Solution Exchange discussion: Information Management for Water Management - Experiences, Referrals

Compiled by Nitya Jacob, Resource Person and Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

From Satishkumar, University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur

Posted 22 June 2011

I work with the Department of Soil and Water Engineering, University of Agricultural Sciences , Raichur, Karnataka. I have been engaged in teaching, research and extension activities on soil and water resource conservation, irrigation and drainage, surface and groundwater hydrology.

I am developing a knowledge information system on watershed (as defined by a natural boundary demarcated by runoff that leaves the boundary through a single outlet, i.e., stream/ river) management. Eventually, a watershed is the managerial unit of planning, development and management of natural (land water and energy), animal, plant, and human resources for their sustainable use.

A watershed could be as small as a few hectares to several thousand square kilometres, covering a river basin. Because of human intervention in terms of indiscriminate agriculture, deforestation, industrialization and urbanization, land and water resources are susceptible for degradation in terms excessive erosion, siltation, salinity, barren land, droughts, deserts, depletion of groundwater as well as the repercussions of climate change.

Again, the stakeholders of the different land-uses including farmers, government line departments, scientists and engineers, policy makers, social activists, NGOs and the public are slowly becoming aware of the problems ahead. They are putting their efforts into solutions from their own perspectives and limitations. Hence, there is need to develop and manage a knowledge base in the form of an information system. This can consolidate all aspects, activities, data and information related to natural resources status, planning, development and management. It can also facilitate the dissemination of this knowledge.

For developing this information base, I am looking at natural resource management with special attention to water. For this, I request members to please share the following    

a)     Experiences in developing a knowledge system especially for water resources management

b)     What are the suitable data management systems and the software involved?

c)     How can various aspects of the issue be linked?

Your comments will open ways and means in data-base collection and will serve as a repository of various knowledge based systems available. It will help in providing robust knowledge base to the development practitioners in the natural management aspects.

Responses were received, with thanks, from

1.     Suman K.A, Change Planet Partners Climate Innovation Foundation, Hyderabad

2.     Ashok Ghosh, A N College, Patna

3.     Mohanasundar Radhakrishnan, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

4.     Sikandar Meeranayak, Sankalpa Rural Development Society, Vidyanagar, Hubli (Response 1) (Response 2)

5.     Umesh Babu M. S., Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore

6.     Megha Phansalkar, Consultant, Mumbai

7.     Himanshu Kulkarni, Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management, Pune

8.     Jared Buono, Watershed Management Group (WMG), Panchgani

9.     Shrikant D Limaye, Groundwater Institute, Pune

10. Yogesh Jadeja, Arid Communities and Technologies, Bhuj

11. Ramakrishna Nallathiga, Centre For Good Governance, Hyderabad

12. K. A. S. ManiConsultant Water Resources, Kerala

Summary of Responses

Adequate and quality data is the bedrock of effective watershed management. Data collection, interpretation and dissemination are essential for an understanding the natural and human resources in a watershed. It is also important for community involvement in the process since good quality data makes it easier for watershed managers to involve people in planning and execution. The effective organization of data through suitable software facilitates its presentation and in turn, use as a planning tool.


There are many software packages, based on geographical information systems (GIS), for generating, analyzing and presenting watershed-related data. All the packages, whether priced or free, are capable of assimilating data from different sources and over-laying it on maps as charts, symbols, diagrammes, etc., that can serve as planning tools. The following process can help while developing an information management system (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. Designing an information management system for watersheds. EPA841-R-97-005. Office of Water (4503F), United States Environmental Protection Agency , Washington , DC). –

1.      Establish an information management design and implementation team

2.      Survey watershed planning partners

3.      Identify and prioritize data needs

4.      Integrate/relate existing databases and develop new databases

5.      Evaluate hardware and software configurations

6.      Evaluate organizational, staffing, and support issues

7.      Develop short- and long-range implementation plans


The following tools are available for data assimilation and analysis. These can constitute the information system for watershed management.

        The Water Evaluation and Planning system, or WEAP, is a practical yet robust tool for integrated water resources planning. WEAP was developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute's U.S. Center. It addresses the management challenges associated with freshwater resources by integrating supply, demand, water quality and ecology needs of water, and generating a water balance. It is an integrated approach that involves stakeholders. The software is simulation based and can generate policy scenarios. It has a user-friendly interface and it can be integrated with other software, including Excel.

        The GIS-based Watershed Management System, developed by the Geomatics Division of the National Informatics Centre, Bhopal , uses both GIS and remote sensing. It can create a spatial database on soils, land use, contours, geology, drainage, etc., using topographical maps from the Survey of India. It integrates special and non-spatial data, generates a resource inventory and helps in the preparation of an action and treatment plan.

        Micro Technologies India has developed Mapper as a self-learning mapping tool kit. This is a  limited version of GIS. It is useful for data recording, updating, analysing parameters of natural and human resources in both rural and urban contexts. It is also a means to train youth in information communication technology as a means of livelihood.

        Google Earth (free, Pro and Premier) versions are available as quick GIS-based planning tools. The Pro and Premier versions have GIS import tools, high-resolution printing, super-overlays for large image files, auto-regioning and area measurement. A person can export Excel data through a website,, directly to Google Earth and generate a GIS map. This link  ( describes how this can be done.

        Water Point Mapper, developed by WaterAid, is a free tool for planning water and sanitation projects.

        Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW) from is another similar tool for drinking water. Combining cell phone technology and Google Earth software, FLOW lets field workers, volunteers, our partners and others record data from tens of thousands of water points around the world. That information is then displayed on a online global map to signal whether a project is up and running, broken, or on the verge of disrepair and needs quick action.  

        The Integrated Water Resource Information System (IWRIS) is a data management tool for water resources data. It is a web-based GIS application that accesses, integrates, queries, and visualizes multiple sets of data. It can accept data from external databases.

        The Centre for Good Governance has developed a web-based system comprising of a water supply database at the sub-block offices of the public health department. It serves as a monitoring system for the central office and facilitates the generation of report of records. It has a front-end (java application) and back-end (oracle database) that together provide up-to-date information.


An information system needs knowledge about the watershed (the larger region - physiography, rainfall, soils, geology, sociology, economic and ecological), different aspects of the ecology covered within the watershed etc.; specific data on hydrology (rainfall, stream flows), agro-met (weather parameters, crops, soils), hydrogeology (geology, aquifers, water levels, aquifer properties), water use (different demands such as domestic water, irrigation, others), etc., and; the skills to collect information and analyse it to provide decision support during a full watershed programme cycle.


One of the major challenges is to bring all the stakeholders, with competing claims, on one platform for amicable solutions. The information system, therefore, must provide outputs that planner can share with communities in the local language. This is especially important since watersheds transcend social and political boundaries and watershed management invariable runs up against conflicting claims from different communities. Therefore, the link with user communities is the most important linkage, more than between different data sets; any good GIS system will do the latter, but the former is up to the executing organization. For example, Arid Communities and Technologies in Gujarat has developed a capacity building programme for rural youth especially focusing on water resource management with in depth understanding on geo-hydrology as well as groundwater.


Seeing is believing, and showing people how understanding and using hydrological information systems can improve their lives is the best way to convince them to learn and adopt one. The Sankalpa Rural Development Society used this to implement rainwater harvesting projects in Karnataka, that raised farm incomes in several villages.

Comparative Experiences


Sankalpa Rural Development Society (SRDS) assists villages in attaining water sustainability, Dharwad district(from Sikandar Meeranayak, Sankalpa Rural Development Society (SRDS), Hubli)

Kamplikoppa village was severely affected by water shortages. SRDS drilled 9 bore wells in this village and rejuvenated the existing bore wells by recharging with rainwater. The project was executed with a 50 per cent contribution from the community to ensure community participation and the sustainability of the project. This led to improvement in crop yields and water availability throughout the year.

Related Resources 

Recommended Documentation

From Suman K.A, Change Planet Partners Climate Innovation Foundation, Hyderabad

GIS-Based water management system

Factsheet; by  National Informatics Centre ; Bhopal;

Available at (PDF; Size: 128KB)

Describes how GIS and Remote sensing techniques can be used to generate action plans for conservation of land and water resources 

Designing an Information Management System for Watersheds

Project document; by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; USA; May 1997;

Available at (PDF; Size: 668KB)

Reviews the fundamentals of information management needs, integrating data bases, evaluating hardware and software options and developing implementation plans

Water management in developing country: A case study of a watershed development program in the state of Bihar, India (from Ashok Ghosh, A N College, Patna)

Provide all that apply: Document type (book; film etc.); by A. Ghosh, N. Bose, O. Kroesen, H. Bruining, V.H. Bawane and P.K. Chaubey; A N College and TU Delft; ERSCP-EMSU Conference; Delft, The Netherlands; October 2010;

Available at

Show the importance of participatory approach in effective watershed management and the innovation in standard procedures of watershed management

Integrated Water Resource Management in the Tungabhadra Sub-Basin (from Umesh Babu M. S., Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore)

Book; by K.V. Raju and S. Manasi; Institute for Social and Economic Change; Lamber Academic Publishing;

Available at

The study attempts to examine the status of water resources management in the context of IWRM in Tungabhadra sub basin, a transboundary river located in Southern India

Taking ICT from Classes to Masses Employment generation through ICT based Self Learning Kits ( for Rural and Urban youth) (from Megha Phansalkar, Consultant, Mumbai)

Article; by Megha Phansalkar; Change Makers; USA; June 2011; Permission Required: Yes/No

Available at

Discusses Mapper which a self learning mapping tool kit (limited version of GIS) which is useful for data recording and can be used for water management

GIS Mapping of WASH Parameters (from Jared Buono, Watershed Management Group (WMG), Panchgani)

Online discussion; by Forum; March 2011; Available at

Discusses issues related to GIS mapping of WASH parameters and various related resources that are available online

Recommended Organizations and Programmes

Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden(from Mohanasundar Radhakrishnan, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ))

11 Curtis Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144-1224, USA; Tel: 1-617-6273786; Fax: 1-617-4499603; info@sei-us.org

An international not-for-profit research organization, the SEI-US Water Resources team advances integrated approaches to freshwater assessment and policy

Sankalpa Rural Development Society, Karnataka(from Sikandar Meeranayak)

Social Entrepreneurs In Residence (SEIR), Deshpande foundation building, BVB college campus, Vidayanagar, Hubli -31, Karnataka; Tel: 91-9986840730; sikandar@srdsindia.org

The organization mainly focuses on rainwater harvesting and green building technology. More than 7 rainwater harvesting projects are implemented in Hubli.

From Sunetra Lala, Research Associate

WaterAid India, New Delhi

403-408, 4th Floor, CNI Bhavan, 16 Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi 110 001; Tel: 91-11-46084400; Fax: 91-11-46084411;;

An independent organization enabling people to gain access to safe drinking water, has developed a communication strategy on water by involving self-help groups

United States Agency for International Development, New DelhiUSAID, American Embassy, New Delhi 110021; Tel: 91-11-24198000; Fax: 91-11-24198612;

Has brought out a manual with guidance and tools for designing sanitation marketing programmes

Recommended Tools and Technologies

Water Evaluation And Planning System (from Mohanasundar Radhakrishnan, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ))

Software; Owned by Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.

Available at Available for downloading (PDF; Size: 363KB)

WEAP is a software tool for integrated water resources planning that attempts to assist rather than substitute for the skilled planner

From Jared Buono, Watershed Management Group (WMG), Panchgani

Rangeland Decision Support System

Software; Owned by US Department of Agriculture, USA.

Available at

An online tool to help farmers make decisions about how and where to graze cattle

Geographic Resources Analysis Support System

Software; Owned by U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, USA. Permission Required:      .

Available at

Software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization

Water Point Mapper  

Software; Owned by WaterAid, United Kingdom.

Available at

It is a free tool for producing maps showing the status of water supply services. It is aimed at water, sanitation, hygiene practitioners as well as local governments

Field Level Operations Watch

Software; Owned by Water for People, USA.

Available at

Combining Android cell phone technology and Google Earth software, FLOW lets field workers, volunteers, record data from tens of thousands of water points

Integrated Water Resources Information System (IWRIS) (from Shrikant D Limaye, Groundwater Institute, Pune)

Software; Owned by Department of Water Resources, USA.

Available at

IWRIS is a data management tool for water resources data. It is a web based GIS application that allows members to access and visualise multiple sets of data

Responses in Full 

Suman K.A, Change Planet Partners Climate Innovation Foundation, Hyderabad

Two resources can be particularly useful.

1.      GIS Based Watershed Management System : Geomatics Division, NIC, MP has the relevant software fully developed. They can be contacted for further assistance. (

2.      EPA Guidance from the Office of Water , US EPA

Ashok Ghosh, A N College, Patna

We have done some studies on  watershed management in Bihar . One of our research paper titled "Water management in developing country: A case study of a watershed development program in the state of Bihar, India" is available on the Institutional Repository of Technical University, Delft, The Netherlands. You may download it through the following link:

We are using two GIS software for most of our studies - Geomatic and Arc GIS.

Mohanasundar Radhakrishnan, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Water Evaluation and Planning system (WEAP) is a planning tool used in integrated water resources planning. The tool is developed by Stockholm Environment Institute's U.S. Center. The URL is

Sikandar Meeranayak, Sankalpa Rural Development Society, Vidyanagar, Hubli (response 1)

We are working on rainwater harvesting in Karnataka, Hubli. We have done around 35 bore well recharge and 51 Roof top Rain water harvesting in Hubli and many other places and we have provided advice on rainwater harvesting to people to solve their water problems. For more information, please visit our blog or call us on 9986840730.

Umesh Babu M. S., Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore

We have worked on Integrated Water Resource Management in the Tungabhadra Sub-Basin : Status and Issues in Karnataka. You can refer to our book published in Lambert Academic Publishing (LAP) Edited by Prof. K. V. Raju and S. Manasi with the same title. The published report is also available at the ISEC library, Bangalore .

Megha Phansalkar, Consultant, Mumbai

In view of the query would like to share this self-learning kit which help participatory mapping of the natural resource in local language. It has been extensively used to capture water and sanitation data at various places by local stakeholders. Please check our entry on self-learning kit at following URL; it is based  on the mapper tool with addition of self-learning guidance material -

Apart from this 10 day course material have also been developed on  (1) watershed management and GIS and (2) natural resource management and GIS  -- it guides the NGO and field level staff how they can use spatial tools in their day to day working . All the tools promoted are cost effective and simple.

Himanshu Kulkarni, Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management, Pune

The knowledge bases on Water Resources Management should include:

1.      Knowledge - watershed setting (the larger region - physiography, rainfall, soils, geology, sociology, economic and ecological), different aspects of the ecology covered within the watershed etc.

2.      Information - specific data on hydrology (rainfall, stream flows), agro-met (weather parameters, crops, soils), hydrogeology (geology, aquifers, water levels, aquifer properties), water use (different demands such as domestic water, irrigation, others) etc.

3.      Skills - human resource base to collect information and analyse it in order to provide decision support at various stages of a watershed programme, from planning to impact assessment.

Jared Buono, Watershed Management Group (WMG), Panchgani

I can share some of my experiences and hope they prove useful to you.

I've spent several years working with the US Department of Agriculture where I was associated with the development of several knowledge systems, including the Rangeland Decision Support System (see, an online tool to help farmers make decisions about how and where to graze cattle. My contribution was on the integration of GIS, remote sensing and spatial analysis. Currently I work on watershed management and water and sanitation programmes in Maharashtra .

There is of course tremendous range in the scope and complexity of knowledge systems. They can be as simple as excel spreadsheets populated with lat lon data, or complex enough to take years to develop. GIS platforms such as ArcMap, as others have mentioned,  are possible options. I have had very good experiences with Arc products. They can be very powerful in terms of data analysis and visualization. And also powerful in terms of relational database management but there is a steep learning curve and the creation and maintenance of the database can be a challenge. There is also a high cost associated.

Although there are a few free platforms, such as GRASS (see, I can't speak to their functionality. I would only suggest the GIS route if you plan to do a lot of spatial analysis on the data once the system is built (i.e. map algebra, distance weighting, change detection, etc).

An emerging option is to use online, distributed systems such as google earth and google fusion tables- you can create an online database which is linked to spatial information that you can freely access (such as quickbird imagery) or build yourself (polygons and points). This will be particularly useful if you plan to incorporate data from multiple stakeholders as they can be easily oriented to upload their own material. We use this type of approach in our work to delineate watersheds, map key locations, incorporate GPS waypoints, and add photo points. What you sacrifice in functionality and power of analysis you make up for in cost, ease of use and distributed access.

There was recently a great discussion of mapping of water and sanitation related parameters at that I would highly recommend: This thread highlights the google applications as well as some other freely available water mapping applications such as Water Point Mapper from WaterAid ( Although focused on water and sanitation rather than watershed management, this application has some great functionality and might serve as a model for your needs. You might also want to see FLOW from  (

Shrikant D Limaye, Groundwater Institute, Pune

The points for discussion on Water Resources Database Management are: 

a)       Experiences in developing a knowledge system especially for water resources management

b)       What are the suitable data management systems and the software involved?

c)       How can various aspects of the issue be linked?

d)       On the scale of a mini-watershed (1,000 sq kms or less) the knowledge system for water resources should include:

a)       Rough assessment of surface water potential and annual recharge to ground water.

b)       Stream hydrograph of the stream draining the watershed.

c)       Existing land-use pattern: Urban, Industrial, Agricultural (irrigated and non-irrigated), Pastureland, Forest and Rocky barren area.

d)       Existing water uses. (Especially for irrigation in various seasons, as irrigation typically consumes about 70% to 80% of available water) 

e)       Sources of irrigation: Canal, Ponds, Tanks and Wells / Tube wells

f)        Information on Existing problems: Frequency of Droughts and / or Floods. Pollution of Surface water / Ground water, Causes of pollution and nature of pollutants as ascertained from analysis of samples mad at least twice a year ( once in summer and once during Monsoons) , Geo-genic pollution (if any) of ground water by Arsenic / Fluorides etc. ; If ground water table is depleting are there any efforts for recharge augmentation? Who is motivating recharge augmentation? Government dept, NGO or Grampanchayat (through Sarpanch)? What are efforts for demand management and supply management? Is there any effective water governance, for individual or cooperative lift irrigation from surface water and on pumpage control on ground water?

g)       Most important: (1) The reliability of the data which goes into the database should be checked. (2) Surface water and ground water regimes are time dependant. Data needs to be classified by year and by season.

B & C) IWRIS is a data management tool for water resources data. It is a web based GIS application that allows you to access, integrate, query, and visualize multiple sets of data. (Website: The Water Resources Database (WRDB) is also a comprehensive data storage system capable of handling a vast amount of data, accommodating a wide variety of data types and diverse information, and presenting data conveniently and efficiently. WRDB was originally developed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) in association with EPA Region 4 to address the imposing data management challenges presented by the Chattahoochee River Modeling Project. Since its inception, WRDB has been enhanced a number of times and applied to numerous projects. Main goal of the system is to provide data management and analysis tools to users possessing an assortment of professional specialties and a variety of software skill levels. (Website:

I am wondering how all the efforts in creating the above database would benefit of the farmers in the watershed for solving their practical problems related to water resources. A database is often referred to as the basis for IWRM, but practical examples of IWRM on the scale of a watershed are very few, in spite of all the hype on IWRM for past 15 years or so. The problem at grass-root level is to bring all the stakeholders, with competing claims, on one platform for amicable solutions. These solutions are not easily available.

The following two cases should clarify the point: 

Case 1) Suppose in a mini-watershed of 100 Ha size in a fractured, hard rock terrain, a farmer has one Ha farm. Luckily, the farmer has a very good well in his farm and is cultivating high water-requirement crops like sugarcane, bananas, etc., on the whole area of 1 Ha. Logically, his equitable share in groundwater resources of the watershed is only 1%, but just because he is lucky to have a good well in the farm he is pumping a lot more. Could anyone tell him to reduce the pumpage? If under social pressure he reluctantly reduces his pumpage to some extent, say 50%, where would the un-pumped 50% water flow through the complex fracture network in the hard rock? It may not necessarily flow to neighboring wells. Or would it be more advisable to pump maximum amount of water from the high-yielding well and then give 50% of it to the neighboring farmers? Would the owner agree to this? on which terms? If the same well is to be used for recharge augmentation during Monsoons would the neighboring farmers share the cost? 

Case 2) Watershed development, forestation, water conservation and recharge augmentation activities are being done in a few adjoining watersheds under guidance of a NGO. The volume of runoff from these watersheds therefore gets reduced thereby affecting the storage of a major surface water reservoir at the Dam located downstream. Any action of harvesting runoff in the watersheds and recharging it to ground water amounts to change in domain from public ownership to private ownership, because water in the reservoir is in public domain and ground water is in private domain. This causes conflict between surface water Engineers and ground water Hydrogeologists. Who would be the mediator in this conflict?

The technical data from the above two examples would surely get into the water resources database but this would not help in solving the problems. IWRM is therefore easier said than done at field level. If this is true for small watersheds, what would be magnitude of problems for multi-state rivers or trans-boundary rivers? No wonder that with all the conferences on IWRM taking place every year and the efforts of International Organizations, the concrete examples of achievement are just a few. 

Yogesh Jadeja, Arid Communities and Technologies, Bhuj

Arid Communities and Technologies has developed a a capacity building programme for rural youth especially focusing on water resource management with in depth understanding on geo-hydrology as well as groundwater. The capacity building programme is actually knowledge transfer technique through generation of seven thematic maps such as

1.      Generation base map by superimposing Revenue map on Topo sheet

2.      Land use map showing various kinds of land use as irrigation agriculture, rainfed agriculture, grazing land, forest land, waste land, industrial land

3.      Geomorphological map showing various landforms and their relationship with water

4.      Water Resource map - showing groundwater and surface water resource

5.      Geology and aquifer map along with different groundwater movement affecting parameters such as fault, dyke etc., and potential aquifer spread within watershed /village or surrounding of the planning area

6.      Watershed map - along with estimation of rain water inflow, run off, water requirement of each micro watershed, recharge and surface storage

7.      Water resource planning based on geo-hydrological characteristics of the planning area

By using this planning technique rural youth gains confidence among communities and also build his own confidence to continence the policy makers. not only that we have some of the para workers who have formed an informal group and working together and facilitating directly to some Panchayats, farmers, NGos and government programmes. 

Ramakrishna Nallathiga, Centre For Good Governance, Hyderabad

Nice to know about the knowledge management system for decentralised planning and management of water resource management. At CGG, we developed an information system, which is web-based system comprising of water supply database drawn from various sub-block offices (mandal offices) of the public health department.

This would serve as a monitoring system for the central office and facilitates the generation of report of records (till date and for set period). While the basic purpose was to assist the department in monitoring function, it has the features of frontend (java application) and backend (oracle database) that together provide up-to-date information. 

If integrated with GIS, it can even be used to generate mapped report that is useful to decision maker. It is hosted on CGG website/server. Some of the features in the information can be used in current system, especially wider access through web-based technology. 

Sikandar Meeranayak, Sankalpa Rural Development Society, Hubli (response 2)

We promote rainwater harvesting through bore well recharge. Here I am sharing you our bore  well recharge case study.


Organization introduction:

The Sankalpa Rural Development Society (SRDS) is a non-profit voluntary organization established in 2008 in Kotumachagi of the Gadag district, Karnataka. Its main objective is “to create awareness on natural resource management in the community by ensuring the people’s participation and community ownership of the structures”. SRDS strongly believes in rainwater harvesting projects through rooftop rainwater harvesting in urban areas and bore well recharging in rural areas.


SRDS works throughout the north-west Karnataka region. It has covered 25 beneficiaries with bore well recharge schemes in 5 villages of the Dharwad district. In urban Hubli, it has successfully promoted 36 rooftop rainwater harvesting structures for households and constructed a pond which holds 50 lakh litres on BVB CET’s campus in Hubli. SRDS has made 6 rainwater harvesting structures to be used for drinking water in educational institutions in urban Hubli.


In the present case study, we discuss success stories of the farmers and how the water resources were rejuvenated with SRDS intervention through bore well recharge.


Programme background:

The depletion of natural resources is one of the root causes of the poverty in rural India . There is a direct link between the environment and poverty. Due to population growth and demand for food production, underground water is being rapidly depleted through the digging of more bore wells. Groundwater is one of the contributing economic factors for rural farmers. Recognising this fact, SRDS implemented the rainwater harvesting project for bore wells in 3 villages of Hubli and 2 villages in Kalghatgi Taluk of the Dharwad district.


Kamplikoppa is one village among the villages selected for the programme. SRDS drilled 9 bore wells in this village. Kamplikoppa is located at 18 km from Hubli. The project village belongs to the southern transition zone, and get 934 mm rainfall annually. The project was launched in April, 2010 with the objective of rejuvenating the existing bore wells by recharging with rainwater which automatically leads to improvement in crop yield and water availability throughout the year.  


The farmers in this village are facing an irregular availability of ground water which affects their livelihood and economic condition. They have invested large amounts in their bore wells. Due to a shortage of underground water availability, they were only able to grow erratic monsoon crops. SRDS initiated the rainwater harvesting project supported by the Deshpande Foundation.


Programme structure:

The project was implemented for one year. During that time, SRDS focused on creating awareness on rainwater harvesting through orientation, exposure and cross learning training programs for the farmers. To enhance community participation, SRDS executed the rainwater harvesting by recharging the bore wells with a 50 per cent contribution from the community to ensure the active participation and sustainability of the project. The contribution was in the form of labour, obtaining input materials or cash. Here are some successful stories of the beneficiaries who took part in the project.


1.      Devendrappa Basanthappa Basti: Aged about 57, holding 7 hectares of land in the survey no. of 64/69, agriculture is his main source of income. Paddy, maize, soya bean and sugar cane are his main crops. In his land he has 160 mango trees, 116 bamboo clumps and 120 teak trees. In 1990, the first bore well was drilled at a depth of around 180 ft. Again, in 1994 he decided to drill another bore well with a depth of 150 ft. The water from both bore wells was not enough to irrigate all his land. As a result he dug another bore well failed to get water.  On his land he has a total of 15 bore wells, and out of them, 13 have failed.


From 2004 onwards, the second bore well’s yield slowly decreased and now water can be extracted only for 3 - 5 hours per day in the post-monsoon period. It is hard to get water in summer. So eventually he thought of closing the bore well.  In June 2010, Devendrappa took up the bore well recharge activity and made sure all the rainwater is diverted to this bore well.


He said about this bore well recharge, “Now the output from this bore well has increased and I am even extending it to irrigate the field”. In the month of February 2011, he adopted the sprinkler irrigation method for sugar cane and gradually gained confidence about the bore well recharge. For bore well recharge, he contributed Rs.11,665 and the project contribution from SRDS Rs.11,665. The total expenditure was  Rs. 23310.


2.      Basavaraj Sivappa Unkal: Aged about 45 years, holds 1.2 hectares of land. His major crops are maize, soyabean and paddy, of 95  horticulture species. He dug  a bore well in his land in 1986 with a depth of 240 ft.  That bore well functioned in good condition initially, but from 2006 onwards, the bore well out flow decreased. Eventually it became difficult to get water flow for more than 6 hours in a day.  He realized the importance of rain water harvesting and executed the bore well recharge in his field in June, 2010. For the recharge, he needed runoff water from his land. So, he diverted all the runoff water to the bore well location through a diversion channel across the slope. He realized the positive impact of the bore well recharge during the last monsoon soon. Now the bore well out flow has increased to 16 hours/day.  For his bore well recharge he contributed Rs. 10363.00 and the SRDS project contribution was Rs. 10363.00. The total expenditure was Rs.20727.00. He is very confident and humbly saying “I percolated rain water in to the bore well through recharge pit than I took out from the bore well”.


With these successful stories, we can clearly say that the project is very useful to the farmers. Within a short period of time, we were able to recharge 15 bore wells with a 50 per cent contribution from the farmer. Although, it’s quite hard to provide quantifiable data on the growth/yield of the water/crops, SRDS is confident that in two more years, we will have enough date to measure a quantifiable impact.


K. A. S. ManiConsultant Water Resources, Kerala

I have been associated with the design and implementation of watershed software as part of NGO led initiative in the early 1990’s, The software  over the years have been updated and is currently available as a commercial package for implementation by NGO’s,  government agencies and ministries.

The software has number of modules including a socio-economic data base module, natural resource module, mapping module, land use module, meteorological data module, engineering design module and evaluation module. The software has capability to inter-phase with cadastral map, survey of India topo-sheets, census data base and other database in .xls, .mdb and various other formats. The software has been tested by NIRD, MANAGE and various watershed implementation agencies as well as Karnataka soil conservation department, Bellary . For further details please get in touch with J.Rajendra Prasad of MTS

Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!

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