Sunday, November 25, 2012

Women and Water : Catalysing Leadership in Bangalore

Biome presented a paper at the National Conference on "Women-led Water Management: strategies towards water sustainability in rural India" held on Nov 5-6, 2012, at Gurgaon, Haryana. The Conference was jointly organized by The Institute of Rural Research and Development and UNICEF India. The link below directs you to the presentation that was made.

The role of women and water in running households, whether urban or rural, rich or poor, illiterate or educated cannot be overemphasized. It is but natural and intuitive to assume that women should play a key role in policy-making around water. However, much like across rural India this role is mainly played by men - even in the cities. This paper follows two different scenarios in and around Bangalore where women have come forward to play water policymaker roles. In both cases women have not only looked at water from a sourcing, supply and management point of view but primarily from a view of ensuring sustainability.

The first scenario illustrates the coming together of key women members in the water committee of a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) in a high-income, gated community called Ferns Paradise. These women invested much of their time, effort and money to ensure sustainable water supply by looking at demand management, rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment. The second scenario highlights the efforts of teachers, cooks, and female community group members in rural Bangalore, and the challenges they overcame to secure their village water supply.

Although apparently from opposite worlds, this paper shows that the two communities had the common interest of ensuring sustainable water supply especially for the future generations. Our organisation Biome (Biome Environmental Trust) was able to observe their successes as they unfolded first hand.

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