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                          Tapping technology for water security planning in rural India

                      Among the far-reaching impacts of accelerating climate change    Jaltol has greatly benefitted community members involved in
                      is a looming global water crisis, with India figuring among the   rural water security planning as it provides them with data on
                      worst-a ected  nations  globally.  With nearly six  in 10  people   their watershed and helps them estimate water budgets at the
                      depending on the agricultural sector for their livelihood in India,   click of a button. This has helped improve water management
                      ramping up clean energy solutions that o er lasting resolutions   practices followed by the gram panchayat for the benefit of the
                      for these problems is crucial.                                   local community.

                      Despite substantial investments, success in implementing         Veena Srinivasan, director, CSEI, ATREE shares, “ICC partnered
                      interventions  at scale  has  been  limited  as  they  largely  fail  to   with CSEI at ATREE in 2020 with the objective of co-creating
                      account   for  regional  ground   realities.  Allowing  local    systemic solutions for rural water  security. Our joint objective
                      communities to manage and build capacity for their resources is   was to help ICC’s network partners redirect investments and
                      critical for the success of any such intervention.               make data driven decisions about which interventions to scale,
                                                                                       how, and where. Our initial research resulted in a set of
                      Based on a similar rationale, Tata Trusts-led India Climate
                                                                                       typologies and metrics to evaluate rural water security
                      Collaborative (ICC) has been working with the Ashoka Trust for
                                                                                                          interventions. ICC also helped us co-design
                      Research in Ecology and Environment - Centre for Social and
                                                                                                               the “Jaltol” water budgeting tool. It is
                      Environmental Innovation (ATREE–CSEI) to develop a water
                                                                                                                  a truly collaborative partner and
                      diagnostic toolkit. It uses open-source data to create tools that
                                                                                                                   has been open  to all our ideas,
                      facilitate community programmes to improve water security (for
                                                                                                                    and   ICC’s  commitment     to
                      instance, using digital tools to estimate the groundwater levels
                                                                                                                    leading these ideas to fruition
                      in the local watershed), plug in missing data layers, and develop
                                                                                                                    has been  phenomenal.”
                      training material for better design solutions.
                      As part of this project, CSEI launched Jaltol in November 2021—
                      a free, open-source plug-in tool that simplifies water balance
                                                                                                              Women mapping their village
                      estimation.  Jaltol  was   developed   following  extensive
                                                                                                              resources in a community meeting
                      consultations with grassroots stakeholders.

                      Jaltol was piloted during training sessions with over 50
                      participants from more than 20 organisations and there are
                      plans to continue improving the tool based on feedback from
                      these sessions. CSEI  will also focus on increasing engagement
                      with civil society organisations to augment the uptake and
                      usage of Jaltol.

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