Water idea! | Society | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dharavi asia's largest puzzle
    July 20, 2013
    An eyesore of blue tarpaulin, or a complex warren teeming with promise and enterprise? Describe it how you will but there's no denying its…
  • Angry young petitioners
    July 20, 2013
    Meet some of India’s youngest PIL crusaders who have exchanged lazy café sessions for the grind of litigation work.
  • Film fighters
    July 20, 2013
    Video volunteers have been shooting short, candid film clips on official apathy.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
This Is India

Water idea!

|



At a time when many parts of the country are reeling from rain deficit, a group of farmers is using innovative methods to conserve water and boost irrigation in parched pockets of the country. This they do by tinkering with rudimentary tools and contraptions to devise low-cost machinery.

Some of their creations were recently displayed during an innovation exhibition at Rashtrapati Bhavan after President Pratibha Patil expressed concern about the non-optimal use of water during irrigation in drought-prone regions. There is Radheyshyam Sharma from Ujjain who has devised a low-cost selfpropelled mobile irrigation cum pesticide applicator which could help farmers spray their fields with pesticides as well as water trees at the same time. "The sprayer will help conserve water as it directly waters plant roots. It will also cut down on the farmers' labour, " explains Sharma.

Then there is Vikram Rathore of Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh who has filed a patent for a water pump that can be operated by paddling, which he invented when drought dried up his paddy fields. He has neither had an electric motor nor a diesel pump and thus invented a pump that drew water through manual paddling.

Describe it as jugaad or as desperate times calling for desperate measures, but individuals, social groups and even government agencies have been of late experimenting with and adopting low-cost technologies to deal with water scarcity. So, a public-private initiative in Karnataka uses mobile phones to alert citizens about the precise timing of water supply on their taps even as the state government in Maharashtra recently adopted a GPS tracking system for tankers providing drinking water to its 15 droughthit districts with a view to prevent pilferage. Local farmer-devised innovations from the hinterland are also slowly finding a wider national platform.

The seriousness of the water crises was reiterated in the recently released Census 2011 findings. Data revealed that less than half the households in India (46 per cent) have access to drinking water from taps in their homes;the majority thus relies on irregular supply from tankers, community taps or wells. As many as 17. 6 per cent of households have to trek more than 500 metres in rural areas and 100 metres in urban areas to access drinking water sources. Even this could be scarce, given that recent government estimates show that roughly 228 mha (69 per cent) of India's geographical area is classified as dry lands (arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid ).

It is in the face of such crises that jugaad in water management is born. Take, for instance, the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka where most residents - from slums to posh housing societies - receive tap water for roughly two hours of the day, usually once in two to three days. To deal with this uncertainty, the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) teamed up with social enterprise NextDrop. They jointly created an interactive voice response system to link hydraulic engineers operating the water valves to residents. Engineers contact the system when they release water to a particular neighbourhood and SMSes are generated to residents registered with the project. Citizens usually get a notice - between 30 minutes and two hours - about when they will receive water supply.

The project came about when a Masters student from the University of California, Berkeley who was researching these towns observed that people, particularly women, spent several hours waiting at home waiting for the water supply. For homemakers like Sharda Vishwanath (45) from Vasant Nagar, Hubli the service at a monthly charge of Rs 10 has made a world of difference. "I have got used to their SMSes, it is almost like a morning alarm. Their alerts tell me when I should keep the taps open. Earlier, I was forced to stay home through the day to catch the water supply, " she says.

Anu Sridharan, founder and CEO of NextDrop says that people are willing to pay for the huge convenience. "We have 3, 000 customers and 15, 000 people signed up for future alerts, " she says, adding that they hope to extend the service to 50 cities in five years. K P Jayaramu of the KUWSDB believes such initiatives hold out promise till the city is able to attain a 24X7 water supply.

The National Innovation Foundation, Gujarat, an autonomous body under the department of science and technology, has consistently backed the work of those who deal with problems using small resources and basic intelligence. "Grassroots innovators are essentially those people who have come up with creative technological solutions to persistent problems, without formal training. They decided not to live with problems many others had been living with. They should be duly recognised and encouraged, " says Dr Nitin Maurya of NIF pointing out that many such innovations throw up sustainable solutions to real problems.

DRY FACTS


As of July 2, India is facing a rain deficit of 31% About 228 mha (69%) of India's total geographical area is under dry lands (arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid ) Only 46% of homes in India have access to drinking water within their premises

(Source: 4th national report submitted to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) & Census 2011)


WASTE OF TIME

SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association) says that women in semi-arid areas of Gujarat spent three to four hours a day collecting water. This time goes up by two hours during summer months. Self-employed women could earn an additional Rs 5, 500 a year if they could be spared just an hour from the chore.

(Source: Human Development Report 2006. Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis)

Reader's opinion (2)

Manish SharmaJul 11th, 2012 at 20:44 PM

Govt. Should encourage such innovators..

Aditya SaraogiJul 9th, 2012 at 11:48 AM

interesting, we all should implement ways to save water

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service