Monday, July 30, 2012

Newspaper article published in National English Daily Nespaper THE RISING NEPAL on 21st July 2012 Changing Climate: Records of Kathmandu Shows Warming Trend

Climate change is primarily resulted from human-made activities resulting greenhouse gases emissions and appearing as an increase in temperature and variability in precipitation. According to NASA (2009), in total, average global temperatures have increased by about 0.8°C (1.4°F) since 1880 (the year that modern scientific instrumentation became available to monitor temperatures precisely). World Meteorological Organization (2011) reported over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global average temperature is 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the 1961-1990 average. This is the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate records.

The general trend in the Nepal record is quite similar to what has been found in the global records although the magnitude of trends are different, suggesting that the climate variations and changes in Nepal are impacted by global climate change. Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) estimated from 1977 and 1994, the mean annual temperature to have increased by 0.06°C, and is projected to increase by another 1.2°C by 2030, 1.7°C by 2050, and 3.0°C by 2100. Analysis on rainfall data from station records all over Nepal show distinct cyclic characteristics  but does not reveal any significant trends, as observed in temperature records.

Nepal Engineering College under the research grant of International Development Research Center, Canada, analyzed various attributes of rainfall and temperature for seven stations of Kathmandu (Khumaltar, TIA, Godawari, Changu Narayan, Naikap, Panipokhari and Sankhu) selected considering their proximity to the peri-urban research sites of the ongoing project.

The analysis of temperature record showed a clear decrease in number of days below 0°C and increase in number of hot days (> 30°C). The highest and the lowest temperature of both daily Tmin (Minimum Temperature) and daily Tmax (Maximum Temperature) showed an increase. This increase in temperature was the lowest for the summer season and the strongest for fall and winter season. Tmin showed an average increase of 0.04°C per year and Tmax showed on average an increase of 0.05°C per year. More clearly, days and nights are both becoming warmer and cool days and cool nights are becoming less frequent. Similarly summer days with maximum temperatures above > 30°C are also increasing.

While the changing trend of temperature can be expressed in terms of the mean over time and the amount of variance about the mean, other meteorological variables require more complicated statistical calculations. For instance, rainfall is episodic. Considering WMO statement, in certain parts of the world especially in the arid regions of the world precipitation are likely to decrease whereas in the northern hemisphere the likelihood is that the precipitation would increase.  In Nepal, much of the annual rainfall falls in a short rainy season. Analysis on rainfall data from station records all over Nepal does not reveal any significant trends.

The analysis of rainfall data from the above mentioned seven stations for understanding the long term rainfall trend in Kathmandu showed no clear increasing or decreasing trend in the number of days with rainfall. Similarly, the trend for the total annual rainfall is not clearly defined. Upon concentrating the analysis for monsoon period (June to September), no defined trend could be drawn. An increase in the number of extreme rainfall events (daily rainfall > 50mm) was found but concerning the intensity of rainfall conducted for monsoon period in the study no recognizable pattern could be concluded.

Uncontrolled urbanization and spreading infrastructure in Kathmandu has contributed to reduced agriculture land, increasing congestion, and environmental degradation associated with the poorly managed disposal of solid and industrial wastes and other forms of pollution. An increased frequency of extreme weather events attributed to anthropogenic climate change can make the prospects for environmental sustainability and human security disconcerting for example in unplanned land p. Increases in seasonal temperatures are likely to affect agricultural production and yield. Higher temperatures have also been associated with an increase in diarrhea, mild winters tend to increase rodent-borne diseases, and can also increase dengue-fever transmitted by mosquitoes. Though the amount of rainfall has not undergone decline, the water availability has been declining. This decline is commonly perceived to be ensued from declining rainfall. Therefore, strengthening the adoptive strategies in Kathmandu need activities investigating knowledge, expertise and resources to raise awareness against the challenges of pressure on resources and environment associated with urbanization, changing climate and the compounded effects.

Newspaper article published in national English Daily Newspaper THE RISING NEPAL on 4th May 2012

Novel approaches for water management

The current water demand in Kathmandu valley has been estimated to be 320 MLD (recent estimation 350 MLD, unpublished). The existing capacity of KUKL, the current water supply in the wet season (Jun/July to Jan/Feb) is only about 105.17 MLD which during dry season (Feb/March to May/June) further reduces down to 75.72 MLD, making the average water supply 95.36 MLD (KUKL, 2009/10 Third Anniversary). While current water services in the urban areas continue to underperform, the peri-urban VDCs have spearheaded towards community initiations innovating ways to facing intractable problems of water management. The water management in these peri-urban areas have revamped through community determination. One particularly interesting case relates to Godawari VDC where water supply services handled by Godawari Drinking Water and Sanitation Users Committee initiated in 1994 A.D. With the registration of two natural spring sources, this distributing water to over 390 households. This organization has been functioning as an independent local organization, mobilizing financial resources through contributions made by the water users for the infrastructure development and water tariff collected from among the users based on the volume of water consumed to ensure equitable share of water services. Similarly, Matatirtha VDC, well known for its water endowment has established eight different communities managed water supply schemes financially stabilized through community investments and governmental funds allocated for local development. Apart from these, the VDC has been collecting revenue from the neighboring Tinthana and Naikap VDCs in exchange of the water service provided, significant part of which has been invested in supporting these community managed schemes. This hilly VDC has been supplying water from three spring sources lying in the low lands through lifting- storage and distributing for certain hours on a daily basis. While the majorities of the existing community managed schemes in the VDC have been operating through household based private water networks, Dharapani Drinking Water Scheme in this VDC has continued to serve the community through public stand post focusing the households unable to afford the private water connections. Considering the growing water demand, this has added deep tube well to expand its water services through ground water extraction.

Changunarayan, Jhaukhel and Duwakot VDCs in Bhaktapur district have been working synergistically to overcome the challenges of water sector. Initiated in 1982, Changunarayan-Jhaukhel-Duwakot water supply started functioning in 1993 through public tap connections and extended its service to household metered tap connection since 1994 onwards. The water services started with 75 household level taps has now expanded to cover approximately 1000 households and approximately 300 to 400 additional tap connections are in the process of getting approved. Construction of an additional sump well in the well field of Manohara River has been completed with the aim of expanding the water services.

Dadhikot VDC in the same district has five drinking water schemes currently in operation, of which the largest scheme is Dadhikot-Uttisghari Community Water Supply and Sanitation Scheme serving 1400 households. The construction of piped drinking water scheme in the VDC started only after 1984. Though these schemes received external assistance of some form in the initial construction and development, there have been also substantial community investments in their construction. Dadhikot, being easily accessible and located close to Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, continues to be the preferred destination for new settlers. Increase in the population and rapid pace of urbanization led to search for alternative source of water and there has been significant increase in the number of schemes developed in the VDC after 1995. In order to keep pace with the growing demand of water, construction of a deep tube well was carried out in 2008 at a cost of NRs. 17,600,000. The construction of an additional 200 m3 water reservoir has been completed and currently local communities have been outsourcing to undertake watershed conservation program for the sustainable management of drinking as well irrigational water requirements.

Lubhu is a traditional Newar settlement. While the traditional water structures playing pivotal role in water arrangement are on the verge of extinction, the VDC in its own does not hold any reliable water source to revitalize these systems. The intractable challenge forward was to obtain water from neighboring VDC and equitably distribute in view of rapid population growth and simultaneously growing water demands. The people in the VDC managed to divert water supply from Chapakharka spring located in Bisankhu Narayan VDC. The Chapakharka spring source has been in use since 1981and supplies water to five VDCs- Lamatar, Sirutar, Bisankhu Narayan, Tikathali and Lubhu. Water from this spring is supplied through public stand and monitored by Users' Sub- Committee. To meet the deficit water needs, the VDC has developed another water supply system with water tapped from Dovan River. At present, total of 52 public taps have been installed, each serving approximately 100 households. The quality of this water is poor and the user committee has been exploring the possible financial assistance for developing a filtration tank and water treatment facility at Dhovan River so that quality of water supply from this source could be improved.

From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that while the state crafted initiatives have floundered, several community led innovations, both technical and institutional have emerged. In the light these findings, appears the essence of exploring efficient and flexible innovations for community participation in urban water management.

Availability, Consumption and Water problem in Budheda and Sadhraana

Budheda, a village situated in the outskirts of Gurgaon is located at about a distance of 15 kms form the city. In Budheda, the water is a little saline; making it very hard to drink. Many of the households use PHED water. But this process of supplying water is dependent on electricity. as electricity is used to store water. However, our study revealed that sweet water is also available in some of the places. Due to the climate change  and less rainfall, the underground water level is decreasing. Another reason is that the ground water is being extracted at a very fast rate, and hence the scarcity of pure drinking water. Some areas of the village witness sweet drinking water, hence the number of boring (using submersibles) in those areas are more.

Rainfall is a reason to celebrate in Budheda, because rainfall has gone drastically down with the years passing by and when it rains, it brings relief to the people. Elder sections of the people usually recall the heaviest rainfall in 1977. According to them, in 1977 it rained so heavily that the place flooded for a couple of days, and boats were used for transportation . 

We also surveyed another village named Sadhraana. It is about 20 kms from Gurgaon city and 5 kms from Budheda. Sadhraana is also called as “pandito ka gaon”, which means the village of pandits. Shadrana, again houses people of different castes which include SCs, Rajputs, Brahmins, Yadavs etc. Water is again a problem in Shadrana. The water supplied by the PHED is sweet, i.e. the area where the PHED boring is done, has sweet water. But the PHED water supply doesn’t reach to all parts of the village. The water supply by the PHED is completely dependent on electricity. The water is supplied only when the power is available. The richer section of the village draw water from the pipes using an electric motor first. Hence, the poorer sections of the village always have to face the difficulty in accessing the water. Budheda and Sadhraana, both face water problems. But, the  fact that water being wasted can not be ignored. Hence, people should be made aware of conserving water. 

A meeting with the PHED officials and the Panchayat members of Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola khera was organized, in which it was decided that people found guilty of wasting water would be fined. Hence, in this way there would be a check on the wastage of water.

In these two months of field survey in Budheda and Sadhraana, I had a great experience, and learnt many new things. . First of all, the issues of water in peri -urban area can be seen from different perspectives of vulnerability, accessibility, etc. Culture, tradition and life-styles of those villages were interesting to note.

In Assam the water problem is very much different from Haryana. In Assam, water is a reason for many problems in the village. Every year, thousands of people become homeless due to flood. Flood washes away the crops fields; many households even face famine like situation. The situation is very devastating there. Many diseases have spread by the floods like cholera, malaria, etc. People died because of flood and the crops are also washed away. But here in Sadhraana and Budheda people face problem due to water shortage. The ground water level is about 80-90 in there. The irregularity or scarcity of monsoon rains is the main reason of low productivity of monsoon crops.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prithviraj Borah
                                                                        IIT Guwahati
                                                                                           Student Intern  
(Gurgaon), SaciWATERs

Drinking water access in Sultanpur: notes from a Dutch perspective

When leaving for India from the Netherlands, with the purpose of field research about drinking water access in peri-urban Gurgaon, I did not really know what to expect from ‘the Indian village’. What would be people’s main water resources? Would there be a government-organized supply or would people rely more on traditional water sources? And would drinking water scarcity be an issue?

For my MSc thesis in International Development studies, I joined SaciWaters’ peri-urban project in Gurgaon for the past three months. Most of my field research was conducted in the village of Sultanpur. A large part of this village is served by government (PHED) water supply, but this supply is erratic and the quality of the water is not trusted to be drinkable by many. The supply does not reach everywhere, as the southern part of the village is excluded from the network. For drinking water, most people rely on the groundwater from public hand pumps or private tubewells. Only a few drink the supplied water and many cannot afford a filtering system. But as groundwater tables are falling, due to climatic change and peri-urban pressures, the water is slowly becoming saline, thereby threatening the potable water reserves.

Now that the research is done and I am about to return to my home in the Netherlands, it is interesting to reflect upon the water situation from a Dutch perspective. I will return to a country where 24/7 water supply is no more than normal. From village to city, no part of the country is unserved by the public water networks. Moreover, the quality of the water is said to be among the best in the world: recent research showed that Dutch tap water is of better quality than the expensive mineral water that can be bought in bottles. As we have a single-tier supply, this high quality water is also used for bathing, washing and even flushing the toilet. For most Dutch people, opening the tap and water not coming out, would be simply unthinkable. I personally cannot recall such a thing happening even once in my lifetime.

Comparing our drinking water situation to that of Sultanpur, the differences are obviously huge. The physical labour involved in obtaining drinking water for the household, is something that belongs to the past in the Netherlands. People have long forgotten about hauling water from wells and catching rainwater in reservoirs. It is eye-opening to see how the people of Sultanpur had to fetch their own drinking water to their homes. Men and women, elderly and children, all could be seen carrying the heavy matkas with about 15-20 litres of drinking water on their head or shoulders. It is hard to imagine having to do this twice a day, for drinking water only! The time that it takes to walk up and down to the pump, waiting for your turn and then filling up the pots, which requires some physical labour as well, should not be underestimated.

Another thing that struck me was the debate about the quality of the PHED supplied water: is it filtered well enough for drinking or not? Many villagers choose to remain using their traditional groundwater sources for drinking water, even though these are depleting. According to the PHED however, the water is filtered well and suitable for drinking. Such debates are never heard in the Netherlands, where the water quality is carefully monitored and tested in order to secure healthy supply. A public testing of the supplied water in the village might help in establishing more clarity about the actual water quality. Even if the water leaving the treatment plant is safe to drink, contamination might occur during the transport, caused by breakages in the pipelines.

There are many more differences that I could write about, for instance the open sewage system in many Indian villages and the enduring influence of the caste system on water security between different population groups. But one should also keep in mind that the general situation of both countries is very different. The Netherlands is a small, low-lying and water-rich country. In fact, keeping the water out is a more salient challenge than dealing with water scarcity, such as can be experienced in the hot and dry Indian summers. As a highly developed country, the investments needed for a good quality public water network are more easily made than in India, where the scale of the investments needed is much larger as well (India being 70 times bigger than the Netherlands in terms of population and 80 times in terms of area).

Doing field work in Sultanpur has been a great learning experience for me, and brought me many new insights on drinking water access. Most of all, it has shown me that many things I used to take for granted, are not so commonplace at all.
 Afke van der Woude
 Wageningen University
Student Intern
(Gurgaon), SaciWATERs

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water; problems in Budheda and Sadhraana

A Peri-urban area, after an interval of time, becomes urban and comes under the process of urban gigantism. It is an area which witnesses constant change; and due to the problem of this urban gigantism the resources in those areas are depleted. Water, as a natural resource also comes under the threat of being depleted. Hence, making sure and doing our best to secure water in Peri-urban areas is a thing of priority. Budheda and Sadhraana are two villages located in the Peri-urban areas of Gurgaon city. These two villages face the problem of water. Pure, safe drinking water is a problem here.

Budheda faces the problem of saline water. Water extracted from the ground there is saline. We interacted with people belonging to many communities spreading across Rajputs, Brahmins, Yadavs, Lohaars, Naais etc. In Budheda the majority of population belong to the Harijan community. The PHED water is first stored in two tanks named “Double tunkey”, and then it is supplied to the whole village through the pipelines. There are 990 households and we surveyed 101 households. We were welcomed in some households but we were also not allowed to survey in some households.

What we learnt in Budheda regarding water problem is that the water is saline in most part of the village and the PHED water supply doesn’t meet the day-to-day requirements of the people. Rich households use electric motor to draw water, and hence it becomes more difficult for the poorer section of the people to fetch water. Same is the case with Sadhraana. In Sadhraana we surveyed 50 households, again spreading across all the communities including Rajputs, Brahmins, Yadavs, Lohaars, Naais etc. Sadhraana is called “Pandito ka gaon”, which means village of the pundits (Brahmins), but the majority of people belong to Harijan community. Sadhraana too faces the problem of water. The water supplied by the PHED in Sadhraana is sweet, but the borings in the fields and the other part of the village releases saline water, which also affects the agricultural productivity.

Budheda and Sadhraana, both face the water problems but it cannot be denied that water which reaches the households is also wasted to a great extend. Hence people should be aware and should not waste water. A meeting with the PHED officials and the Panchayat members of Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Khera was organized, in which it was decided that people found wasting water will be fined. Hence, in this way atleast wastage of water could be controlled.

Tanmoy Das
                                                                                                               IIT Guwahati
Student Intern
(Gurgaon), SaciWATERs

Monday, July 16, 2012

Stakeholders Workshop, Gurgaon

DATE: 22.6.2012

The second stakeholders’ workshop in Gurgaon under the IDRC Supported project ‘Water security in periurban South Asia: adapting to climate change and urbanization’ was organised on the 24th of June, 2012 at the Ramada, BMK, Gurgaon. Dr. Vishal Narain began by highlighting the agenda of the meeting which was mainly to:
-         Assess how far the PHED had come in terms of performing the tasks agreed to at the last meeting to improve the water access of communities in the villages of Sultanpur and Jhanjhrola Kheda
-         Identify any other areas  that needed face to face dialogue between the water users and the PHED (Public Health Engineering Department)
-         Identify the further course of action during the last year of the project to improve water security in these two villages
-         Identify ways of continuing this process of dialogue between the PHED and the water users beyond the project period 

 Dr. Vishal Narain then highlighted some of the work that had been taken up by the PHED and the progress made since the last meeting as also some of the issues that had been raised by the PHED in relation to local water management practices.

The PHED made a few suggestions and urged the villagers to try and pursue those at their level. These included -
  • ·         Informing the PHED about the illegal connections in the village, so that FIR could  be lodged against those who pursued such practises.
  • ·         Forming a Water Committee to monitor the work and maintenance of the system

Some more suggestions that came from the PHED included compulsory registration of personal tubewells with the Central Groundwater Board;  otherwise they would be seized very soon by the authorities. On enquiring about the tank set up by the PHED in Sultanpur on a portion of a private land, the PHED officials informed that it could not be shifted from the current location, but the owner could be compensated. Also regarding the alternate day availability of water for some of the households in the Sultanpur village, the PHED mentioned that as per their records, they were supplying 70 litres per day per person, but due to illegal connections, most of the water was being taken away by other households leaving some without any water.

The meeting concluded with some concerns that were raised by women panch members from Sultanpur, who felt that water quality testing was very important. Apart from this, there was a need to provide an alternative source of fresh water especially considering the poor families who did not have any means of filtration. Also a pipe connection for households across the railway line was of urgent need.

Summary and Conclusions

This meeting saw a lot of change in the attitude of both the villagers as well as the PHED. Since the purpose of the meeting was to foster dialogue between the water users and providers, and to find ways to jointly improve or solve the problems, both sides conducted themselves very well. As against the usual blame game and anarchy characterising the relationship between the water users and providers, this had taken the form of a disciplined, structured and focused interaction to chalk out a future course of action.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Community Based Climate Change Training

1. Background
Khulna is one of the most vulnerable coastal cities of Bangladesh. The peri-urban communities of Khulna are often overlooked from development agendas of urban and rural government. As a part of our peri-urban water security project, we conducted a detail need assessment of the peri-urban communities and we found out that most of the community groups have no knowledge of climate change impacts. When the matter was discussed with the community level stakeholders it is understood that climate change training will be very effective for capacity building of the local communities and helps them in adaptation to climate change impacts in Khulna. Thus, we provided four community based climate change trainings in Khulna.

2. Methodology
A community based need assessment program was conducted by the ILS at different peri-urban locations of Khulna. Participatory methods (FGD, stakeholder consultation, interviews) were taken up for need assessment, training design and final training dissemination.

3. Major expectations of the communities
Before the training, we learnt the participant’s expectations from the training program. Only few participants (10 out of 80) had a little experience in topics related to climate change. However, most of participants had no training on climate change issues. The following expectations were found from the attendant trainees in the training programs:

·      What are the causes of sudden change in the nature?
·      To acquire knowledge on water and climate change issues
·      What are the responsible causes of climate change?
·      What are the causes of water pollution?
·      To know the causes of water scarcity?
·      Causes of sudden rainfall and excess temperature
·      To know the solutions for climate change impacts
·      What would be the future of water security
·      Causes of water problems in Khulna
·      What are governmental steps regarding climate change
·      What are the causes of lowering of water table?
·      To know about arsenic pollution in water
·      To know about salinity intrusion 
·      What are the impacts of climate change on human health
·      Want to know about climate change impacts and adaptation
·      Why and how climate is changing
·      How could we mitigate the impact of climate change and what major steps should be taken to mitigate climate change impacts?
·      To know about the plan and program for climate refugee/displaced people  
·      How Bangladesh can mitigate climate change impacts?  

4. Major discussion held
Around 80 participants attended the day long training program conducted in Khulna. Male and female participants were 50 and 30, respectively. Training session started at 10:00 AM and finished at 5:00 PM. Mrs. Umme Kulsum, a local climate change expert conducted the training sessions. She asked three common questions; which at later stage were used to evaluate the training program. The questions were:

Q1. What is your favorite season?
Q2. What is the difference between weather and climate?
Q3. What is the responsible cause of climate change?

All participants conveyed that they have no clear idea about climate change, so that they wanted to know about climate change. They wanted to know how CC is occurring and what could be done to solve the problem of climate change impacts? Mrs Kulsum gave a simple lecture on impacts of climate change that are being faced by the coastal communities of Bangladesh. Then, she related these impacts with their responsible causes (science of climate change). She also discussed the sectoral impact and adaptation strategies of Bangladesh, and how local people could adapt this situation with the available resources. In the end, Mrs. Kulsum also discussed the Governmental policies and activities related to climate and development in Bangladesh. 

 Finally, an evaluation test was conducted by asking questions based on the training topic.  Participants conveyed that this training will be helpful for household’s awareness and community level awareness.

5. Major Impact of climate change in Peri-Urban Khulna
After a schedule discussion on climate change impacts, participants were divided into groups to document their local experiences of climate change. Documented impacts significantly varied between male and female stakeholders. Male members focused on agricultural impacts including heat stress, water logging, and environment pollution, whereas, female participants  focused on water related stress such scarcity of drinking water and outbreak of water borne diseases. Female participants also documented the difficulty in collecting drinking water from long distance. They said that household’s income generating activities, such as homestead vegetable production, poultry, goat and cow rearing have been reduced significantly in their areas. The community stakeholders documented the climate change impacts in the peri-urban areas of Khulna as following:   
  •          Scarcity of drinking water
  •          Agriculture land becoming fallow
  •          Lowering of groundwater table
  •          Environmental pollution due to absent in drainage system
  •          Groundwater pollution due to flood
  •          Human stress due to excess temperature
  •          Households and trees damage due to cyclone which hamper communication and economic loss
  •          Increased water logging condition
  •          Reduction of working efficiency
  •          Skin disease, diarrhea, and cholera outbreak
  •          Drainage congestion due to waste
  •          Life standard is hampered
  •          Due to excess and less rainfall' agricultural production is reduced
  •          Increased household’s poverty and loans
  •          Loss in shrimp and fisheries firms
  •          Impact on livestock and homestead gardens
6. Recommendation by the Trainee participants
Participant requested that ‘Community Based Training on Climate Change’ should be arranged at the local venue, so that more people could participate in these training programs for better capacity building of the peri-urban communities of Khulna.  

Photo Album of the Training Programme


Photo 1: Alutala & Putimary Peri-Urban Community.

Photo 2:  Alutala & Putimary Peri-Urban Community.


Photo 3:  Dr. Hamidul Huq and Mrs. Umme Kulsum  giving training on climate change to the South-Labonchora Peri-urban Community.

Photo 4:  South-Labonchora Peri-urban Community with the Trainer.


 Photo 5: North-Labonchora Peri-urban Community watching a video showing the vulnerability of women in water collection during floods.

Photo: 6: Women participants writing the impacts of climate change. 


Photo 7: Women group at Chhoto Boira presenting the most visible impacts of climate change in Peri-Urban Community in Khulna.

Photo 8: Chhoto Boira Peri-Urban Community.