Need advice and inputs on the considerations for sharing of catchment pond water resources in a few villages in Rajasthan

Original Query: Alka Awasthi, Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Posted: 13th June 2005

I am Dr Alka Awasthi, working as a Senior Programme Officer at the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation. The Jal Bhagirathi Foundation supports community participation efforts for the sound management of water resources in the drought-prone Marwar region of Rajasthan. We recently came across a situation in which we couldn’t reach a clear line of action, and would appreciate advice from this community.

In some of our project villages, talabs (ponds) have been constructed with catchments and paals (retaining walls) under various development schemes. People of one particular village have access to a large pond that lies just beyond their village boundary. The pond, constructed under a governmentsponsored scheme, benefits 25 villages and hamlets including the village in question. People of this village want to construct another pond just adjacent to the existing pond. The proposed pond will lie in the revenue area of this village.

The proposed pond, although lies very close to the existing pond, it has its own catchment enough to fill the pond. There can be two options:

  1. Construct this new pond (this will involve huge expenditure from the community as well as from the project)
  2. Demolish the retaining wall (paal) of the existing pond and make a new paal in such a manner that the water from the catchment of the proposed pond also flows into the existing pond (this will involve comparatively less expenditure).

Although the second option seems to be techno-economically better, the people of the said village want the first option. This is because they will have their own pond (in their revenue area) and in time of lean season they will not have to worry that other people may stop them from taking water from the existing common pond shared by 25 habitations. In other words, the second option is preferable to the community because of reasons of water resource security that is of paramount importance in this desert region. The first option is preferable on grounds of better utilization of funds by the Foundation.

The Jal Bhagirathi Foundation would like to hear about any advice, experiences or models we can suggest to the villagers that would offer a lower cost option while allaying their security concerns.

Please see attachment below for the responses.