The Indo-German bilateral project – Water Security and Climate Adaptation in Rural India (WASCA) begins its second phase of work in Kerala. The project is commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Jal Shakthi, Government of India, and implemented through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), New Delhi. Kerala was chosen based on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment report of Kerala state (SAPCC 2.0).
A launch event was held on March 14 in Trivandrum with Hon’ble Shri M.B. Rajesh – Minister of the Local Self Govt Department (LSGD) as chief guest. In the inaugural session, Dr Sharmila Mary Joseph, IAS – Principal Secretary LSGD, Smt Anu Kumari IAS – Mission Director, MGNREGS, Shri. Rajeev Ahal, Director, NRM & Agro-Ecology, Dr Radha Priya – Technical Advisor – WASCA-II, GIZ, Dr S. Manivannan – Principal Scientist, ICAR – Assam, Mr Balachandran Nair, JDC, MGNREGS, Kerala, Dr Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, member secretary, Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, Shri Nizamudeen, Commissioner, Kerala State Land Use Board, Shri. Arun Kumar, Asst Director of Soil Survey and Soil Conservation, Kerala, Dr R. Rengalakshmi – Director of Ecotechnology, MSSRF, and Mr R. Nagarajan – Head of GIS, MSSRF, participated. The district officials selected Gram Panchayat presidents, and block-level officers were the main participants of the workshop.
Shri. M.B. Rajesh highlighted the challenges in ensuring adequate and safe water supply in the context of climate change, mentioning that the state endures both heavy rains and drought, and that the existing water supply is contaminated. Smt. Anu Kumari IAS – Mission Director, MGNREGS presented the status report of the MGNREGS programme in Kerala, explaining how different actions and innovations are facilitated for implementation. Dr Rajeev Ahal pointed out the importance of planning and understanding the key water challenges and actions in augmenting supply, and meeting demand. Dr Sharmila Mary Joseph IAS – Principal secretary LSGD, spoke of the importance and need to manage both surface and groundwater resources in Kerala.
On the second day, an orientation on the framework of Composite Water Resources Management Plan and GIS-based planning, also hands-on training was given to the block-level technical team, focusing on Pudusery GP, Palakkad district, as an empirical case. As a result of such planning and action, the GP is expected to be transformed from a water-deficit to a water-sufficient status, and from a groundwater perspective, from overexploited to a safe status.