The image of a woman walking for miles with a pot of water on her head, another pot in one arm and a frail child clutching on to the other arm does not surprise anyone in Marathwada.
Images of women balancing pots of water on their heads and walking for miles are commonplace in rural areas. In urban slums, the image is slightly different - women can be seen queuing up before public stand-posts or tankers. In both situations, one thing is clear - women have little or no access to water.
Women and water - A collection of papers - Economic and Political Weekly - Volume XLVI - Number 18 - April 30 (2011)posted 9 years 8 months ago
It does this in the context of the new decentralised governance structures that are based on the assumption that domestic water supply is the legitimate domain of women and thus power and authority needs to be granted to women to manage water resources.
However, there is a very little understanding of how this has benefited women and what are the challenges experienced during the process of implementation or the outcomes gained from these processes, in the context of the Indian society that continues to propogate patriarchal values and is based on structures that are inherently hierarchical and inequitable.
Some of the papers dwell on and explore the inherent biases in the literature and make an attempt to understand their implications for women in managing water resources, while some of the papers share case studies on the outcomes of the implementation of the decentralised water management policies at the village level.
The report on “Watershed Development in Maharashtra” by Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) ), on behalf of the Forum for Watershed Research and Policy Dialogue (ForWaRD), deals with the present scenario and issues for restructuring the programme. The concept of integrated and participatory watershed development and management has emerged as the cornerstone of rural development in the dry and semi-arid regions of India. Over the years the country has been making increasing investments in this area with the objective of enhancing the production potential of rainfed agriculture.