The the Stockholm Water Prize was awarded last week to New Delhi's Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) "for a successful recovery of old and generation of new knowledge on water management, a community-based sustainable integrated resource management under gender equity, a courageous stand against undemocratic, top-down bureaucratic resource control, an efficient use of a free press, and an independent judiciary to meet these goals."
CSE deserves it. Led by the inspiring Sunita Narain, CSE has campaigns trying to abate smog in Indian cities through the adoption of Euro III standards; question the impacts of global patent laws on Indians' health and livelihoods; promote sustainable industries and "climate equity" and generally "create awareness about the environmental challenges facing our nation." It's a powerhouse.
The Stockholm Prize was awarded specifically for their efforts to build community-based water management systems based on traditional practices combined with cutting-edge rainwater harvesting. As CSE founder Anil Agarwal explained before his death:
"The Real Green Revolution is about rainwater harvesting. Let us catch water where it falls. Let it transform human lives. Let it change social existence. If this happens, the world will be transformed. The world will merely be an agglomeration of ecological rainwater-harvesting democracies."
Three cheers for ecological rainwater-harvesting democracies!
Thousands of years of civilization all leading up to a barrel under a drain spout?
When civilization uses so much water for canning tuna (where I live in American Samoa) and we are fast approaching the water carrying capcity of the island this apparently primative idea may be better than paying $8.00 a gallon for imported drinking water. An additional blessing and problem for us is that being in the tropics we get about 200 inches of rain a year; that equals a lot of runoff from buildings which leads to flooding. Diverting at least some of that excess water for later use could help deal with some of our drainage problems. For more on rainwater harvesting: