Judicious management of groundwater through participatory hydrological monitoring – A manual by APWELL

 Participatory hydrological monitoring improves the users’ understanding of local groundwater resource characteristics and helps local communities to form a community opinion to support appropriate measures for managing the available resources equitably.

The objectives of participatory hydrological monitoring can be summarized as follows:

  • Creating awareness on groundwater resource availability,
  • Establishing the local micro catchment level rainfall-recharge relationship,
  • Develop appropriate water use plans matching with the utilizable groundwater reserves, and
  • Establish need for conservation of groundwater and need for increased recharge.

The project argued that farmers needed to develop their knowledge on local hydrological conditions before they could make sound decisions on groundwater management. It is also assumed that better awareness of the local hydrological balance would help motivate communities to optimally manage the available groundwater. In order to improve knowledge and create awareness, APWELL project trained groundwater users as barefoot technologists with the task of collecting hydrological data.

The methodology developed based on the experiences gained in the APWELL project is summarized in a table in the manual. It offers scope for modifications based on the physical, social and cultural settings. The process aims at demystifying groundwater science and at enabling the community to emerge as planners and managers of their resources. This intervention involves systematic monitoring of different aspects of the hydrologic cycle, viz. rainfall, surface run-off, infiltration, sub-surface run-off, evapotranspiration and groundwater draft.

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