20,000 water conservation ponds in 125 villages over 19 years — how to make a forest

They had broken free of the vicious cycle of drought/flood—more water meant the forests were getting more dense, which in turn retained even more water.
…they have built about 20,000 chaals in about 125 villages over the past 19 years

Bharati began talking to the women who were left behind. In the first year, they built a chaal SACHCHIDANAND BHARATI Building water tanks to save the foreston a monsoonal channel that had dried up. After the next monsoon, it retained water longer, the surrounding soil remained moist, the forest looked healthier. Over the next five years, Bharati’s Doodhatoli Lok Vikas Sansthan built several chaals in Ufrainkhaal and neighbouring villages, improving their design through trial.

They had broken free of the vicious cycle of drought/flood—more water meant the forests were getting more dense, which in turn retained even more water. The big test came during the drought of 2000-01. Forest fires are a regular feature in the pine plantations that pass for government forests in the region—pine kills all undergrowth and its needles pile up into a tinderbox. The fires did not spread to the regenerated oak forests, which have soil moisture and diversity. Yet there was the fear that the fires will engulf them, so the village women who had built the chaals turned out in numbers to prevent fires in government forests. Three women died in these efforts. The fire was controlled.

Complete story at: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/how-to-make-a-forest

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The “Gandhi of Water” Rajendra Singh Is Traveling the Length of the Ganges River Starting 01 Oct

“For me the Ganga is more than a river, it is the lifeblood of my country. For thousands of years she was worshipped and revered, but now she is treated as nothing more than a waste train… Millions come to worship the Ganges, to bathe in her – but their worship is a false one for it has become an empty ritual. Real worship is practiced everyday, not just for ceremonies or bathing days. Most praise the Ganga one minute and throw their waste or sewage the next. This has to stop!” ~ Rajendra Singh

Considered the Gandhi of water issues, Rajendra Singh is an activist about to begin an incredible walk in order to bring attention to India’s water problems. Starting on October 1st at the threatened Goumouk glacier in the Himalayas, the head of the Ganges River, he will travel along the river’s length to its mouth at the Bay of Bengal. Singh is embarking on this 37-day journey for a singular purpose — to illustrate how the health of our fresh water systems determines the health of human populations. He wants to save the Ganges river from pollution, misuse, damming and climate change, and thus save the 600 million people who depend on the river for their water needs. We’ve discussed the Ganges river many times, from saving its dolphins to saving the river itself from salinity and the impacts of climate change.

Complete story at: http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/why-gandhi-of-water-rajendra-singh-is-traveling-the-length-of-the-ganges-river.html