Sustained Conservation

  • 14/08/2001

Sustained Conservation For all the people scripting the success stories, there is a warning: history has seen the death of millions of the country's water structures due to government's apathy. Now, for the first time in the last 50 years governments have really shifted their focus to drought proofing from the adhoc drought management. But these new structures created in a frenzy in the last two drought years will test whether the governments concerned will undo this historical blunder. Sustainability is the biggest challenge that this movement faces. And sustainability depends solely on who manages these structures.

The Gujarat government's plans for these structures are indeed a pointer towards the fate of this movement. The chief minister says that the government departments will maintain the structures as water belongs to the state (see interview). Till now most of the check dams built under the 60:40 scheme are managed by the communities. The government is planning for an institution that will maintain these structures. With the institution being funded by the government, it will be nothing but an extension of a government department.

It will reverse the pace of the people's water conservation movement. The 60:40 scheme was successful because the community owns the structures and the programme was implemented without centralisation. Earlier in its

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