WORLD WATER DAY
Asia Regional Webinar on THE PROSPECTS OF GROUNDWATER RECHARGING & HARVESTING
Date: 22nd March Time: 10.00-12.00 (Indian Time)
Organiser: CIDAL/Caritas India/ Caritas Asia
Caritas Institute of Developmental Action and Learning (CIDAL) of Caritas India in association with Caritas Asia organised an online event (webinar) on “THE PROSPECTS OF GROUNDWATER RECHARGING & HARVESTING” on March 22, 2021 at 10.00 to 12.00 hrs to commemorate World Water Day 2022 to talk about how to conserve, preserve and protect the groundwater resources through rainwater conservation, recharging and harvesting. The webinar was attended by around 97 participants from across Asia. The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Mr. Zar Gomez, the Regional Coordinator of Caritas Asia welcomed the gatherings and set the context of the webinar. He said that water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. The value of water is about much more than its price. The theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”. Through this webinar we brought in clarity to understand sustainable ways of water management and groundwater recharging. Today, water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. As societies balance the demands on water resources, many people’s interests are not being taken into account. Groundwater has enormous and complex value for our House hold, Culture, education, health and integrity of our natural environment. Hence it is important to conserve, preserve, and protect water resources.
Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Paul Moonjely, the Executive Director of Caritas India gave the Key note speech highlighting the importance of conserving precious water resources. He said all of us are together here wo discuss on groundwater issues and solutions though groundwater recharging and harvesting. Caritas India has been doing the little we can on the conservation and replenishment of Groundwater resources. He metioned the experiences of promoting water conservation and agricultural enhancementOur life cannot proceed without water. Our country is blessed with lot of water resource, water bodies at the sad situation remains that we go through lot of water stress situation, droughts on the one side and floods on the other side is the irony of human life today. How do we respect water resources, how to conserve, how to manage and how to make use of this rich resource responsibly so that it is being used in a more sensible way, responsible way so that everybody has a share for it. It is the. responsibility of organisation like Caritas India to bring this core message to everyone that we value water and we work for the conservation and preservation of water. Making water as a kind of commodity to make profits and huge margins and we see that in the process of making margin many are marginalised and many are denied of their basic right to life in the form of denying water.
Dr. Sabita Madhvi Singh, Joint Director, National River Conservation Directorate, Dept. of Water Resources, Govt. of India narrated the policy implementation of the ministry and achievements of various water conservation/management schemes being promoted by Government of India. Water sustainability is one of the greatest challenge faced by India and growing pressure on water resources from population and economic growth, climate change, pollution and other challenges has major impacts on our social, economic and environmental well-being. She has mentioned about the national water policy and national water mission and explained the measures for sustainable development in water resources. Dr. Sabita narrated different schemes under swatch Bharat mission, catch the rain campaign etc.
Dr. Kas Mani, Groundwater Advisor, World Bank, FAO, IFC spoke of the critical role of “Participatory Groundwater Management in times of changing Climate Scenarios“ through building community knowledge to bring visibility to groundwater. He said India is the largest user of groundwater. Groundwater contribution to the economy is in food security, health, drinking water, nutrition, commerce, and industries. Groundwater development is unrestricted as it is linked to landholdings without any limits on the nature of its use. Groundwater distress is linked to well failure, salinity and quality deterioration. Managing groundwater is not an option but an urgent necessary and needs participatory approach. He said millions of wells are pumping away all the available groundwater resources. The sixth assessment report of IPCC 2022 has regionalized hotspots linking groundwater vulnerability. Addressing the issue of sustainability at grassroots is best done through participation of water users in all aspects of development and management. It is important to have a participatory approach for achieving SDGs. The Vulnerable populations prone to distress need support through major initiatives at the grass root levels. Groundwater aquifers are getting more and more vulnerable to abuse, climate change will only make the situation worst. Global institutions and countries are working on regional actions on mitigation. Small scale participatory strategies need to be taken up together with regional actions. Capacity building of the vulnerable population is critical to mitigation. Global examples of collective action, local governance, participatory monitoring offer scope for large scale replication. Conversation need to be initiated on the responsibilities of all stake holders for responsible action. It would be a privilege to provide technical guidance to participatory actions
Ms. Sophan Kanhchna, Project Manager of Caritas Cambodia shared the Groundwater Recharging Experiences in Cambodia”. Caritas Cambodia is working on contributing to the SDG Goal No. 6 on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all and this is being done through trainings, awareness raising and exposure visit on water management, WASH, Environmental protection, water and sanitation, establish water user group, water business group, technical support on climate adaptation. Caritas Cambodia has been promoting small scale infrastructure (water conservation measures) in community including ponds, calvert, bridge. Under water and sanitation program, Caritas Cambodia is supporting communities and household to access water for year-round such as water filter, rain water collection, water jar, water pump, hand water pump. Improve Sanitation through support toilet construction, West management, hand washing system in school and community, …etc. Community water management have been done by supporting facilities to improve water included Solar water pump, community pond. Facilitate to create community water business: Community business (pure dirking water, water filter producer group, water connection business…etc).
Mr. Sukleash George Costa of Caritas Bangladesh presented Good Practices recorded for reducing water and Soil pollution through Agrochemicals from of Agricultural Water Pollution Project. Characteristics of project working area areRain fed, drought prone, affected by climate change, polluted soil & water of Rajshahi district (North Western part) of Bangladesh and the participants are Small holder farmers, Research Partners (Department of Agronomy & Agricultural Extension, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies and Department of Law of Rajshahi University) (Three professors and 33 students), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and Local government Representative. The research focus includes Nutrient Management by applying half chemical along with FYM, earthworm compost, Trico-compost, Tricoderma and promoting ICM (Integrated Crop Management): Reduce agrochemicals and promote foliar spray, live perching, date perching, light trap and botanical pesticides. Objectives of the ation research includes identification of the causes of water and soil pollution of the project area, understanding farmer’s perception about water and soil pollution due to the traditional agricultural practices, making recommendations and suggestions for sustainable environment friendly agriculture practice methods and to analyse and influence the current governmental policy and programmers to protect soil and water pollution.
Mr. Ari Nugroho, Caritas Asia moderated the open forum and Dr. Haridas of Caritas India expressed vote of thanks. The webinar concluded at 12.00 hrs.