This report by ACWADAM describes the results of a research study conducted under the DFID funded AGRAR project at the Kolwan site in Pune district of Maharashtra state in India. The research focused on studying the usefulness of artificial recharge to augment groundwater resources through watershed development.
An important criterion of the study was also to understand the impact of artificial recharge on already changing livelihoods in areas where watershed development was conducted on a large scale. The study thus focused on:
- Understanding the physical dynamics of how recharge occurs
- The effects of artificial recharge on the livelihoods of communities
The study revealed that rainfall, runoff and recharge events around check dams were complexly interlinked, in an area where groundwater abstraction was limited. Natural recharge masked the effects of artificial recharge from such small structures, which occured as a sequence of events from individual structures.
There was a significant improvement in groundwater conditions following the implementation of the project. Groundwater irrigation was found to increase in villages from the project areas where artificial recharge was implemented. Irrigated cropping had changed considerably from the time before the implementation of the artificial recharge.
There was a clear improvement in vegetation covering, mostly benefiting livestock. There was also an overall improvement in the standard of living, drinking water supply, ownership of assets and the general economic conditions of the people from the project areas, as compared to the non project areas.