Need documented cases of community participation in ground water management

Original Query: AJ James, Pragmatix Research & Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd. Gurgaon, Haryana
Posted: 14 October 2005

I have been an interested follower of water resource management for several years now, and am particularly interested in practical, local level measures.

There have been a few detailed technical studies of water flows in a single watershed, including the DFID-supported WHIRL (Water, households and rural livelihoods), COMMAN (Community Management of Groundwater Resources in Rural India), and AGRAR (Augmenting groundwater resources by artificial recharge) projects, the Indo-French initiative at NGRI in Hyderabad, work done by VIKSAT in Ahmedabad, TWAD Board in Madurai and ACWADAM in Pune. And there are some interesting cases of community management of surface water bodies like kuhls and tanks in South India (e.g., by the Dhan Foundation and others).

But I am yet to come across good documented cases of local community-level water management practices – especially in planning conjoint water use, setting and enforcing penalties, etc. – that have evolved or have been implemented in the case of ground water. Does anyone have any experience in and know of such cases of community participation in groundwater management? What is the experience in different parts of India? Or is it really too utopian to expect to find such cases and should we simply give up and accept the inevitable fact that groundwater in India will be exhausted in a few years time?

Please see attachment below for the responses.

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