Local bodies trained on efficient use of soil, water

Ongoing webinar by KILA, CMRDM helps people’s representatives devise local-level plans

With the preparatory work for the 14th Five Year Plan to begin soon, the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) and the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) are organising a one-month programme to nudge local bodies towards planning watershed-based sustainable development activities.

The Neerarivu webinar series envisages knowledge exchange between local self-governments and soil and water management practitioners. It will serve as a platform for showcasing successful models in water recharging and harvesting by local bodies.

Since a new set of people’s representatives have assumed charge at the local bodies, the series, which began on June 1, aims at providing them an orientation towards practices in formulating projects at the local level.

A scientific approach

According to Joy Elamon, Director General of KILA, Kerala requires a scientific approach in soil and water management in the years ahead in view of the increasing instances and severity of natural disasters.

“The key area of activities for the local bodies involve soil and water. The works under the employment guarantee schemes also centre on them. We need to use the scientific expertise of various agencies to evolve nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction. The preparatory works for the 14th Five Year Plan are set to begin in August. Before that, KILA is planning programmes to provide some orientation to the local representatives and officials in such subjects. Though quite a few are listening to the sessions live and later on YouTube, we are building these as course materials for future,” says Mr. Elamon.

Sessions’ themes

Eight sessions have been conducted so far with seven more to go. Some sessions touched on traditional water conservation practices, the loss of which has affected water availability and caused other disasters, including flooding. There were sessions on good practices relating to septage treatment, and water harvesting structures.

The topics in the upcoming sessions include waste water management and recycling, local-level planning on climate change, coastal protection measures, management of invasive species, rainwater harvesting, efficient irrigation practices and carbon-neutral panchayats. The discussions are available on the official YouTube pages of KILA and CWRDM.

“It was during the 9th Five Year Plan period in the late 1990s that the idea of watershed-based development was first highlighted. Watershed-based master plans were made at the block levels and some projects were implemented. However, they were not continued for long. So, before this monsoon, KILA and CWRDM thought of formulating such a series for the local bodies,” says Manoj Samuel, Executive Director, CWRDM.

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