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Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India Moving from Understanding Conflicts to Resolving Conflicts Progress Report for Year One May 2008 - April 2009 Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) 16, Kale Park, Someshwarwadi Road, Pashan, Pune 411 008 Maharashtra, INDIA Tel: +91-20-2588 0786/ 2588 6542 Fax: +91-020-2588 6542 Email: [email protected] URL: http://conflicts.indiawaterportal.org

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Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India

Moving from Understanding Conflicts to

Resolving Conflicts

Progress Report for Year One

May 2008 - April 2009

Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India

Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management

(SOPPECOM)

16, Kale Park, Someshwarwadi Road,

Pashan, Pune 411 008

Maharashtra, INDIA

Tel: +91-20-2588 0786/ 2588 6542

Fax: +91-020-2588 6542

Email: [email protected]

URL: http://conflicts.indiawaterportal.org

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Moving from Understanding Conflicts to Resolving Conflicts

Progress Report: May 2008 to April 2009

This narrative report provides a brief description and review of the activities of the Forum in the first year of its work from May 2008 to April 2009. The main purpose of this report is to update the Advisory Committee and Steering Committee members about the work of the Forum and get suggestions from them.

Section 1: Activities of the central secretariat

1) Physical space and the secretariat team

The first task was to create the necessary physical space for the central secretariat at SOPPECOM. Now we have an exclusive space as well as other required physical infrastructure for the project like computers, broadband connectivity, etc.

Also we have a dedicated team at SOPPECOM for Forum’s work. Presently, K. J. Joy and Suhas Paranjape, Shruti Vispute, Pratima Medhekar and Ashwin Madhale (the last two for admin and accounts) constitute the team. Eventually as the activities pick up we need to strengthen the team by taking in one more full time person into the team.

2) Website on Water Conflicts

Dissemination through web is one of the major components envisaged in the project activities. India Water Portal had agreed to provide space on India Water Portal and to set up a portlet within the India Water Portal. Forum worked with India Water Portal (basically Shruti from SOPPECOM and Vijay Krishna and his colleagues from India Water Portal) to develop the

website. The website, http://conflicts.indiawaterportal.org/ , was launched during the one day event at Bhubaneshwar on 13 August 2008 by Aidan Cromin of Unicef while Vijay Krishna, from India Water Portal, Arghyam Trust, along with Shruti, explained to the participants its feature and contents.

This website will be a resource and interactive space for researchers, academicians, activists, policy makers, bureaucrats and for everyone who is interested in water conflicts and their resolution and prevention. Through the website individuals and organizations can join the network of Forum. They can contribute case studies on water conflicts, contribute in the e-discussions on the issues related to water conflicts, and write a blog, read selected water conflict case studies from the book “ Water Conflicts in India: A Million Revolts in the Making” which were published by Economic and Political Weekly in 2006.

Many people have started using it and SOPPECOM has been monitoring the data provided by Google Analytics on the people who are visiting the sites. We have also extensively canvassed for the website and the reports are that this along with the website launch function has had a positive impact on the subscription of India Water Portal. The usage of the website has gone up. Apart from the technical details on the site, Google Analytics also provides information on the number of people visited the site and their countries. Though most of the visitors for the website are from India, the site has also been visited by people from other countries like the United States, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, Japan, Norway, Ireland, Singapore, Brazil, South Korea, Spain, Finland, France, Ukraine and Ireland.

We have also started a newsletter that contains notifications on the site updates and

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announcements of water conflict related seminars, conferences, film festivals etc. This newsletter has shown a positive impact on the visits at the water conflict site.

3) Participation in UNDP’s Solution Exchange Water Community meet

The second annual meet of the Solution Exchange (SE) Water Community took place in Bangalore during 23-25 July 2008. On behalf of the Forum, K. J. Joy and Shruti Vispute participated in this meet and organized a stall on water conflicts under the knowledge mela. K J Joy was the resource person for the Water Conflicts theme in the knowledge Mela and Forum also put up the exhibition on water conflicts and also displayed other related materials like the water conflict book. It provided an ideal opportunity for Forum to get comments, questions, feedback from members and interact with a wide spectrum of people and also get a good feedback as what Forum could do. The questions/ queries received by the participants were taken up for discussion in smaller group and later summarized by K J Joy.

4) Queries on water conflicts on water community e-discussion

One of the important activities of the Solution Exchange water Community is its e-discussion. During the annual meeting at Bangalore this issue was discussed with Nitya Jacob and others from the Solution Exchange Water Community and it has been agreed that the Forum would initiate discussion among the members through queries related to water conflicts and one way we would do this is to formulate queries as per different types of water conflicts. So far we have posted queries on the following themes:

Flood induced water conflicts

Forum had posted a query on flood induced water conflicts on the background of the floods in Bihar. This query has received good response from academicians, development practitioners and independent researchers who are members of the water community.

All the replies received are consolidated by the Solution Exchange and are available online at solution exchange website as well as Water Conflicts website.

Query on drinking water related conflicts

Forum has also initiated a discussion on the query on drinking water related conflicts. The immediate context of starting this query was the Citizens Report on Domestic Water and Sanitation that is being planned by WaterAid India. Forum intends to contribute a chapter on drinking water related conflicts in the Citizens Report. The responses to this query will be further incorporated into the Citizen’s report. All the replies received are consolidated by the Solution Exchange and are available online at solution exchange website as well as Water Conflicts website.

Query on Sand Mining and related Conflicts

Forum also initiated a discussion on the query on sand mining and related conflicts. This query also received interesting responses from participants. All the replies are consolidated and available at SE website.

Currently the Forum is planning to take a review of all the queries related to water conflicts posted on Solution Exchange i.e. flood induced water conflicts, conflicts related to drinking water and sand mining related conflicts. This review will be taken as a base for further discussion.

5) Coordination of the theme “Contending water Uses” during the SaciWATERs conference in Sri Lanka

South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs) organised an international conference on Water Resources Policy in South Asia during 18 – 20 December at Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Forum coordinated the theme, “Contending Water Uses and Users

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and Inter-Sectoral Equity in South Asia: Cases and Learnings for a New Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework" during the conference. The Forum prepared a concept note and circulated widely inviting abstracts for the conference. Five papers were selected for the presentation in the conference.

1. Economic Development and Intersectoral Water Conflicts: A Study of the Transitional Economy of Orissa, India by Dr. Padmaja Mishra and Dr. Aurobindo Behera

2. Modeling the Conflict and (Possible) Cooperation over Cauveri Water Dispute: Insights from Drama Theory by Suman Ranjan Sensarma

3. Contending Water Uses and Users and Inter-Sectoral Equity in India: Agenda for a New Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework by K. J. Joy and Suhas Paranjape

4. Multiple Water Conflicts and their Magnitude in Minor Irrigation Tanks of South India (Necessity to rebuild Water Social Capital with Empowerment Model) by Dr. A. Gurunathan and Dr. N. Venkatesan

5. Inter-Sector Allocation of Hirakud Dam Water: An economic Analysis by Dr. Sanjukta Das

6) Participation in Meta Culture Film Festival

Meta-Culture Dialogics in collaboration with the Bangalore Film Society, Alliance Francaise de Bangalore and Max Mueller Bhavan organized a week long international film festival on Conflict Resolution titled, “Peace and Conflict Resolution: Reflections through Cinema”. The festival was held in Bangalore between October 13-19, 2008, to mark the Conflict Resolution week. On behalf of the Forum K J Joy delivered a talk on ‘Water Conflicts in India: A Million Revolts in the Making: Moving towards Resolution and Prevention’. The poster exhibition on water conflicts and copies of the book were also displayed.

7) Contribution in One India One People Magazine

In response to the request received from One India One People, a monthly magazine (www.OneIndiaOnePeople.com) K. J. Joy has contributed an article titled ‘Water Conflicts in India: Need for an Inclusive Framework and Dialogue’ in their special issue devoted to water.

8) National Workshop on “Water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs and the legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution” 30-31 March 2009, Pune

Forum organized a two-day national workshop on “Water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs and the legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution” on 30-31 March 2009 in Pune.

The main objective of this workshop was to discuss and come to a shared understanding on two critical issues related to water conflicts and especially their resolution and prevention.

1. Water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs 2. Legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution

The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Baba Adhav, Maharashtra Rajya Dharan va Prakalp Grasta Shetkari Parishad (an umbrella organisation of the dams and projected affected people), Pune, Maharashtra. Prof. Ramaswamy Iyer chaired the Session. Eminent scholars, activists and policy makers from the water sector in India participated in this workshop including Prof. Ramaswamy Iyer, Prof. Janakarajan, Prof. Dulal Chandra Goswami, Dr. Baba Adhav, Ms. Medha Patkar, Dr. Bharat Patankar, Mr. Ajit Nimbalkar, Dr. Biksham Gujja and many more. Presentations on the two themes – Water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs and Legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution – were made by K. J. Joy and Philippe Cullet respectively. The workshop followed more of a brainstorming mode with

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intense group work. The workshop ended with a plenary on ‘Mapping entitlements, law and institutions: Way forward for conflict resolution and prevention’ on 31 March. The panelists included Achyut Das, Ajit Nimbalkar, Bharat Patankar, Dulal Chandra Goswami, Jayanta Bandopadhyay, Sunita Nadhamuni, Medha Patkar, K. V. Rao and M. S. Vani. (The proceedings of the workshop would be circulated separately soon).

9) Thematic subgroups on water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and environment

During the last three-four years of Forum’s work which involved extensive documentation of different types of conflicts it became very clear that many of the conflicts centre around the issue of water entitlements for livelihoods, issues of equity and access and also allocations for ecosystem needs. To have a meaningful process of resolving some of these conflicts then evolving a social consensus around entitlements, rights, allocations and ecosystem (environmental) needs is very critical. Presently there is no common understanding on these and different people (stakeholders), depending on their location, have very different conceptions on these. Minimum water assurance – quantity and quality – for livelihoods and ecosystem needs is a pivotal issue in conflict resolution. In this context Forum has decided to set up a sub-group to prepare a position paper on this theme. Similarly the Forum would also set up another sub-group on the theme of legal and institutional issues. The two position papers by these groups can then be fed into the outreach and policy advocacy outputs while partially defining the strategic approach for conflict resolution.

The discussions during the National Workshop held on 30-31 March 2009 have contributed towards the formation of both the groups.

Thematic subgroup on water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs

While setting up a framework for the subgroup, we have purposely kept both livelihood needs and ecosystem needs together under this sub-group because if we constitute two separate groups then very often the reports may be at loggerheads with each other each one stressing the importance of one particular issue and it becomes more polarised. It is important that we have an integrated understanding of both.

In terms of timeframe the group would take about 6 months for the final output. Once the draft is ready towards the end of fifth month then the Forum will organise a national consultative meeting to discuss the draft and get suggestions and we will also circulate the draft over various e-discussion groups and elicit comments and suggestions from wide section of people. Then over the next month or so the group would finalise the position paper. The final output would be used for dissemination and outreach and building a broad consensus across various actors/stakeholders in the water sector.

The sub group on water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs includes following members:

1. K. J. Joy: Coordinator – SOPPECOM and Coordinator of Forum 2. Latha A.: Member – Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshan Samithi, Trichur. She is a member of

the Forum’s Steering Committee 3. M. K. Prasad: Member – well known environmentalist from Kerala, former president of

KSSP, and member of the National Advisory Committee of the Forum. 4. Shripad Dharmadhikary: Member – Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Badwani (M.P.). He is a

Steering Committee member of the Forum 5. K. P. Soma: Member - expert on gender and livelihood issues and independent

consultant based at New Delhi 6. Priya Sangameswaran: Member - Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata

First meeting of this subgroup is scheduled for 13 June 2009 at Kochi, Kerala.

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Thematic subgroup on Legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution

The type of conflict resolution suggested by many scholars working in this field received very little support from the legal system and that it was important to critically look at the present constitutional and legal framework (including customary law) and institutional structures in the light of water conflicts. Water is a state subject and it has a close association with property. The law has so far considered the interest of the propertied class and so in reality, especially in issues involving water conflicts, water has been treated as an economic asset for economic prosperity or as a matter of ownership rights in the sense of who has the right of ownership of water. This is far removed from treating water as a regulated 'natural resource' in the fullest sense. In this context the Forum felt the need to bring in three important perspectives – namely a human rights perspective (including that of food security), a right to livelihood perspective and an environmental rights perspective – to bear on the present constitutional and legal framework and identify how we should proceed in building an enabling legal and institutional framework conducive to an equitable, sustainable and just resolution of water conflicts. It is also important to engage with the debate surrounding the rapidly changing context around us.

Within this broad framework, the Forum has proposed to set up a sub-group to prepare a position paper that would focus following key questions:

• What are the legal provisions necessary to make the independent regulatory bodies act the way we want: for example make them take into account the rights perspectives we want (the human rights, livelihood rights and environmental rights?

• What legal freedoms or restrictions must they have in order to do so about water?

• How centralized must such a body be in order to ensure effective conflict resolution? How does a viable decentralization sit with the law?

• How does one ensure rights, and whether we can do so, while leaving avenues open for profit-making and economic activity generally?

The group would include following members:

1. Philippe Cullet: Coordinator of the Sub group, IELRC, New Delhi 2. Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, Delhi 3. M. K. Ramesh, National Law School, Bangalore 4. M. S. Vani, Development Centre for Alternative Policies, New Delhi 5. Suhas Paranjape, Senior Fellow, SOPPECOM, Pune

The first meeting of this group will take place in early July 2009.

10) Coordination of the Chapter on Conflicts related to Drinking Water for Citizens Report on Domestic Water and Sanitation

Forum would be coordinating a chapter on conflicts related to drinking/domestic water in the country for the Citizens Report on Domestic Water and Sanitation that is being planned by WaterAid India. As part of this effort we are compiling few conflict case studies related to drinking water issues under different settings like urban, rural, urban-peri-urban and so on. The 5-6 case studies would be part of the overall chapter on water conflicts. Forum is in a process of selecting case studies and authors for them.

11) Formation of the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee (SC) which has a crucial role to play in the proper operationalisation of the project has been formed. Some of the important considerations that went into the selection of people were: 1) a few members from the earlier SC to ensure continuity, 2) a few members from the central secretariat and state centres, and 3) a few independent academics. We have also tried to give regional representation. The names of the members of the SC are given below:

1. A Latha, Chalakudy River Samrakshana Samithi, Trichur, Kerala

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2. Chandan Mahanta, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam 3. Malavika Chauhan, Himmothan Cell, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

4. Pranab Choudhury, Shristi, Baitarani River Basin Project, Bhubaneswar, Orissa 5. R Parthasarathy, GIDR (now with CEPT), Ahmedabad, Gujarat 6. Shripad Dharmadhikary, MANTHAN, Badwani, MP 7. Subodh Wagle, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 8. S. Janakarajan, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Chennai, TamilNadu

9. Philippe Cullet, International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC), New Delhi 10. Sara Ahmed, Gender and Water Alliance and Utthan, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

11. Vinod Goud, WWF-ICRISAT, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh 12. Suhas Paranjape, SOPPECOM, Pune, Maharashtra 13. K J Joy, SOPPECOM, Pune, Maharashtra

First meeting of the Steering Committee

The first meeting of the Steering Committee took place in Konark, Orissa on 12 August 2008. The meeting contributed towards streamlining the project activities and setting up the State Centres. The discussions in the meeting took place mainly on the following issues:

• Update on the work

• Role of the Steering Committee

• Project activities and budget

• Forum’s initiative on Sardar Sarovar project

• Polavaram project

• Finalizing members of the Advisory Committee for the Forum

• Additional resource mobilization

One of the important issues discussed in detail was the role of the SC and the meeting came up with some important operational guidelines for the constitution and functioning of the SC. Joy made an initial presentation outlining three important functions of SC that include:

1. To see that the project is being implemented within the mandate given in the project proposal and any major or significant deviations from the proposal – in terms of both activities and financial matters – have to be approved by the SC.

2. To take periodic review of the project activities and also contribute or provide inputs for the proper implementation of the project.

3. To help with resource mobilisation for the Forum. At the moment we have got only one-third of the required resources. So we need to raise the remaining two-thirds. The SC members would also give proactive suggestions to make the work of the Forum more meaningful.

During the discussions that followed the following amendments and additions were made:

1. There was a suggestion to replace the words “approved by” in function 1 above with “made in consultation with”. Thus the function 1 would now read as the following: “Any major or significant deviations from the proposal – in terms of both activities and financial matters – have to be made in consultation with the SC members.

2. SC’s functions would be beyond that of a Governing Body and it will have a larger accountability to the project and Forum. Its function would involve evaluative governance and guidance.

3. Presently the SC consists of two types of members: some of the members are part of the execution of the project and the other members are not part of execution. Since the SC has predominantly a governance function the issue was raised whether the presence of members who are also part of execution would amount to conflict of interests. In the Pune meeting the issue of the composition was discussed and arrived at certain broad norms and one of the norms was that the SC should include some of the implementing

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partners as they have a direct stake in the proper implementation of the project. However, to see that the SC does its governance function properly the meeting decided that proportion of members in the SC who are also part of the execution of the project would not be more than 40%. Though all the members would participate in the discussions on all issues, in case any matter comes for voting or taking a decision by majority then the member who has a direct interest or stake in that issue as an implementer would not participate in that particular decision making process. Here an implementer-member would mean any member from who is from the state centres or from the central secretariat.

4. The SC will have a Chairperson for more proactive, productive and co-ordinated work. The term of the Chairperson would be one year. He/she will not be an implementer of this project. For the first year of the project, i.e. 2008-09, Dr. R. Parthasarathy of GIDR will be the Chairperson of the SC.

5. Joy from SOPPECOM would function as Member Secretary of the SC. 6. The meeting also decided that a member not attending two consecutive meetings of the

SC would forfeit his/her membership in the SC. 7. All SC members will receive a copy of all the progress reports, financial reports that

SOPPECOM will send to Arghyam or other funding agencies. 8. For easier communication among the SC members it was decided to set up a Yahoo

Group and Shruti from SOPPECOM will set up this group by 31 August and regularly moderate it.

12) Advisory Committee of the Forum

This issue got discussed during the above described SC meeting. The meeting felt that apart from lending credibility, visibility and also assist in policy outreach at the national level the Advisory Committee can also play a role in ensuring quality of work, providing advice and broad direction to the project and helping the Forum to connect with a larger set of stakeholders. The Advisory Committee members can also help in mobilising resources for the Forum. The names of the AC members are given below:

1. A. Vaidyanathan, former member Planning Commission, headed the Irrigation Pricing Committee, Chennai

2. Amita Baviskar, IEG, New Delhi 3. B. N. Yugandhar, ex-Member, Planning Commission, New Delhi 4. Bharat Patankar, Pani Sangharsh Chalwal and Shramik Mukti Dal, Kasegaon (Sangli) 5. Biksham Gujja, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Switzerland 6. Darryl D’Monte, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India; International Federation

of Environmental Journalists, Mumbai 7. Dulal Chandra Goswami, Guwahati University, Guwahati 8. Jayanta Bandopadhyay, IIM, Kolkata 9. M. K. Prasad, KSSP, Cochin 10. Medha Patkar, NIPM, Mumbai 11. Navroz Dubhash, JNU (now Centre for Policy Research), New Delhi 12. Ramaswamy Iyer, former Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, New Delhi 13. Rohini Nilekani/ Sunita Nadhamuni, Arghyam, Bangalore 14. S. Parasuraman, Director, TISS, Mumbai 15. Sudarshan Iyengar, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmedabad 16. Tushar Shah, IWMI, Anand 17. Y. K. Alagh, Ahmedabad, Chairman IRMA, and former Union Minister

Combined Meeting of the National Advisory Committee and Steering Committee of the Forum

A combined meeting of Forum’s SC members and AC members took place on 31 March 2009 (immediately after the National Workshop). During the meeting K. J. Joy provided an update on

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the Forum’s activities so far. A. Latha and Pranab Choudhary provided updates on the functioning of Kerala and Orissa resource centres respectively.

The Advisory and Steering Committee Members responded to the activity plan and the activities completed so far and also to the plans of the State Resource Centres.

Dr. Chandan Mahanta (SC member) from Guwahati presented a plan on a book on water conflicts in the north east. In fact he presented a very detailed chapter plan along with potential authors. However, the members of the AC and SC felt that it may not be advisable at the moment to go for such a book (because of reasons like time and resource constraints) and instead should prepare a paper highlighting the issues and giving an outline of an alternative perspective and then hold a meeting based on this draft. Chandan has agreed to take this forward.

13) Efforts for Resource Mobilization

Arghyan has provided one-third of the required financial resources and Forum is supposed to raise the remaining two-third. We have made some attempts to raise the remaining part of the required resources. But so far we have not been successful. This issue was discussed during the SC meeting and some of the members have said that they would also make efforts to bring in more resources. This is one area that needs little more concentrated attention and efforts.

On behalf of the Forum SOPPECOM has approached Sida, New Delhi and has sent them the project proposal. Response is awaited from Sida.

On behalf of the Forum SOPPECOM has approached SaciWATERs, Hyderabad and in a process of building up a proposal on Water Conflicts in South Asia for SaciWATERs.

The Forum is in the process of preparing three concept notes for resource mobilization on:

1. Climate Change and Water Conflicts 2. Water Conflicts in South Asia 3. Capacity building and Methodologies for Conflict Resolution

Forum also presented the proposal to WaterAid. They have said that they would get back to us.

Section 2: Activities of Kerala Resource Centre

The partner organisation from Kerala – Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi (CPSS) – submitted the proposal to the Forum for the Kerala State Resource Centre (KSRC) on ‘Towards Resolving Upstream Downstream Conflicts in Chalakudy River Basin, Kerala’. SOPPECOM on behalf of the Forum provided some suggestions and modifications to this proposal. The revised proposal was presented during the Steering Committee (SC) meeting at Konark. The members of the SC provided valuable comments and suggestions to revise the proposal. Accordingly Latha from CPSS has revised the proposal and it was sent to the members of the SC for their comments. After the approval from SC the KSRC started functioning from 1 October 2008.

1) Office space and resource centre team

A field office has been identified at Chalakudy close to the town and activities have been initiated at field level. The address of the office is Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi, Chaithanya, Moozhikkakadavu, Pariyaram.P.O., Chalakudy – 680721, Kerala

Current team of the resource centre includes Dr. A. Latha (Centre Coordinator and Principal Investigator), S. P. Ravi (Research Associate) and R. Sival and Rajneesh (both local activists).

2) State level Steering Committee (SC) and Advisory Committee (AC)

The State level Steering Committee for Kerala has been set up including three members apart from the Centre Coordinator, Latha. They are:

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1. Dr. Ajay Kumar Verma, Executive Director, Kerala Sanitation Mission, Thiruvananthapuram who has been a scientist with the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS)

2. Dr. George Chackacherry, Scientist at Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Kozhikode presently under the Wetland Unit of the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment , Thiruvananthapuram

3. Dr. K. M. Namboothiri, a water resources and management expert working as independent international consultant.

4. Dr. Indira Devi, College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 5. Mr. N. Padmanabhan, Secretary, Kerala State Union of Working Journalists

The Centre has also set up the State level Advisory Committee. The members of AC include:

1. Dr. V. S. Vijayan, Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board 2. Dr. Baby Kurian, IAS, District Collector, Thrissur who has worked as water expert to

UNDP. 3. Dr. K. N. Harilal, Member, Kerala State Planning Board 4. Dr. K. N. Nair, Director, Centre for Development Studies, Trivendrum 5. Mr. Rajaji Mathew Thomas, MLA, Ollur Constituency, Chairman, Kerala State

Legislative Committee for Environment

Kerala State steering committee meeting

The first State Level Steering Committee of the Kerala State Centre was held on 25 April 2009 at PWD rest house at Chalakudy. The meeting was attended by four Steering Committee members; Dr. Ajay Kumar Varma, Dr. George Chackacherry, Dr. Indira Devi, and Sri. N. Padmanabhan. Sri. K. Madhavan Namboothiri expressed his inability to attend the meeting due to some personal problems. The meeting was also attended by K. J. Joy, Shruti Vispute and Pratima Medhekar from SOPPECOM, on behalf of Forum for Policy Dialogue on Water Conflicts in India. M. Mohandas from Chalakudy River Protection Forum, the project team of the Kerala State Centre and other members of Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samithi also participated in the meeting.

3) Activities of the centre

Documentation

The Centre has started documentation of the Athirappilly conflict. Collection and filing of press clippings and reports on the various issues and conflicts in the river basin in general and the Athirappilly issue in particular is in progress as a first step. Also, the Centre has been going through the data regarding the reservoir operation patterns of Kerala Sholayar and Poringalkuthu projects for the last several years.

A request has been made to the Water Resources Department (WRD) for accessing maps, data and information related to the operations of the Major Irrigation project – The Chalakudy River Diversion Scheme (CRDS). A meeting was held with the Minister for Water Resources in person at his office in Thiruvananthapuram on the 15th of October and he has forwarded the request to the Additional Chief Secretary who is in charge of the WRD as well.

The survey of the Main Canals both RBC and LBC of the Chalakudy River Diversion Schemes (CRDS) has been completed. The main objective was to document the issues related to CRDS operation. The two local activists had visited villages along the canal, talking to the farmers, officers from the local self-governments, and department officials all along the canal walk. It is decided to take up 6 grama panchayaths (through which the canals pass) for detailed assessment of the water management, selection of best practice farmers and for the identification of the lift irrigation projects to work

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Mullaperiyar and Kabani

The team has started on some very preliminary work related to the ongoing Mullaperiyar controversy. The Forum and the Kerala Resource Centre has decided to initiate a rapid assessment of the situation followed by dialogues with both the governments, farmer groups, agitating groups etc.

The Centre has also initiated another study of the Kabani catchment, a vital interstate, east flowing Western Ghats River which is also in the helm of controversy. The study has been initiated to assess the water availability and needs of the local self governments in the Kabani catchment. Ferns Nature Club based at Mananthawady, Wayanad has been entrusted with this work.

Reservoir operations model

Data collection for developing the draft reservoir operation model(s) has started. Details of water diversion through Parambikulam Aliyar project are also being processed. Daily power generation details at Poringalkuthu are expected. Water release details through the CRDS canal systems for the past 10 years have been collected. Data for prior periods is yet to be collected. Field assessment of water availability and people’s perceptions about water needs are being assessed.

Consultations with external experts on the technicalities of preparing reservoir operation model shall be carried out in June 09. Stakeholder identification as well as interaction with some of the stakeholders is planned in the coming quarter.

4) Initiative on Mullaperiyar

Over the last few years tension has been mounting between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam. The Forum had decided to get involved in the issue and the Kerala Resource Centre would also be part of this initiative. On 31 March, during the National Workshop, we organised a small meeting of people who would be involved in this issue and they included S. Janakarajan, N. C. Narayanan (IIT, Mumbai), Latha, Biksham Gujja, Suhas and Joy. It was decided to prepare a project proposal on this and the main components of the proposal would be 1) taking up thematic studies (on reservoir, reservoir operation and conveyance; and on issues related to the ayacut area 2) outreach, dissemination and dialogue based on the findings of the studies. The core idea is that the dialogue should be based on scientific studies and inputs.

Section 3: Activities of Orissa resource centre

Orissa is the second state that Forum had decided to get involved intensively and set up a resource centre. On behalf of the Orissa Water Forum (a network of many civil society organisations), Shristi, NGO working in Baitarni river basin, would anchor the work in Orissa. Pranab Choudhury presented the proposal, ‘Engaging with Water Conflicts in Orissa’, during the SC meeting at Konark. Based on the feedback from the SC meeting, the proposal was revised and submitted to Forum. The Centre has formally started functioning from January 2009.

1) Team mobilisation and orientation

Pranab Choudhury will be responsible as a project coordinator and will work on part-time basis. Ranjan Mahapatra will provide necessary administrative and financial facilitation being the executive director of Shristi. For the present, it has been decided that, the administrative and accounting staff of Shristi will provide necessary support in their fields as required. Priyabrata Satapathy and Subhendu Acharya have joined the research team as research associate and research assistant respectively.

2) Orissa Book Launch-cum-seminar

Forum in collaboration with Orissa Water Forum (OWF) organized a one day Book launch cum Seminar on water conflicts in Orissa on 13 August 2008 at Bhubaneswar. The daylong event

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included the Orissa launch of the Book, “Water Conflicts in India – A million revolts in making; launch of website on water conflict and two technical sessions on ‘Mapping of water conflicts in Orissa’ and ‘Methodologies in dealing with Water Conflicts’. More than 100 participants from different parts of the Orissa representing different stakeholders like Government Departments, academia, media, NGOs attended this one-day event.

3) Formation of State Steering Committee

The State Steering Committee has been constituted as envisaged in the larger proposal. Accordingly a six member-SSC (including the member secretary who is also the project coordinator) has been constituted. The members are Mr. Achyut Das, Director Agragamee, Mr. Tapan Padhi, Chairman NID, Dr. Sisir Behera, OCTMP (Odisha Community Tank Management Project, Government of Odisha) and Prof. Shambu Prasad, XIMB (Xaviers Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar). All these are also members of the Core Committee, Odisha Water Forum. The response of Dr. Mamata Swain, NCDS (Nabakrushna Choudhury Development Studies) is being awaited as the sixth member of the steering committee. Mr. Achyut Das has been chosen as the Chairperson for the first year.

First SSC meeting

First Meeting of Steering Committee was held on 10th March 2009 at Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar with Dr. Shisir K. Behera as the convener. Mr. Achyut Das presided over the meeting. Mr. Pranab Choudhury, Member Secretary presented the agenda note and the progress report of the project till date.

It was also decided that the meeting of the SSC will be four times a year and the next SSC meeting will be arranged in a water conflict zone/area.

4) Orissa State Advisory Committee

The Odisha State Center with consultation to its SSC members has developed a preliminary list of potential members for the State Advisory Committee. The names have been chosen as per their influence in their own fields like media, academics, politics, development etc. in relation to water sector. A draft list of the possible members has been prepared and a few more names would be included later. It was also emphasized to include persons only from Odisha or having worked on water issues in Odisha in the Advisory Committee. SSC was to form different working groups from the members of the Advisory Committee members to look into the respective issues in relation to water conflict.

5) Activities of the centre

The Orissa team has already started conducting regional workshops on water conflicts and initiating process of scouting, documentation, analysis and dissemination of cases of water conflicts in Orissa through engagement with media, local NGOs and secondary reviews. It is also planned to start a comprehensive review of secondary materials on industry-agriculture conflict around Hirakud and also to make preliminary visits to the site for exploring local partner NGO. The process of data collection and review of literature has already begun by the research team.

First Regional Workshop

The objective behind these regional workshops is to identify water conflicts from the region with the help of participants from civil society. As Hirakud has been on the agenda as the main conflict area of study, the state center arranged its first regional workshop at Sambalpur on 19 April 2009, in collaboration with two local NGOs, i.e. Odisha River Network and MASS and conducted a half day special session during the ‘Odisha River Conference’, a national level conference arranged by these two Sambalpur based organizations. Along with the participants of the conference, many other NGOs, CSOs, academicians, researchers, farmers and media persons from within Sambalpur as well as the different parts of western Odisha were invited to this

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special session.

This workshop helped the State Center to get a broad picture of the scenario of water conflict in Western Odisha around issues like dams, displacement, diversions, pollution, water sharing etc. apart from valuable insight into the industry vs. agriculture conflict at Hirakud right from the key stakeholders. It also facilitated in developing contact with local civil society and media which will help the center’s further work in this region. About four water conflicts have been identified for further documentation which will be followed up with the resource persons already identified. It is also planned to develop some 2-page note each around other conflicts that were highlighted during the workshop.

Meeting of Odisha Water Forum

A district level workshop of ‘Odisha Water Forum’ on water issues and rights has been conducted for the district Phulbani-Kandhamal. The workshop was held on 26th Feb. 2009 at Press Club, Phulbani Town. People from various section of the locality like media, voluntary organization, legal field, NGOs, academics, youth and general public actively participated and discussed different local level issues/problems on water.

Documentation of Water Conflicts

Unlawful sand mining has been active along the course of the Kuakhai River. Unabated excavation of sand, most of which, illegal, being done to meet the requirements of the booming construction industry in Bhubaneswar and its adjoining area has put some adverse impact on river ecology. Keeping the impact of environmental and natural hazards on local community and the resulting conflict in view, it has been found that sand mining is one of the serious aspects to be looked into. On this basis, a preliminary field study has been done to examine the status of sand mining and other related activities on the bank of River ‘Kuakhai’. The further work is in progress to bring out more information on the situation.

Similarly documentation is also being developed on the basis of secondary sources review like local dailies, newspapers and other media sources to document the existing water conflict areas as well as the areas having potential for future conflicts.

Tracking News on Water Conflicts in Local Media

An initiative has also been started to collect, tag and analyze the news around water conflict in Orissa from different Oriya as well as English dailies. Currently the Centre is covering six major dailies and some periodical journals regularly. The collection, identification and cataloging of the news is being done under the categories like Newspaper, Date, Edition, Page, Journalist, Conflict, Location etc. So far the main issues that have been identified in this process are industrial water use, displacement and rehabilitation, drinking water, culture and livelihood issues, pollution, interstate dispute, sand mining, irrigation, human Vs. animal for water, river valley project issues etc.

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Some visuals of the year’s happenings…

First meeting of the Steering Committee, Konark, Orissa, 12 August 2008

Book launch cum Seminar on water conflicts, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, 3 August 2008

Coordination of the theme “Contending water Uses” during the SaciWATERs conference in Sri Lanka

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National Workshop on “Water entitlements and allocations for livelihoods and ecosystem needs and the legal-institutional framework for conflict resolution” 30-31 March 2009, Pune

Kerala State Steering Committee Meeting, Chalakudy, 25 April 2009

First regional workshop at Sambalpur, Orissa, 19 April 2009