Community governance can help effective water resource management

DHAN Vayalagam (Tank) Foundation (DVTF), Madurai based on its long years of working at basin level, especially in Gundar basin, one of the drought prone river basins in South Tamil Nadu convened a day long workshop, “Stakeholders’ Workshop on IWRM and Governance in Basin Management”. In Gundar basin.

DVTF implements an integrated tank cascade development project with the support of Hindustan Unilever Limited. As part of policy information and drawing the attention of major policy makers at different levels of constitutional administration, the workshop was held. Around 50 stakeholders representing government, academia and research, general public, Vayalagam farmers’ leaders, women Self Help Group members took part in the workshop.

Initiating the workshop, Mr.M.P.Vasimalai, Executive Director of DHAN Foundation stressed upon planning with an integrated approach of blue water, green water and grey water at hydrologic units level viz. watershed, sub-basin and basin is very important in 21st century. There is big vacuum in community governance in management of fresh water resources without which sustainable development is a big question. He insisted on establishing an effective community demand system in each river basin so that the water allocation to various uses become simple and implementable.

Mr.A.Gurunathan, Chief Executive, DHAN Vayalagam (Tank) Foundation presented the lead paper on defining IWRM as a process that promotes coordinated actions on water resources development, management and equitable distribution for multiple uses including vital ecosystems. His presentation gave a suggestive “bottom-up” institutional framework working along with constitutional administrative framework in tandem. The new framework was suggested by him as part of one of the members of working committee on Water governance of 12th Five year plan to central Planning Commission, Government of India.

Dr.K.Sivasubramanian, Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in his presentation highlighted the decline in the performance of tanks systems in Tamil Nadu over the last four decades and citing case studies from Tamil Nadu I AM WARM programme aimed at rehabilitating 5000 tanks with World Bank Support, he underpinned the necessity of community participation from planning, implementation, control and post programme maintenance so as to achieve integrated development. He insisted that degradation of existing tanks and water bodies should be stalled and conserved for future generations.

Dr.B.J.F.Pandiyan, Director (i/c) Water Technology Centre, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore mentioned that awareness building to common public on water resources development is very important. Citing Ukkadam tank’s success story of participation by Coimbatore Citizen in its rehabilitation, the groundwater recharge is crucial with rehabilitation of irrigation tanks in Tamil Nadu. Access to water is possible only if sustainable water technology is practiced so as to allocate scarce water resources for multiple utilities.

Mr. Andrews Jacob, Senior Project Engineer, CDD society, Bengaluru explained about the scope of DEWATS technology in Protecting Natural bodies, he impressed upon the utility of DEWATS as a simple, cost effective and efficient technology to recycle wastewater to protect the natural ecosystems.

Dr.S.Chandran, Associate Professor presented a case study based on Post graduate research accepting wastewater as a resource for agriculture production in Girudhumal sub-basin of Gundar.

Mrs. S. Ulagammal , Agricultural Officer, Government of Tamil Nadu presented case studies on Green Village Programme under TN I AM WARM Programme at Then Palanchi hamlet near Tiruparankundram. She highlighted the different integrated development activities carried out as per the guidelines of TN I AM WARM.

Mr.N.Rajasekaran, Team Leader, Co-anchor of the Stakeholders workshop, made a presentation on Integrated water Resources development and governance for Gundar Basin. Based on 20 years of experience in the basin and at present under HUL Project to rehabilitate 250 tanks by promoting sub basin level associations and federations of tank farmers at block level presented the key lessons learned. Mr. Rathod Neelesh, Senior Project Executive from Adilabad shared the IWRM experience in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

At the end of Stakeholders Consultation, the key recommendations evolved for sharing with the government were as follows:

  1. It is proposed to make IWRM an effective process with bottom-up approach by networking at watershed, sub-basin and basin levels in all river basins in the country.
  2. Promoting community governance in IWRM is must and it should be established at all relevant basins by the respective governments by involving capable NGOs and Civil Society Organisations.
  3. The government should convene “round table” by inviting all relevant stake holders at all river basins in Tamil Nadu and also at national level to build consensus on IWRM and water governance.





Dhan Foundation
Experts in a symposium in Madurai by Dhan foundation opined that a bottom-up approach at watershed, sub-basin and basin levels can result in effective water resource management