Policy – Technology – Planning – Implementation has seldom been one straight highway in developmental issues like infrastructure, poverty, education or water! An all-encompassing approach to address these issues requires effective conversations. In case of water, the world hasn’t seen any coherent and well aligned approach to address this deepening crisis, in virtually every part of the world! The 2009 Water – Harvesting, Storage and Conservation Conference (WHSC) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur is a forum for discussion of important innovations, approaches and recent advances in water resources management.

Bharat Sharma of IWMI presented his case in the conference for a larger perspective on the water crisis and for a Nationwide Water Harvesting Initiative. Harvesting rainwater now, is an imperative for a groundwater dependent and once groundwater abundant India.

He observes that scarcity of water affect those whose livelihoods are dependent on water (mainly farmers). In relation to this, an individual’s capacity to control and regulate water resources is far too limited. The commonplace response to this since decades, has been creation of large scale irrigation canals and water projects. Several quarters of farmers have been missed out by these canals, and created an imbalanced situation today!

Under these circumstances, access or no access to water determines whether you would be a prosperous farmer or the one who would never be able to get even with his debts, by continuous failing of his crops! This indeed has led to a bold and visible stratification in the society across the rural landscape of India.