Already today, I have been able to visit people and places in Yemen, India, Mexico, Niger, and Kenya to learn more about local and global water issues. How, you may ask? Easy, I reply – The Water Channel.
The Water Channel is a partnership between MetaMeta Communications, UNESCO-IHE, Cap-Net and Nymphaea. It has videos from around the world on water topics ranging from Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to watershed education and outreach.
My favorite videos so far include –
Water is a Gift: An artful animation about water produced by the Natural Water Resources Authority in Yemen (complete with English subtitles). This film juxtaposes drawings and digital video to talk about the significance of groundwater and drip irrigation in Yemen.
Tears (Lagrimas): A “fictional” film about a young girl wistful for the days when she was able to access water at a local source. This video has no words, only images, and was shown at fourth World Water Forum in Mexico.
Kenya: What Water Means to Me: One teacher at Karen ‘C’ Primary School in Kenya documents her students’ views on water. These students discuss the role of H20 in their daily lives: water shortages at school, water shortages at home, water-borne illnesses, and possible solutions to these water problems.
If you want to see others, visit the 164 videos (and counting) at The Water Channel website.
The California Colloquium on Water is a lecture-series presented by the Water Resources Center Archives (WRCA) at the University of California – Berkley. They have made available presentations from 2001 to 2007 in video format on-line.
While many of the presentations focus on regional specific water resource issues, several topics are relevant in the international arena of watershed studies such as groundwater, water re-use, desalination, dams, and drought.
See the WRCA web-site for a compilation of past lectures.
This evening, while reviewing yet another small town in India to endure water scarcity, this particular article caught my eye: Sundernagar faces acute water crisis.
Gujarat, located in West India, is bordered by the Arabian Sea and Pakistan. Citizens claim the town of Sundernager is facing water shortages because of mismanagement of water treatment facilities, in combination with recent drought in the area.
Often, for Europeans, Americans, or anyone with ample and seemingly endless supplies of water, it can be difficult to fathom life without access to water. Indeed, we hear about towns enduring desiccated traumas daily (especially on my water web-log), but do we understand…
In this particular article about Gujarat, the words of a local woman clarified well the plight of villagers:
“Our district suffers from a water crisis. Being a woman, I can understand how tough it is for a woman to fetch water from a stretch of two km,” said Tripti Shukla.
She speaks of hiking two kilometers for water, which equates to a distance of 1.3 miles. Obviously, hiking a mile with large water containers is going to be very tiring. There are also many others across the globe that hike long distances to deliver water rations to their homes daily.
In March of 2007, WaterAid premiered this 7.5 hour long film in Union Station that chronicled the journey of a young women from Sudan on her usual walk for a whole day to retrieve enough water for her family.
As they say, how far would you be willing walk for water?
This short selection was composed by International Rivers Network, a widely regarded environmental non-governmental organization that focuses much of it’s attention on the effects of dams on world rivers.
International Rivers works to protect rivers and rights, and promote real solutions for meeting water, energy and flood management needs.
Today, I read a review of a documentary produced by PBS on the agricultural crisis near the region of Vidarbha in Central India. This review, published on the blog Intercontinental Cry, evaluated the background of the agricultural crisis and the connected increase of suicides by farmers from the region. The film is called, India’s Dying Fields.
There are many underlying reasons farmers from Vidarbha are unable to produce viable crop-yields including extreme debts from loans, lack of governmental support, free-trade policies, and a shortage of water for irrigation.
Although, the lack of water is not the only issue for these farmers, cotton is a water-intensive crop usually grown in arid locations. With the advent of the Green Revolution, we as a society have had dwindling concern with actual inputs needed for food production. Additionally, the global economic system is set up in a manner to gain profit on these inputs, such as pesticides, herbicides, GM seeds, etc.
One possible solution could be a utilization of less water-intensive crops and employment of alternative or traditional cropping methods. Many farmers in Central America facing similar prospects have had great success using cooperative, organic, sustainable, diversified, and value-added techniques. These techniques usually have more viability in the global-market, require less financial input, utilize natural barriers to pests, and are less water-intensive. Could this be a possibility for Central India?
Watch the full documentary, India’s Dying Fields, here.