A Solution Driven National Seminar on “Water Food Security for All” was conducted at Jain Hills, Jalgaon (India) on 19th and 20th December 2014. This was organized by Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra and Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar, Rajasthan. There was an overwhelming response to this event with more than 225 participants/experts in different areas from all over the country. There were representative from NGO’s, Research Organizations, Academics, Private sectors and Farmers.
Mr. Anil Jain. MD of Jain Irrigation explained the theme of the conference with inaugural address. Shri Rajendra Singh expressed the need to integrate the traditional knowledge and recent science and technology for attaining water security and he said without water security it is very difficult to attain food security. In his Key note address Madhavrao Chitale explained the need of using the engineering tools for betterment of the nation. Mr. Bhavarlal Jain also shared his experiences about the journey he has traversed to achieve where he stands. He explained the need of marrying the tradional knowledge and recent science for arid and semi-arid regions of India. Other chief guests were Mr. Subbarao, a veteran freedom fighter and social worker. And Mrs. Radha Bhat, a veteran Gandhian and social worker. Then there were six different presentations as per six thematic tracks.
A: Role of people’s participation and movements to achieve water security for all
B: Success and Failure in watershed management
C: Sustainable Revival of Large Irrigation Projects and Interlinking of River
D: Water Laws, Governance and their Relevance
E: On-Demand Water Management and Reuse of TWW in Agriculture
F: Sustainable Water Management for Agriculture with Focus on Water-Energy-Food Nexus
After these presentations the whole participants were divided into six parallel sessions as per their liking and expertise. These subjects were deliberated, debated and discussed in these session. The chair, co-chair and rapporteur made the presentations based on the discussions in parallel session. This becomes the basic plank of the declaration which was prepared. The farmers were also called to express their views in separate panel discussion which represented true India.
In valedictory session, Madhavrao Chitale gave five point agenda for overall development of water resources to achieve food security for all. And Rajendra Singh reiterated his views with little difference, and explained he accepts that technology and science should be used with cautions and should not harm environment and nature. If nature is protected, nature will protect the us. Mr.Bhavarlal Jain explained that he went for perfect balance of use of science and natural resource conservation. This sentence also created a humor as he explained this in Hindi. One side there is person who has spend his life to make the river rejuvenate (Rajendra Singh) and other side is the person who had built dams in his long career as engineer (M A Chitale) and I am person who thought about the drop of water.
Mr. Anil Jain presented the declaration, which was prepared based on the thematic results. This declaration at the end states that:
“We wish to work constructively to ensure water and food security for our nation of 1.2 billion people, where 120 million farmers are cultivating 140 million hectares of land. The entire population, especially young people is aspirational and is looking forward to prosperity and peace.
Water, food, energy and people are intricately linked with each other in a complementary but complex and ever evolving eco-system consisting of agriculture, environment and development narrative. Consensus has emerged that we must, for our future generations, protect water and river systems along with overall ecology and biodiversity which includes livelihoods while delivering growth and development with the following:
a) Meaningful people participation over long-term
b) New and appropriate laws with effective enforcement and governance
c) Macro and micro level water balancing projects in different river basins
d) Assimilation of technology with focus on productivity and water use efficiency
e) Recycling and reuse of water and other renewable resources
f) Identifying , measuring and notifying water bodies (Bio-Diversity Act)
g) Creating awareness and sensitivities to efficient water usage
h) Transferring knowledge through extension and training up to the last person
i) Inclusive approach to water security especially for rain-fed farmers
j) Integrated approach across different disciplines with self-management
k) Metering and appropriate pricing of water
l) Constructive and positive dialogue with government to get desired results
m) Preparedness for climate change
We need to draw upon people participation and availability of technology to dramatically improve value creation from our entire food-water-energy-people nexus by engaging in local level projects which shall be guided by basic principles of fairness, equity, aspirational development, environmental sustainability and timely, cost effective solutions in the foreseeable future.
India has all it needs to ensure water and food security for every citizen of the country and with peoples participation we aim to deliver a sustainable society for eternal future”.