Participatory Learning and Action Network-Kerala

PLANET KERALA network of the practitioners
who promote Participatory Approaches in Development and Governance.

Regeneration

Regeneration of Freshwater Base in Wetlands by Facilitating Eco-restoration Dynamics within Soil, Water and Biodiversity

Supported by Royal Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi.

Summary

PLANET Kerala is facilitating a Participatory Action Research evolving appropriate approaches and technologies for sustainable management of water resources by the people (emphasizing the 'water issue' than "water problem"), in Kuttanad wetland Kerala state, India, since 2004. The Royal Netherlands Embassy- New Delhi supports the activity.

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Quality fresh water is the most important resource limitation for communities living within wetlands. Every household does have a traditional water source- open well or pond, which is facing incrementing quality and quantity decline. Public water supply is marginal and erratic.

Regenerating physical, biological and chemical processes interconnecting the dynamics of biodiversity, soil and water resources in wetlands enabled to achieve "knowledge based participation" for improving sustainable access towards addressing water issues. Through continuous local action based iterative processes, experiential knowledge base of the community is enhanced towards addressing water issues and validated scientifically.

The following are some of the locally facilitated process outputs:

• Injection of rainwater into open wells
• Rejuvenation of earthen ponds and canals
• Radial wells for augmenting surface water collection
• Phyto wells- Phytoremediation within wells for improving water quality
• Compost cum pour flush sanitary latrines and processing of household waste at the source
• Organic Farming and Integrated Pests and Nutrient Management (IPNM)
• Community Water Filtering systems

Evidently, sustainable solution for the "water poverty" can only be achieved through the integration of above process, laying thrust on ecorestoration dynamics. The abandoned water sources experimented is now revitalized for daily water needs.

The approach and technologies have proved to be economically viable, technically feasible, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable and applicable for other areas too.