Past Projects :Environment & Disaster Management  

Promoting Rain Water Management and Environmental Conservation”

  1. About the Project

Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT) has been supporting AADHAAR under the project “Community Action for Sustaining Livelihood through Promoting Rain Water Management and Environmental Conservation” since Feb 2013.  This year-long support has been crucial for the organization as SDTT was the first funder to support the nascent organization to work on the issue of rainwater management with the long-term objective of sustaining livelihood in the region.

Under the project, five (5) villages of Gram Panchayat Mahar (Block Devprayag, District Tehri Garhwal) are being covered which has a total population of about 1212 besides animal population of about 622 (mainly buffaloes, cows and goats). These villages face acute water shortage almost drought-like conditions in the summers. As a result, the locals have given up agriculture while women and children in the villages spend most of the day fetching water from nearby available sources. Water is thus the biggest concern facing the community in the Panchayat and adjacent areas.

  1. What was proposed under the Project?

Under the project, it was proposed to develop some model strategies and solutions to address the problem of water scarcity, which include constructing rainwater harvesting structures ( Ferro cement tank and LDPE tanks) with community participation, plantation (fodder and other trees), constructing infiltration tanks, etc with the participation of community collectives (SHG and others).

III.  Outcomes of the Project

During the yearlong implementation, the project has been able to deliver on outputs and objectives proposed under the project.  Given that the project support was for the duration of one year, it is very early to speak in terms of the impact of the project but objectives that had been set out under the project have been achieved to a great extent.
A.Community Mobilisation:  Given that there are no community collectives in the field area (formal or informal), 6 women SHGs have been formed. SHG members now understand the importance of savings and are now starting credit and inter-loaning among them. There is a collective saving of Rs. 1.2 lac (approx.) in the SHGs. Village Water and Sanitation Committee have also been formed which has been actively engaged in planning and monitoring of the field level activities relating to construction. It also facilitated community contribution (cash and kind) for the construction of water tanks. However, these community-based groups are in their nascent stage and would need continuous support in order to sustain and grow.

B.LDPE Tanks for agriculture promotion through rainwater conservation: As proposed, 20 LDPE tanks have been constructed in the field as model structures for promoting agriculture through rainwater conservation. The proposed size for the tanks is 9 cubic meters but there have been cases where the beneficiaries have contributed their share in cash and kind in which case, the size of the tanks has varied. It is expected that the households would benefit from increased agricultural production (cereals, vegetables, etc) due to the availability of water for agriculture in the agricultural fields itself.
Also, instead of using plastic sheets at the base of the tanks, a different technique (based on local knowledge) has been used whereby the tank floors have been cemented to give more permanence to the structures.

C.Catchment Area Protection (gully plugging-Stone cratewire Check-dam): Three stone crate wire check-damshave been constructed on the seasonal water stream (locally called Gadera) in the Gram Panchayat in order to prevent massive loss of water during the rainy season. Three check dams have been constructed under the project with contribution from the Gram Panchayat in kind.

D.Ferro Cement Tank: 18 Ferro cement tanks (3000 ltrs) have been constructed in the villages with contribution in cash and kind from individual beneficiaries. These tanks would serve the daily needs of the households especially during summers when the villages face an acute water crisis.
E. Infiltration Well: One Infiltration well is being constructed on the same water stream (gadera) which is also being treated through check-dam construction. The site was selected on the basis of the local knowledge about availability of water in the stream all throughout the year. This is a new technique of water conservation that is being introduced in the region and if successful, it would serve as a model before the community as well as the district admn.

F. Plantation: With community participation,plantation was carried out both on individual as well as community land. Both fodder and horticulture saplings were planted to promote green coverage in and around villages. Out of the total 2000, about 25% saplings have survived the first year. 80% of the saplings planted in individual land have survived.
G. Capacity Building of SHG and VWSC members through Exposure visits: With no formal or informal community based groups existing in the field area prior to the project, it was essential to provide these new groups with information and knowledge on issues pertaining to collectivization and group management. Information was imparted to these groups informally during the monthly meetings and through exposure visits. Sri Bhubaneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA), Anjanisain (Tehri Garhwal) and Grassroots (Ranikhet) were visited by the members of the groups to learn from other organizations and the initiatives that women SHGs are involved. The visits have helped these women to understand the importance of these groups and how this could lead the way for their economic betterment.

III.Impact in the Field
With the project ending in Feb 2014, one of the main impacts is that the community is increasingly beginning to realize the importance of social collectives especially women who have formed SHGs. These women now understand how their small initiative could lead to social and economic changes at the community level and especially after the exposure visit to Grassroots, women are thinking of starting inter loaning to get involved in livelihood promotion activities. At the same time, a segment of the community is beginning to realize the need for rainwater conservation and have asked for AADHAAR’s support on the issue of water and sanitation in the future as well.

It is clearly visible in the Gram Panchayat that Households, who have constructed rainwater harvesting Ferro cement tanks, are using them for washing clothes and utensils. Interestingly they found tanks very useful in religious or marriage ceremonies. Through these tanks, around 1,08000 liters (3000 liter X 2 times X 18 Tanks) water is saved. Similarly LDPE tanks would help in storing at-least 180000 liters (9000 liters X 20 Tanks) for agriculture purposes.

Developing a roaster of District wise Disaster information Volunteers:

AADHAAR supported partner organisation -SEEDS, New Delhi to develop a roster of ‘Disaster Information Volunteers (“DIV’s”) in Uttarakhand. In emergencies, these volunteers will be able to provide near-real time firsthand information on extent of damage in their local communities as it was experienced during past disasters had hit remote locations in the State and made it extremely difficult to obtain timely and accurate damage information. This has hampered relief efforts to these locations, prolonging suffering and loss among affected communities.

Training on Institutionalized Sustainable Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM)

GNDR, SEEDS &AADHAAR organised two days National Training Course on Institutionalized Sustainable Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) –India on 29-30 August 2019 in “ HOTEL PACIFIC DEHRADUN, 19, Subhash Road, Dehradun (Uttarakhand), 248001

 

The National Training Course on Institutionalized Sustainable CBDRM primarily aimed to enhance the inherent capacities of CSOs and local Government DRR practitioners by learning common success factors towards institutionalizing sustainable CBDRRM.

Rudraprayag was one of the worst affected districts during the June 2013 Kedarnath valley disaster which resulted in a widespread loss to life and property across the district. Immediately after the disaster, AADHAAR was involved in relief work in District Uttarkashi and is now involved in post-disaster reconstruction in the state.

Under its education support, AADHAAR, in partnership with Empathy Foundation (Mumbai) worked in District Rudraprayag where two government Inter colleges rebuilt namely GIC-Narayankoti and GIC- Paldwadi (Block Ukimath). for this a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Empathy Foundation – AADHAAR and District Education Department, Rudraprayag for rebuilding the GICs that had been destroyed in the 2013 disaster. AADHAAR’s role primarily was to monitor the construction work at the GICs and to coordinate with the Contractor who was identified for undertaking the construction work. MoU between the State govt. and Empathy Foundation/AADHAAR was signed on April 15, 2015. Thereafter, MoU was also signed between Empathy Foundation/AADHAAR and the Principals of both the GICs and the Construction Company. The rebuilding work got underway in May 2014. On 3rd July 2015,  events were organized to handover the buildings of both the government inter colleges at Paldwari and Narayankoti, District Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand. This inaugural function was attended by the Empathy Foundation team which included Mr. Mitul Damani (Trustee, Empathy Foundation) Mr. Kheda (Trustee, Empathy Foundation) and Mr. Sundareswaran (CEO, Empathy Foundation) and Block Education Officer-Guptkashi. Four computers were also donated to GIC Narayankoti to promote the computer and e-learning in the school.

 

 

Developing a roaster of District wise Disaster information Volunteers:

AADHAAR supported partner organisation -SEEDS, New Delhi to develop a roster of ‘Disaster Information Volunteers (“DIV’s”) in Uttarakhand. In emergencies, these volunteers will be able to provide near-real time firsthand information on extent of damage in their local communities as it was experienced during past disasters had hit remote locations in the State and made it extremely difficult to obtain timely and accurate damage information. This has hampered relief efforts to these locations, prolonging suffering and loss among affected communities.

The National Training Course on Institutionalized Sustainable CBDRM primarily was aims to enhance the inherent capacities of CSOs and local Government DRR practitioners by learning common success factors towards institutionalizing sustainable CBDRRM.

Rudraprayag was one of the worst affected districts during the June 2013 Kedarnath valley disaster which resulted in widespread loss to life and property across the district. Immediately after the disaster, AADHAAR was involved in relief work in District Uttarkashi and is now involved in post disaster reconstruction in the state.

Under its education support, AADHAAR, in partnership with Empathy Foundation (Mumbai) worked in District Rudraprayag where two government Inter colleges rebuilt namely GIC-Narayankoti and GIC- Paldwadi (Block Ukimath). for this a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Empathy Foundation – AADHAAR and District Education Department, Rudraprayag for rebuilding the GICs that had been destroyed in the 2013 disaster. AADHAAR’s role primarily was to monitor the construction work at the GICs and to coordinate with the Contractor who was identified for undertaking the construction work. MoU between the State govt. and Empathy Foundation/AADHAAR was signed on April 15, 2015. Thereafter, MoU was also signed between Empathy Foundation/AADHAAR and the Principals of both the GICs and with the Construction Company. The rebuilding work got underway in May 2014. On 3rd July 2015,  events were organized to handover the buildings of both the government inter colleges at Paldwari and Narayankoti, District Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand. This inaugural function was attended by the Empathy Foundation team which included Mr. Mitul Damani (Trustee, Empathy Foundation) Mr. Kheda (Trustee, Empathy Foundation) and Mr. Sundareswaran (CEO, Empathy Foundation) and Block Education Officer-Guptkashi. Four computers were also donated to GIC Narayankoti to promote the computer and e-learning in the school.

 

 

Advocacy for Disaster Resilient Hill Cities Participatory Planning & Development

To advocate the need of disaster resilience hill cities in the state and to share the experiences of the Karanprayag Town, A One day state level consultation on Planned Urban Development and Disaster Resilience was organized by ODRC-AADHAAR at Mussorrie- Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA), Dehradun on April 17, 2015 with the support of Directorate of Urban Development, Govt of Uttarakhand.

The broad objective of the workshop was to inform and educate the elected representatives (Chairpersons) of Municipalities and Govt officials on the need for planned development in the emerging urban centers in the state of Uttarakhand. Given the vulnerability of the state to natural disasters and memories of the 2013 Kedarnath deluge still vivid, a need for systematic spatial growth is being increasingly felt. Large scale loss of life in Kedar valley has also been attributed to massive, unplanned construction that has become a common practice across the state. Although the state of Uttarakhand has its own set of Building Byelaws, there is negligible awareness among the local bodies about the same due to which, its implementation is weak across the state.

The participants included Chairpersons of the Urban Local Bodies (especially from the river towns of the Garhwal region), Govt officials (Executive Officers, Junior Engineers and SDM) besides representatives from NGOs. Urban local bodies that participated in the workshop include Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Srinagar, Gopeshwar, Chamoli, Gairsain, Ukimath, Harbertpur, Rishikesh, Kirtinagar, Pauri, Agastmuni, Nandprayag, Uttarkashi, Mussorrie, Doiwala, Gaucher, Pokhri, Joshimath, and Narendranagar.

There is a 4% increase in urban population in the state of Uttarakhand. Most of the urban population in the state is concentrated in cities like Dehradun, Haridwar, Kashipur, Rudrapur and Haldwani that are also important urban centers. This concentration of population has overburdened the existing infrastructure and civic amenities in these cities.

“To cater to the needs of increasing population (civic amenities, water and transportation etc) in Uttarakhand which lies in under seismic zone 4 and 5, there is an urgent need to pursue planned city development with stricter implementation of the building byelaws. At the same time, earthquake resistant building construction practices need to be promoted.”

                                                                                                                 Kamleshwar Singh (ODRC-AADHAAR)

Also, with limited clear space for expansion of these townships (most of the open land is forest, river and hilly terrain), these cities need to plan their existing infrastructure in such a manner that they are able to cater to the challenges of population pressure.

In his Inaugural Address, Dr. Meenakshi Sundaram (IAS), Vice-Chairperson (MDDA) stated that there is a great need to spread awareness among the community on disaster preparedness and management. He emphasized that community participation might be initially difficult but once informed and convinced, the community assists govt in its developmental efforts.

Key suggestions/points shared by Dr. Meenakshi Sundaram (IAS)

·   Education and information sharing with citizen is the first step towards disaster resilience

·   There is an need to develop a common understanding among the municipalities on Building Bye laws

·   Building Byelaws should be demystified for common people

·   Municipalities have the authority to develop their own building byelaws in accordance with the common framework provided by the Uttarakhand Building Byelaws.

·   Municipalities should identify some minimum non-negotiable in Buildiconstruction practices

Speaking about the building byelaws, he shared that these byelaws are not meant to curtail the freedom of the common person as is the general perception. Instead, they are meant to provide guidelines to people on how they can build safe houses for their families. If this message is understood well by the community, they would not resist or defy building byelaws.

Detailed presentation was made by Mr. S.K Pant, Senior Town Planner on the provisions of the Building Byelaws. (Annexure II: Building Byelaws in Uttarakhand). He shared that Uttarakhand Building Byelaws (2011) provide the overall framework on construction norms in the state. However, the State Municipality Act (Clause 298, List I) also empowers the Municipalities to draft their own byelaws but within the ambit of the Uttarakhand Building Byelaws (2011).

 The last technical session in the workshop was on the role of Municipalities and Disaster preparedness. Speaking on the need for effective legal provisions, Dr. Piyoosh Rautela, Executive Director (Disaster Management and Mitigation Center) pointed that lack of awareness about sound construction practices and site selection for construction, debris disposal due to infrastructure development and urbanization, poor drainage system in the urban areas etc are making human beings more vulnerable to disasters in the hills. He expressed the need for better coordination between Urban Local Bodies and the Disaster Management Center as local support is indispensible in the time of natural calamity.

 

 

Construction of Karnashila Disaster Resilience Building Technology Park, Karnaprayag

Karnashila Technology Park was set-up with the purpose of spreading awareness about safe construction practices in disaster prone hill areas using traditional construction technology that makes use of locally available material. The land in the main town (adjoining river Alaknanda) was allotted by the municipality for the construction of the park. The work on the technology site has started from the last week of February 2015 and completed in June 2015. A number of live models were constructed to display the various aspects (foundation, plinth, lintel, slab etc) of building construction and also a 10X10 feet model room was built to display the disaster resilient building technologies in the park for the common citizen and as well masons. 

On 18/06/2015,  a small event was organised on the occasion of inaugural of the Technology Park. The event was attended by the Counselors, Officials and few residents of Karanprayag.  Inauguration was done by the Mr. Subhash Gairola, President, M.C-Karanprayag. Mr. R.K Mukarji introduced and briefed about the models displayed in the park. This event was also captured by the Newspapers personnel -AmarUjala, Sahara, E TV, t.v 100, and Sahara T.V etc for mass awareness.

Celebration of International Disaster Reduction Day at Karanshila Technology Park

On the occasion of the International Disaster Reduction Day (Oct 13, 2015), a half day event was organized by ODRC-AADHAAR at Karnashila Technology Park, Karnaprayag. This Technology park has been built by ODRC-AADHAAR with the support of Karnaprayag Nagar Palika  in early 2015.

Skill Development of Masons on Disaster resilient building construction technologies

 Two skill develoment Training programmes were organised in November 2015 and March 2016 at Karanshila Technology Park for the masons involved in construction in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand . Around 50 Masons were Trained on the various aspects of safe/disaster resilient building construction. Major topics were covered were –

  • Types of the disasters and its impacts on buildings and life
  • Inputs on common mistakes in building construction specific to Uttarakhand
  • Inputs on safe construction of load bearing buildings in Uttarakhand
  • (Demo)in site training by modeling the load bearing building at technology park site in Karanprayag
  • Detailing of models displayed in the technology park.
  • Class rooms sessions on do and don’ts for safe construction etc