Documentation and research, outreach, dissemination of Forum’s work to a larger audience, capacity building of different stakeholders and networking are some of the broader objectives of Forum’s work. In order to fulfil these objectives, the Forum has been carrying out the following activities.
Dcumentation of water conflicts remains a central theme of the Forum’s work. In the current phase the Forum has taken up the activity of compiling case studies that seek to depict how the framing of water conflicts by different stakeholders involved may result in certain aspects of the conflict being highlighted and others neglected. This compilation of case studies is expected to be published as a book. A call for papers was sent out and many submissions were received. Of these 12 were selected and the authors are in the process of writing their respective case studies. The selection of case studies was done in a manner so as to represent all the continents as well as a wide range of themes. This activity is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Forum has developed its own website in order to reach a wider audience. This is used as a platform to share information, data and spread awareness about water conflicts in the public domain. Efforts are being made to make this website more active and the members and the general public are encouraged to write to us on different issues related to water.
The Mahanadi Basin newsletter, a quarterly, bilingual newsletter (English and Hindi) was launched by the Forum in November of 2014 at the India Rivers Week programme in New Delhi. The idea of the newsletter came about in the August, 2014 meeting of the SC, with the realisation that there was a lack of consistent contact between the Forum’s thematic groups and the stakeholders in the Mahanadi basin. There was a need to update them on status of thematic research and also invite voices from the Basin to speak out. Thus the newsletter was envisioned as a bilingual one. Visit the Newsletter page for detailed information (Add the archive link here).
The Forum believes strongly in active engagement with the communities and stakeholders during the course of research in the regions where it is active. This helps facilitate a two way learning process. Meetings and consultations with stakeholders in the Mahanadi Basin have taken place over the course of this current phase, the first were separate meetings in November of 2014 in Raipur and Sambalpur and most recently a joint meeting of stakeholders from both Chhattisgarh and Odisha was held in Bhubaneshwar in February, 2015. The meeting shared updates of the project’s thematic activities till date and invited participants to contribute their knowledge to the Forum’s work.
Similarly, as point of the joint initiative of the Forum and WaterAid India, on Preparing for a campaign around Right to Water and Sanitation in India, Forum has conducted a series of consultative workshops/ meetings covering different geographical areas of India. The objective of conducting these workshops was to develop a consensus around the content of Right to Water and Sanitation through a participatory approach and at the same time develop a strong network to take the campaign forward. Detailed work regarding this initiative can be found at (Add the RTWS thematic link here)
One of the objectives of the Forum is capacity building of its work and therefore, Forum has been organising training programmes around water and the potential conflicts. In the ongoing phase, two training programmes have been organised. The first training programme was conducted in June, 2014 at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh at the Sambhaavna Institute for Public Policy. The subject for the training programme was ‘Water Conflicts’. The training programme was successful and had about 15 participants (mostly students and young researchers) from different parts of the country.
Field visit to the small hydropower plant in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
The second training programme was held on the 6th and 7th of September, 2015 at the National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) for professionals and students in the legal sector, and also for those interested in the legal concerns surrounding water issues. The training was conducted in collaboration with National Green Tribunal, NLUD and Environmental Law Research Society (ELRS). The objective of organising this kind of training programme was to make the people in the legal profession understand the complexities around water, in particular to water law and the concepts and framework related to water available in the legal context, but seldom applied while taking decisions. About 35 students and professionals participated in the training programme. Justice Swantanter Kumar, chairperson of the NGT, gave the keynote address.
Participants at the training programme, NLUD campus, September, 2015
In response to several requests to institute an Internship programme, the Forum has in this phase of its work begun taking on four interns a year. The interns either work on topics of their own interest relevant to water in India or they assist with the Forum’s ongoing thematic research in the Mahanadi basin. Click here to know about the intern’s profile and click here for the detailed reports.