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Over the last half century technological & infrastructural advancements in the form of bore wells, pumping technology and rural electrification, has enabled farmers in the dryland regions of Maharashtra to access and extract groundwater at unprecedented levels, enabling the intensification and extension of cultivation. However, high levels of abstraction accompanied by recurrent droughts have led dramatic declines in groundwater levels. Further the socio-legal paradigm that governs groundwater resources, privileges individual users while ignoring the common pool characteristics of groundwater and aquifers.

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On September 13, 2016, an award ceremony was organised at Center for Studies in Rural Development (CSRD-Social Work College) at Ahmednagar to appreciate Jalsevaks for their efforts taken to increase the water harvesting potential for the stipulated time frame of the competition (May 2016). These Jalsevaks form a major component of the Water stewardship project being implemented in 106 villages of Maharashtra and Telangana

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In Maharashtra, agriculture serves as a major source of rural livelihood. This sector is most vulnerable to climate change, as it is highly dependent on weather, and the vagaries of the climate. Given this uncertainty people are continually modifying their agricultural practices to suit their specific needs, available knowledge and resources. In this blog, following our earlier blog on pomegranate cultivation, we turn to a village in Jalna called Hivre Korda that has diversified its economy in response to changes in aspiration and agrarian distress. We visited this village and conducted group discussions with different landholding farmers like large, medium, small and landless for one of our studies.

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A research study  on the importance of natural springs in the northern Western Ghat regions of Akole and Sangamner in Ahmednagar district ,carried out by the WOTR research team  was featured as an article on  the India Water Portal (Hindi).    The article highlights the urgent need to document these natural water sources for their conservation […]

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Groundwater is an integral part of the hydrogeological cycle and is an important natural resource of great social and economic significance. Today, groundwater resources across the country are under great stress: pollution , over-extraction, increasing stress due to population growth, emerging equity issues and added climate change. In much of Maharashtra, this precious natural resource occurs in weathered and fractured formations of the unsaturated zone. The hydrogeology of Deccan basalt is quite complex. This poses a challenge in identifying suitable groundwater bearing zones and location of recharge sites. Competition for this scarce resource has meant that farmers are drilling more wells of greater depth, leading to a greater disruption in the underground natural hydrological flow. Responding to this challenge requires a two- pronged approach. First, it is important to generate scientific and reliable knowledge that helps stakeholders to access and understand their underground reservoirs (aquifers). Second, an appropriate institutional setup must be put in place to ensure that this knowledge is operationalised in a sustainable and equitable manner. In this blog, we look at some of the work that we’ve been doing on the first front.

As many parts of Maharashtra continue to be inundated with rain it is easy to forget that at this time last year much of the state was reeling under drought. While the rains this year will recharge groundwater tables, given current groundwater usage patterns it is unlikely that this water would contribute to help farmers tide over the next. KV Maitreyi looks at the root causes of water scarcity and what the state is doing to overcome it

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In August 2016, I visited villages in the Western Maharashtra & Marathwada in order to collect case stories for a few projects that WOTR implements. This photo essay is an attempt to showcase some of more candid moments in the field and offers a small glimpse of life in rural Maharashtra.

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While some may doubt and even deny the existence of climate change, rural households in three villages of Aurangabad District in Maharashtra State, India will tell you it is a reality and a daily battle. Climate change also doesn’t act alone – it has two other accomplices – non-climatic risks and coping strategies. In India these accomplices are shaped by historic and structural factors such as caste, gender, local politics and so on, which determine adaptation or maladaptation. In this blog we look at what different caste groups are doing in response to climate change and what has driven them to adopt these practices.

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Mobile telecommunications are increasingly being used to deliver weather forecasts directly to farmers in the form of regular advisories. These advisories are also used to introduce farmers to sustainable and innovative agricultural practices that can contribute to improving yields and reducing costs. In this blog we turn to insights from behavioural research to understand how and why advisories can be used to encourage the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and the implications of this for scaling up these services

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Poor groundwater quality during drought can have serious repercussions on health, agriculture, income and sanitation levels of the village communities. The present study looks at the upstream and downstream groundwater quality changes. The changing rainfall patterns, deteriorating groundwater quality, recurring shortage of drinking water and prolonged water scarce days across villages of Mula-Pravara sub-basin call for an urgent need to relook at the current strategies of quality assessments at local level and its dissemination through awareness programmes. The preliminary water quality study is being carried out to highlight the gaps that exist at different levels – administrative, watershed and aquifer that impede effective adaptation to poor groundwater quality of communities during times of drought.