

Objectives

Participants may understand watershed development, rain water conservation, barren land management, self-employment based livelihood management. They may also understand provisions related to the guidelines issued and role, duties, accountability, rights, works and interlinkages of community organisations/individuals at district and project levels. They may also develop positive thinking in public interest so they may link poor and weaker sections of the society, particularly women with water, land, life and livelihood.

With this in view, the workshop has the following objectives:

  • To impart basic information to the participants about revised guidelines of watershed development and link panchayat with it.
  • To impart necessary information to participants regarding water conservation and formulation, implementation and monitoring of related projects.
  • To develop capacity of planning by making them acquainted with micro planning process and approach.
  • To develop capacity of appropriate coordination among various resources and institutions.
  • To increase awareness about gender sensitivity and issues of public interest in watershed development programmes.

Points of Reference

  • Concept of water conservation and swajal dhara
  • Water conservation and development and public participation
  • Means of water conservation
  • Water management
  • Technical means for watershed development
  • Principles of land and water conservation
  • Rural participation and contribution of panchayati raj
  • Land conservation and forestry
  • Information of government schemes for water management and development
  • Contribution of voluntary organisations in water management and development
  • Barren land management and biomass
  • Vermi compost, earthworm rearing and compost, organic manure
  • Self-reliance, Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana