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Venot J.-P.,International Water Management Institute IWMI | Reddy V.R.,Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute | Umapathy D.,Innovative Design
Agricultural Water Management

Continuous upstream water development in the South Indian Krishna Basin has resulted in declining water availability downstream. Upstream water use is not adjusted to reflect rainfall fluctuations, and downstream farmers of the Nagarjuna Sagar irrigation project in the state of Andhra Pradesh are increasingly vulnerable to water supply shocks. Understanding the adaptive capacity of irrigated command areas to fluctuating water conditions is critical. This paper documents the wide range of adjustments adopted by managers and farmers in Nagarjuna Sagar during a period of fluctuating water availability (2000-2007). Primary and secondary data indicate managerial adjustments such as rotational and timely water supplies to meet critical water demands of standing crops. Farmers responded to changing conditions through: (a) crop diversification, (b) shifting calendars, (c) conjunctive use, (d) suspending cultivation, (e) sale of livestock, (f) out-migration, and (g) tampering with the irrigation system. Adaptive strategies are more diverse in the tail-end than in the head-end of the canal network and local adjustments are often uncoordinated and may degrade the resource base. A better understanding of the practices induced by changes in water availability is needed to refine current water allocation and management in large surface irrigation projects. Crop diversification, deficit irrigation in low-flow years, and conjunctive use are some of the practices to be promoted in a conducive agricultural environment. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

Reddy V.R.,Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute
Journal of Hydrology

Hydrological knowledge or information has mostly remained in the domain of scientific community. The communities that interact with the hydrological aspects such as groundwater and surface water on a day to day basis are hardly aware of the information that could critically influence their livelihoods. From the perspective of the communities' information pertaining to groundwater aquifer characters, potential to provide the water resource, surface groundwater interactions in varying geo-hydrological conditions are important. The 'public good' nature of the resources and their linkages with ecological systems gives rise to externalities that could be pervasive. In a number of countries, especially the developing countries, groundwater is the single largest source of drinking as well as irrigation water. In the absence of scientific information with the communities, extraction of groundwater resources for productive purposes has become a risky venture leading to adverse impacts on livelihoods. The externalities associated with over exploitation of groundwater resources and the resulting widespread well failure is identified as one of the main reasons for pushing farmers into debt trap and one of the reasons for farmer suicides in India. The negative externalities are increasingly becoming severe in the context of climate variability.This paper attempts to highlight the importance of hydrological information to the user communities from a socioeconomic perspective using a newly developed framework 'REDUCE' based on theories of effective communication. It shows, based on the evidence, how farming communities are getting affected in the absence of the basic hydrological information across socioeconomic groups. It is argued, using relevant information that the negative externalities could be mitigated to a large extent with proper dissemination of information among the communities and capacitating them to measure and use the information on their own. In order to make the hydrological information relevant and useful for the communities at the macro level, there are six key areas to be addressed viz., Resource (water), Estimation or Evaluation, Distribution, Users, Communication and Execution. Ground water extraction and use is associated with mostly negative externalities. Estimation methods and scale are not commensurate with the users' needs. The natural distribution pattern of the groundwater accentuates the inequalities in its access and use. These inequalities could be corrected through proper policy interventions that pave the way for treating the resources as a common pool resource instead of allowing it to be exploited like a private resource. That is, the hydrological resources ought to be brought under the management regime with the help of policy and governance structures. Users neither have the wherewithal to obtain the right kind of information nor the ability to manage the resource judiciously without institutional support. In this context the communication part of the process of groundwater management becomes important. The external agencies like the NGOs, scientists and policy makers and implementers have to interact and provide the right kind of information packaged to suit the needs of the users. Innovative execution of policies through evolution of institutional mechanisms and user involvement is key to the success of groundwater management. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

Croke B.,Australian National University | Herron N.,Bureau of Meteorology | Pavelic P.,Indian International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics | Ahmed S.,National Geophysical Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Water Practice and Technology

Watershed Development (WSD) programs in rainfed dryland agriculture in India have been introduced in an effort to promote more sustainable management of the surface and groundwater resources, and to improve the livelihoods of farmers. This paper outlines the planned research for a project exploring the impacts of WSD at the meso-scale (∼100 km 2). The aim of the project is to develop and apply integrated models to assess cost effectiveness and water-related equity outcomes of stakeholder defined WSD scenarios; and to integrate and apply, in collaboration with project partners, the knowledge arising from the project at local, state and national policy levels. © IWA Publishing 2012. Source

Batchelor C.,Water Resources Management Company | Reddy V.R.,Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute | Linstead C.,WWF UK | Dhar M.,WWF India | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology

Water saving and conservation technologies (WCTs) have been promoted widely in India as a practical means of improving the water use efficiency and freeing up water for other uses (e.g. for maintaining environmental flows in river systems). However, there is increasing evidence that, somewhat paradoxically, WCTs often contribute to intensification of water use by irrigated and rainfed farming systems. This occurs when: (1) Increased crop yields are coupled with increased consumptive water use and/or (2) Improved efficiency, productivity and profitability encourages farmers to increase the area cropped and/or to adopt multiple cropping systems. In both cases, the net effect is an increase in annual evapotranspiration that, particularly in areas of increasing water scarcity, can have the trade-off of reduced environmental flows. Recognition is also increasing that the claimed water savings of many WCTs may have been overstated. The root cause of this problem lies in confusion over what constitutes real water saving at the system or basin scales. The simple fact is that some of the water that is claimed to be 'saved' by WCTs would have percolated into the groundwater from where it can be and often is accessed and reused. Similarly, some of the “saved“ runoff can be used downstream by, for example, farmers or freshwater ecosystems. This paper concludes that, particularly in areas facing increasing water scarcity, environmental flows will only be restored and maintained if they are given explicit (rather than theoretical or notional) attention. With this in mind, a simple methodology is proposed for deciding when and where WCTs may have detrimental impacts on environmental flows. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Reddy V.R.,Livelihoods and Natural Resource Management Institute
Water Policy

This paper makes an attempt to assess the water sector under scarcity conditions in the State of Rajasthan. It adopts the criteria of physical, economic, financial and equity performance across sub-sectors. The assessment brought out clearly that no indicator has shown satisfactory performance in any of the sub-sectors. Though the urban drinking water sector is relatively better in performance, a lot more needs to be done in order to bring it to the threshold level of economic and financial performance. The huge expenditures incurred in this sector are not going towards real investments that would improve the performance of the sector. Despite the fact that the water sector (except groundwater) is in the hands of the government, equity goals are not achieved. An urban and rich bias is prevalent as far as access to water and public distribution of water. Apart from suggesting some short-term measures to meet the immediate demands, this paper argues that institutional reforms are critical for sustainable water resource management under scarcity conditions. © IWA Publishing 2010. Source

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