The Context/Issue: The right to food, health and the most
fundamentally the right to life,
presume access to clean water for drinking, sanitation, agriculture and
livelihood purposes. Water
as a basic element of life is becoming increasingly scarce in the face
of growing domestic and industrial consumption and higher rates of
pollution of water bodies, as well as deforestation and global
warming.. Melting of glaciers in Himalayas is threatening even large
rivers such as Ganga. Who bears the brunt of the problem? Have you seen long queues
of containers in
front of a corporation tap in an urban slum? Have you come across women
in villages walking long distances with water filled pots on their
heads? Both the scenarios represent inequitable distribution of a basic
resource and diminishing access of the
marginalized to clean drinking water. When the Bargi dam was built in
the Narmada basin, the state government sold exclusive fishing rights
of the dammed river to a private corporation which engaged goondas
(security) and prevented local families (adivasis/girijans/tribals)
from using the river for fishing, as they have traditionally done for
generations. When a basic necessity like water is turned into a
commodity, it takes
away the access of those people who cannot afford to pay for it.
Community ownership of water resources is threatened.
What AID is doing about it?
AID promotes decentralized water management through rainwater
harvesting and watershed development projects that increase the water availability for agriculture and drinking. AID supports campaigns to hold polluters accountable (PROJECT
LINK) and works on raising awareness and civil society participation in
policy formulation (PROJECT LINK). When the Bargi dam affected people joined the Narmada movement and won back their right to fish in the river's waters (the state now contracts the right to a cooperative formed by all the local families), as well as the right to use the land that opens as dam-water levels fall from December of every year, AID supported purchase of pumps so that the river water could be used by the village people for agriculture on this draw-down land.
How you can help? suggest how they can use table below, contact people, sign petitions, and donate to a chapter supporting water projects.
Constructive Work: Nirman
Personal Level/Live Simply: Seva
Pic and 2 line desc of projects such as surodi, mozda watershed,
pic. and two line desc of small and large campaigns -- trying to get village canal desilted by petitioning govt. (aranyaka, srikakulam), struggle against coke, struggle against displacement by dams
Harvesting water in your home, optimize flush, include less water intensive foods in your diet -- like ragi, avoid bottled water/drinks.
Big Picture: larger policy issues such as interlinking rivers etc.