Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
Water budgeting could be defined as an estimate of harvest of water resources and its utilization for a set period of time. It is a process to understand how much water is available to us in various forms and from various sources and what is actually our water requirement based on the present scenario.Water budgeting inputs include infiltration and soil moisture according to the type of land. The outputs include evapo-transpiration, runoff and percolation.
WOTR has developed a simulation game on Water-Budgeting.
The Water-Budgeting game is played to simulate the amount of water we get from rain and the amount of water we use in our day- to-day life. The simulation game can represent trends of water availability and water requirement according to the anticipated availability and proposed usage. The game, thus, would enable us to understand which agricultural practices to follow. Since the current rainfall would not remain same as of previous years and it could be anywhere between very high to very low, the simulation game can provide an insight leading to foresight. The farmer (user) could understand how things could go out of hand in the future, if water is not used carefully. At the same time, simulation allows the user to change various parameters and see how the future could unfold. The simulation game thus becomes a model for motivation and inspiration.
The water budgeting simulation game is played with the group of villagers. This game play needs to be facilitated by a trained person. The facilitator could be a person from the village, who is handling the water budgeting responsibility. Since water budgeting is a continuous process, the facilitator always need to project status of water availability, water requirement along with future water availability to the community. It could ideally played with the community during Gram Sabha / village groups meetings on water budgeting / in schools during discussions on water budgeting.
During process of game play, facilitator would gather data for the village and feed it into the simulation model (i.e. village area, rainfall, type of land, biotic population, cropping pattern and area cropped under micro-irrigation/ flood irrigation etc.). Based on water availability and usage, simulation will generate line graph showing ground water and surface water availability in the village. This could pop-up debate within the game players on bringing changes in cropping pattern. After discussions with the community, facilitator continues game play process to bring changes in cropping pattern to show water availability status.
This process, ideally, takes place within the village before every cropping season. As a strategy to implement water budgeting in the village, a special Gram Sabha could be called. Efforts should be made to make members from all type of land holding groups remain present for the meeting. Aim of this meeting shall be to start the process of changing cropping patterns within the village and help the community to start thinking of applying water budgeting concept within their own villages.