International Centre for Clean Water

Water resources security mapping for Rameswaram island conducted during September, 2019

With the participation of the local community, administration and philanthropic organizations


The problem

Water resources security mapping aims to enhance the understanding of water risks within a defined water security improvement (WSI) space; our location is Ramanathapuram district, with a focus on Rameswaram municipality, Thangachimadam and Pamban village panchayats. The approach and focus of the water resources security mapping process were guided by the WSI space. It was a rapid assessment as suggested by Hand in Hand Community Development Services (HIHCDS). The assessment depended on the stakeholder priorities, particularly the donor organization National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSECorporate social responsibility(CSR) foundation.

Mission

Conducting a water security assessment is an essential step in the process of addressing water risks. It establishes a common and agreed-upon information base on the severity and extent of water risks.

The assessment was conducted from a risk perspective that identifies potential hazards (including the likelihood of occurrence and severity), the vulnerable populations or areas, and the risks. The information will be the foundation for the planning, implementation, and monitoring of water security activities. It becomes a critical justification for support from funders and governing authorities enabling implementation of the identified road map of water security assessment.

The study provided a perspective of the hotspots for improvement through deriving a water security index for Rameswaram island in the next 2-3 years. This rich information is important for decision-makers to fine-tuning the existing efforts.

Results

Based on the indicators identified through several discussions, meetings with diversified stakeholders from water user associations, consumers, households, industrial and commercial establishments, the following are concluded.

The water security index score of Rameswaram island is 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 for poor water security and 5 for sustainable water security. What does this mean? The island is rich in water resources in spite of water withdrawals, consumption or demand. However, they are addressed ineffectively for a sustainable future. The available water resources potential is 56,741 million litres consisting of groundwater, surface water, and average annual rainfall; water withdrawals are~16 MLD through borewells, open wells, TWAD board requirements; water consumption is~18 MLD in the households, ice plants, fish processing units, RO plants, automobilservice stations, hotels, educational centresjasmine/coconut farms, Shell processing units, memorialstourists places and temples.

ICCW team recommends focussing attention on the indicators given below and the ten improvement measures for protecting and sustaining the water resources of Rameswaram island.

IndicatorsImprovement measures
Water withdrawals
Water metering and accounting at the demand and supply

Improving water distribution and use efficiency
Water productivity
Monitoring outputs/turnover with the consumption

Monitoring footfall of tourists and revenue earned with the water consumption
Watershed health
Emphasis and planning should be laid on 4 R’s: revive, restore, renovate, and rejuvenate around 60 teerthams that existed 4R’s to be practised on a sustainable basis

Water governance
Participative approaches could be designed Effective allocation of available resources

Picture: Stakeholders meeting at Rameshwaram municipality and Thangatchi Madahm village Panchayat