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Partnerships between communities, the government, and civil society organizations can be effective in managing water resources

The basin of the Gagas River, a fragile spring-fed river in northern India, has seen major changes over the past few decades. Dwindling tree cover has led to a marked reduction in water flows. River fish no longer form part of the local diet, and agricultural production has declined.

 

Working with local communities with support from UNESCO-HELP, Grassroots, a local non-governmental organization, has helped to construct sanitary toilets, provide access to safe drinking water, and install rainwater harvesting systems and biogas plants. The initiative has also supported soil moisture conservation activities in small streams and has organized communities in eight villages to protect over 200,000 saplings of native species. More than 350 ha of village common land are now under protection, supported by 10 community-run nurseries. Over 500 traditional water harvesting pits (khals) have been constructed and rehabilitated.

 

This is an excerpt of a case study from WaterWealth, a publication on basin management across Asia and the Pacific. WaterWealth is available for download on the

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