Himanshu Kulkarni

Groundwater use has doubled in Pune. Comprehensive mapping of groundwater resources and better management and governance is the need of the hour.

Pune continues to face a water crisis every summer despite having sufficient water, thanks to its geographical location and plentiful natural water assets. While enough of its water needs are taken care of by water supply from the Khadakwasla dam, the use of groundwater to meet the needs of the population continues to increase.

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Stages of urban development, sources of water, and the nature of aquifers all pose different challenges for water demand and availability in urban spaces in India.

Current evidence shows that the number of people living in urban areas in India is expected to more than double and grow to around 800 million by 2050, which will pose unprecedented challenges for water management in the country. The paper titled 'Urban water systems in India: Typologies and hypothesis' published in the Economic and Political Weekly, argues that as demand for water is predicted to increase, limited supplies are available to meet this increasing demand.

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A regulatory framework that protects the resource and good practices of participatory groundwater management -- both essential features of groundwater governance -- are necessary to manage the crisis.

India is highly dependant on groundwater.

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The India Urban Conference (IUC) was organised to encourage multi-level dialogue regarding India's urban transformation.

It aimed to set the challenges faced by urban planners in the current economic, socio-political, and ecological landscape. This would enable informed and negotiated choices on urban development. The stated objectives of the conference are as follows:

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civil society consultation was held on “Regenerating natural resources and rural livelihoods in rainfed areas of India” by WASSAN at Hyderabad in December 2010, defining broad contours of twelfth plan with a focus on rural livelihoods the thrust area being policy framework, funding support, institutional arrangements

Rainfed AgricultureA civil society consultation was held on “Regenerating natural resources and rural livelihoods in rainfed areas of India” by WASSAN at Hyderabad in December 2010 to discuss priorities for the twelfth five year plan. The Planning Commission, Government of India has been steering the process of development in India by conceptualizing five year plans and had sought inputs from civil society organizations, activists groups, networks of CBOs / NGOs, donors and others for preparing an approach paper for twelfth plan.

The objective of the consultation workshop was to contribute to the process of defining broad contours of twelfth plan with a focus on rural livelihoods the thrust area being policy framework, funding support, institutional arrangements etc., by -

  • Consolidating the lessons from good practices in promoting and protecting rural livelihoods in the country, that could be integrated in twelfth five year plan.
  • Systematically articulating issues and concerns (bottlenecks) in promoting and protecting rural livelihoods, which could be addressed in the twelfth five year plan.

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This paper published in the Economic and Political Weekly highlights the present groundwater situation in the country

It warns that groundwater quantity as well as quality are the two major problems that the country has been facing.

The rate of withdrawal of groundwater has reached “unsafe” levels in 31% of the districts, covering 33% of the land area and 35% of the population. The situation has dramatically worsened within a short span of nine years, between the assessments done in 1995 and 2004.

Taking the quantitative and qualitative aspects together, data indicates that a total of 347 districts (59% of all districts in India) are vulnerable in terms of safe drinking water in India. This is a matter of serious concern, requiring a new approach.

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The groundwater crisis is acquiring alarming proportions in many parts of the country. Strategies to respond to groundwater overuse and deteriorating water quality must be based on a new approach involving typologising the resource problems and redefining the institutional structure governing groundwater.

India’s Groundwater Challenge and the Way Forward
P S Vijay Shankar , Himanshu Kulkarni , Sunderrajan Krishnan

The groundwater crisis is acquiring alarming proportions in many parts of the country. Strategies to respond to groundwater overuse and deteriorating water quality must be based on a new approach involving typologising the resource problems and redefining the institutional structure governing groundwater. This approach is based on the notion of groundwater as common property.

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Increasing the groundwater levels with artificial recharge in Kolwan, Pune

KolwanThis 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.

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Planning water resource management in one of the hottest and most backward regions of India, Bolangir district in Orissa

BolangirThis document by ACWADAM is a report of a rapid geohydrological assessment of some of the microwatersheds from parts of Bolangir district Orissa.

Bolangir district in Orissa forms a part of one of the hottest and backward regions of India with low land-productivity, and opportunities and technologies for agriculture in the district remain relatively unexplored.

Vagaries of rainfall and the underlying hard-rock geology further compound the problem and limit agricultural productivity to a great extent. Given such natural uncertainties, systematic implementation of a watershed management programme is the most viable avenue to overcome the problems of this region.

Bolangir district was thus selected as pilot area to conduct a pre-feasibility exercise for planning of water resources management. ACWADAM, Pune was invited, along with Samaj Pragati Sahayog, Bagli to conduct this pre-feasibility exercise.

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This article is about the workshop on groundwater was organised by ACWADAM and Arghyam Trust in Pune in May 2009.

ACWADAMA workshop on groundwater was organised by ACWADAM and Arghyam Trust in Pune in May 2009, that brought together several experts in the field, and explored diverse topics such as the importance of scale in groundwater resource planning and management, importance of aquifer typologies, participatory processes of groundwater management, groundwater regulation and groundwater linkages with watershed development, markets and policy matters.

The attempt of the workshop and research papers presented, was to highlight contemporary issues in groundwater management, and to look at it through the multiple lenses of hydrogeology, sociology, economics, livelihoods, environment, disasters and so on.

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