With decreasing availability and increasing consumption of water, it is imperative to develop effective mechanisms to manage existing water resources. This emphasizes the non – negotiable role of the community in water management and conservation, and this becomes even more pertinent among the crop producers.
This presents robust evidence of community groups spearheading super-efficient water management systems in various parts of the country.
In Maharashtra, the village community was facilitated with knowledge on aquifer management for groundwater mapping and water budgeting. This helped them to develop water security plans and sustainably manage their local groundwater reserves.
Similarly, farmers of Bundelkhand and Jal Sabhas of Rajasthan showed their commendable efforts in developing village natural resource management plans and implementing water-efficient agricultural practices. The contribution by various stakeholders towards the construction of a barrage or ‘people’s dam’ in Karnataka is another exemplary case that changed the economy of the region dramatically.
The innovative process of collective farming in Tamil Nadu resulted in the revival of large fallow lands and improved farmer incomes through sharing of resources. Similar collective action for bore well pooling by farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana not only helped them manage their present water requirements but also led to an increase in the groundwater level due to decreased water usage.
Stories from both Haryana and Bundelkhand display explicit efforts of women groups in taking ownership of their water resources and managing them optimally.
All these stories accentuate the role of local communities in implementing practical solutions on ground for the sustainable use of resources. The key lesson emerging from this section is that it is utmost important to understand available resources, formulate processes for equitable use as well as responsibility and then lead a localized action by the people themselves.