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Protecting rivers, Almora women show the way

Laxmi Ashram takes up the challenge to create awareness
2008 declared “Save the Rivers Year”

By Aarti Dhar
The Hindu, 27 Jan 2008

NEW DELHI: Global warming, climate change and environmental degradation are terms experts discuss on international fora. Women in Almora district of Uttarakhand may not be able to give the meaning of these words, but can tell you what they have done to preserve the environment, increase the water table and prevent deforestation.

It was in 2003 that the District Magistrate declared that water from the Kosi river could not be used for irrigation, as it had to be pumped to provide drinking water to the city. The police were deployed along the river to implement the order.

At the same time, a Kumaon University survey said the flow of water in the Kosi fell from 985 litres per second to 85 litres between 1992 and 2003. If nothing was done, the river would dry up in 10 years. The non-glacial rivers in Uttarakhand also indicated a reduced flow, thanks to environmental degradation — cutting of forests and drying up of waterbodies due to increased withdrawals — and construction of hydro power projects. [more]