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Ritu Bhardwaj – WNN Improve It

A young Muslim woman in the Thar desert near Jaisalmer, India 2009.

A young Muslim woman in the Thar desert near Jaisalmer, India. Women are most often the water gatherers in the Thar desert. This is a job that is often challenging as climate change and drought conditions cause scarcity of clean potable water. Image: Wikipedia

(WNN/PSM) Delhi, INDIA, SOUTH ASIA: The great India desert of Thar, in the northwestern region on the Pakistan border, is one of the most water-stressed areas in the country. Research shows that with about 200 millimeters of average annual rainfall, one year in every five years is considered a drought year. Some areas of the Thar Desert have no ground water. In some parts the water is extremely salty. Because of this people often have no access to fresh water.

Rainwater is the only source of potable drinking water. People of Thar Desert have gone back to their roots which, at the heart, is focused on conservation and employs traditional systems of rainwater harvesting. This helps the community fulfill their water requirement during prolonged dry spells, even in peak summers.

In search of water is a short documentary film that brings to life a powerful story in which community members pool together their collective knowledge and build a system that keeps water close to home. We share this story in the hopes that these practices will enable more communities to survive in areas that climate change is projected to increase or create severe drought.

Videographer and Editor for the Project Survival Media – Solutions for Survival India Team, Ritu Bhardwaj, is an independent filmmaker based out of Delhi who has been working on socially relevant issues for over five years. A video editor by passion and producer by instincts; she has worked on television programs and documentaries addressing issues like farmer deaths in India, features on environment sustainability, impact of recession in bazaars of India, and the importance of mason training.

Photojournalist and videographer Usha Dewani also worked on this production with Bhadwaj. She is a founding member of New Ways, a group that uses Grassroots Comics as a development communication tool and has been active in producing and filming community videos for Women Aloud Videoblogging for Empowerment (WAVE India).

Bhardwaj was also a part of the core team at Whypoll.org, an interactive crowdmap and news story aggregate which designed the first ever United Nations Millennium Development Goals Lectures Series in Delhi in 2010. After five years of extensive work in the social sector, she is also trying to diversify and get involved in development related research via her part-time course at Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi.

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The Thar Desert is one of the most water-stressed areas in all of India and with climate change average rainfall is expected to be more erratic and irregular. Research shows that already every one in five years is a drought year. In order to survive, people of the Thar Desert have gone back to their roots: relying on traditional systems of rainwater conservation. “In Search of Water,” documents this traditional knowledge of rainwater harvesting so as to enable more communities to survive in areas that climate change is projected to increase or create severe drought. This 7:48 min October 2012 video is a Project Survival Media production.

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This article has been brought to you through an ongoing WNN partnership with PSM – Project Survival Media. No part of this article release may be reproduced without prior permissions from WNN, PSM, or the author.

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