This week Eshwer Kale, a researcher at WOTR appeared on NDTV India’s Prime Time with Ravish Kumar to discuss the implications of the government’s emphasis on farm ponds in the budget. On the show Eshwer explained that the implementation and use of farm ponds Maharashtra, where farmers fill huge farm ponds, lined with plastic, by pumping groundwater is a cause for worry. This practice, rather than reducing the vulnerability of rural communities, may result in declining groundwater levels and the de facto privatisation of what was once a shared resource.
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
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
Desertification is seen as one of the most pressing issues affecting the lives of millions across the arid and semi- arid regions of the world. It is a consequence of a series of land degradation processes, where water acts as a limiting factor for land use patterns of the ecosystem. However, owing to the current rate of human activities, this natural process has accelerated in its timeline and is posing serious risks of decreased productivity and food insecurity. This post underlines the causes and impacts of desertification. It also traces the initiatives taken by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), in combating desertification and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the communities.
In the Western Ghats, natural springs are a source of drinking water for many vulnerable rural communities. The springs serve as an essential component for the functioning of our forest cover and dependent ecosystem, yet their conservation is a completely neglected affair. Neither the Maharashtra state policy nor our national policy framework for natural resource management address this issue. There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift from source exploitation to resources management, especially in lieu of climate change. In this post we take a look at springs located in the hilly regions of Akole and Sangamner in Ahmdednagar district. Spring sources that we have surveyed are on a declining trend (both in terms of numbers and discharge), wherein some of the perennial springs have dried up or have been encroached upon, contaminated or destroyed – making it a serious issue for water resource management.
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.