Avoiding the Tragedy of the Water Commons: Promoting Sustainable Groundwater Management in Maharashtra

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Groundwater is an invisible common pool resource. However, competitive individual extraction of groundwater through dug wells and bore holes has led to a decline in groundwater levels creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation. Lack of awareness and knowledge about the features of aquifers and groundwater dynamics restricts the understanding of its common pool nature that numerous households and even villages share the same aquifer for their water needs. To avoid exploitation and steer public behavior towards sustainable use of groundwater resources, our policy brief recommends promotion of water management as a common resource as opposed to private ownership.

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