East Himalaya

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mach Pora, Chilika Lake, Orissa

An extraordinary recipe, reach Puri, take an excursion to Chilika Lake, reach any of the fishermen villages and take retreat under the tree for the day at any of the local fishing camps. Request 02 very experienced fishermen for fulfilling your wish to taste the best fish recipe of the world. Fresh fishes will be brought to you and you can choose your fish. A small fire is made with dry twigs and grasses collected from the area. The fishes are thrown in the fire and maneuvered with a stick till the fishes are burnt uniformly. Banana leaves collected locally and you are served this fishes directly with a paste (chutney/sauce) made of green chilly, ginger and salt. All you need for a wholesome and healthy lunch. There is only one man who can organize this for you and he is Bubu Babu. Ask any rickshaw puller in Puri with the 'Green Rider' sign and he will take you to him. The leader of the 'barefoot' service providers, who recently won a 'Responsible Tourism' award from India Tourism.
Fishes are found in abundance in the lakes and rivers of Asia. The water has been a source for life in the rice fields to be joined with fishes for meals, all complete, the starch, the protein, the minerals etc, enough to sustain human life. this was the biggest discovery of mankind to move towards greater civilizations. Day after day man became more and more greedy and today they try to rule the waters which gave then food, clothing, shelter one day. It is time who will decided the winner. No guesses permitted, but any one who wishes to enjoy the fish and rice in the most diverse form, must visit the Dihing River Camp. Discover life in a modest and simple way.

I just got access to 02 write-ups which I think was appropriate on this World Water Day
MAR 21 - It is a common knowledge that water is the basis of life—a vital resource for human wellbeing and healthy ecosystems. But water is also limited while being needed for many purposes. This can be a source of conflict but also offers endless opportunities for cooperation. Climate change is affecting patterns of water availability while water consumption patterns are also changing with urbanisation, industrialisation and rising living standards—all leading to increased requirements. In the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, cooperation is essential to ensure that sufficient water is available to support social, economic and environmental development. 
Cooperation can take place at different levels, between different stakeholder groups and across sectors. Good management of water resources will only be possible if there is active participation at all levels of government, civil society, the private sector and academia. There have been many efforts at the global level to bring water issues to centre stage. Since the 1800s, more than 450 international water cooperation agreements have been made to support the management of water across borders. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit on sustainable development brought global attention to the growing water scarcity and the need for proper management. The Summit’s Agenda 21 Chapter 13 drew attention to mountains as fragile ecosystems and providers of essential services such as water and energy, while Chapter 18 emphasised the need for integrated approaches in the development, management and use of water resources. Twenty years later, in 2012, the Rio+20 meeting took stock of the progress made and the outcome document recognised that ‘mountain ecosystems play a crucial role in providing water resources to a large portion of the world’s population and fragile mountain ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of  climate change’. It called for specific actions and renewed commitment to protect our fragile mountain ecosystems and the services they provide, highlighting water as a core requirement for sustainable development. The meeting called upon states to strengthen cooperative action and ensure effective involvement and sharing of experience by all relevant stakeholders. 
The United Nations declared 2005-2015 as the International Decade for Action-’Water for Life’—and 2013 as the International Year for Water Cooperation. This Year aims to raise awareness of the need for water cooperation at all levels and encourage countries to work together to ensure that water is well-managed, fairly distributed and available to 
all. Today we are celebrating World Water Day with the theme ‘Water Cooperation’ to raise awareness of the potential and benefits of cooperation in the sustainable management of our freshwater resources.
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region has 10 major rivers that provide freshwater and other environmental services to more than 1.3 billion people living in the mountains and downstream plains—the Amu Darya, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Irrawaddy, Mekong, Salween, Tarim, Yangtze, and Yellow. Across the mountains, more than 60,000 square kilometres of glaciers act as storehouses for water, regulating runoff for downstream use. But these glaciers are now at risk due to climate change while various socioeconomic factors are exacerbating problems of lack of water, particularly during the dry season when the rivers have low flow. Our understanding of climate change and its impacts on water resources is still poor and much uncertainty remains about water availability in the future. 
Water is not limited by national boundaries; most of the rivers of the Himalayan region flow through more than one country. Water originating in one country may be essential for hydropower and irrigation in another. Floods in the plains result from rainfall in the mountains. The upstream mountains offer opportunities to store monsoon water to use in the dry season downstream. Transboundary cooperation in water management is essential if we are to maximise the benefits and reduce the risks. 
There are many examples in the region of treaties and agreements between countries on water resources management. The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan is an example of successful cooperation at the basin level on shared water resources. It shows that cooperation can promote efficient techniques for water storage and distribution and expand irrigation schemes in each country. The Koshi and Gandak treaty between Nepal and India for flood management and irrigation has also been in place for more than 50 years. Such successful examples of bilateral cooperation highlight the need for a regional mechanism to share data, information and knowledge related to water management for the benefit of the region.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is working with regional partners in a programme on river basin management that is helping to generate knowledge and understanding of changes in water dynamics due to climate change—and what this means for people’s livelihoods and adaptation strategies. The activities help foster regional cooperation on the sustainable management of water. A comprehensive monitoring programme on the cryosphere has been started in partnership with regional and global institutions and a regional initiative is working towards developing an information system to help reduce flood risk. 
The shared dependence on water resources, vulnerability to floods and drought and benefits from water development all suggest cooperation in water resources management as a win-win scenario for countries in the region. Harnessing these opportunities will help build trust and confidence, support peace and security, ensure provision of water for food and energy, help disaster prevention and protect our ecosystems as a basis for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

Shrestha is Senior Water Resources Specialist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)


Posted on: 2013-03-22 09:03

A treasured region showcases the importance of water
Dean R. Thompson
“Here, life depends on the changing of the tides…”  I heard that refrain echoed several times during a recent excursion to the magnificent Sunderbans, my first visit to this region, which invoked a sense of wonder and appreciation for the power of nature.  Looking out from a boat traveling through one of the many waterways, I gained a deep respect for the populations that inhabit the area—both human and wildlife—who adapt their lives to the rise and fall of the tide, and who are faced with significant environmental challenges that affect their homes and livelihoods.  
I cannot think of a more apt place to recognize the importance of water, and to celebrate protection and conservations efforts.  On this occasion of World Water Day 2013, I think we can all reflect on the role water plays in our lives and consider what might happen if we, as humans around the globe, do not act to conserve our environment.  Water is fundamental to maintaining peace, security, and prosperity.  Water sustains life, and when managed well, it allows our economies to thrive, our children to grow up healthy, and can build peace and cooperation among neighbors.  Climate change will have a profound impact on the availability, distribution, and quality of water.  It will tax infrastructure and natural systems for managing water resources.  Floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events are projected to become more frequent and severe—in other words, wet areas will become wetter and dry areas will become dryer.  
The Sunderbans has already witnessed these effects.  The devastation Cyclone Alia brought to the region in 2009 is still being felt today, particularly in the most vulnerable of areas along the thousands of kilometers of embankments that line the area’s waterways.  I had the opportunity to speak with an inspiring community of women in Moukhali Village, Amtoli Island, who told me that agriculture production in the region is just now resuming; it has been poor or impossible since the storm surge pushed salt water into the fields and crops could not grow in the salinated soil.  Most of the women’s husbands had become “climate refugees,” forced to leave the village to seek work either in Kolkata or other large cities, and the women were left to take care of their home and family, while finding alternative livelihoods.  It is here that we can champion the work of local groups creating solutions for communities such as the Moukhali Village that help to both mitigate the effects of climate change and provide economic opportunities.  Groups such as the Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS), which has trained over 280 women to raise and plant mangrove saplings along the embankments, essential to hold mud in place and prevent flooding and erosion.  300,000 saplings have been planted just in the past several months, an impressive feat and one that will go a long way to protecting the most vulnerable land in the project’s area.  I know there are many organizations conducting noteworthy ventures throughout the region.  
Rebuilding and protecting the region’s natural ecosystem through projects like this is critical.  Healthy ecosystems provide a variety of services and benefits that would cost far more to provide through man-made infrastructure.  Degradation of natural ecosystems reduces the ability of the environment to provide natural filtration, aquifer replenishment, and flood and drought mitigation.  
The impact of conservation efforts can be seen in the famous Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, home to some of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures.  The forest there, preserved as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, acts as the areas “lungs” and “kidneys,” by absorbing carbon from the air and providing natural filtration and cleansing of the surrounding water.  I was equally impressed with wildlife conservation efforts there, and commend the efforts against tiger poaching in the Reserve over the last decade, a reflection of cooperation between the government and NGOs with the local community to promote awareness.   
It is easy to feel small when traveling through the vast expanse of the Sunderbans.  I was only able to see a tiny portion of the region, but gained an immense understanding of the way of life here, including the challenges and benefits of living in a serene, but vulnerable environment.  Heading back to shore, the sunset reflecting in the water and the breeze cooling off the heat of the day, I thought of ways we can all be active in ensuring water security in the coming years—raising awareness being perhaps the most accessible and productive across all communities.  It is not just about coastal areas like the Sunderbans, but also places to closer to home.  For example, I have seen firsthand the ongoing work to protect the East Kolkata Wetlands, vital to sustaining the city and its surrounding area.  The United States is committed to promoting water security around the world, to ensure the development and sustainability of treasured regions like the Sunderbans, and our cities alike, for generations to come.   (The writer is U.S. Consul General Kolkata. Readers may  follow him on twitter: @deanthompson)