Monthly Archives: April 2016
The Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Act 2009 presents an answer to some of the state’s water scarcity woes and is an important step towards sustainable groundwater management in the State. However, the institutional structure put forth by the Act is unwieldy and poorly outlined. There is a need for innovative institutional designs that would enable operationalization of this act. Given the informational and knowledge requirements for understanding groundwater, coupled with the challenges of mobilizing support for its sustainable management , there is a need to create a cadre of “jalsevaks”. These jalsevaks will work with communities to demystify groundwater, and navigate the complex socio-political terrain in order to arrive at more equitable and sustainable outcomes.
In Maharashtra, water scarcity has emerged as the crisis of our times. In many of the worst affected districts it has become a public order issue and the state authorities devote vast resources for providing drinking water. While consecutive droughts are the proximate cause of the crisis, the widespread unregulated exploitation of groundwater is a major underlying cause. While Maharashtra has attempted to regulate groundwater through legislation, implementation of the same remains a challenge. This post takes a look at the challenges for managing groundwater resources at the local level and how aspects of legislation and policy unfold on the ground.