The article written by Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza was published in the compendium ‘Water Conservation and Saving in Agriculture: Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges in Maharashtra’ by Water Resources Department (WRD) Government of Maharashtra.
Objective: To use water judiciously for humans, agriculture and livestock with a view to optimizing benefits in a context of climate variability, erratic rainfall and possible drought.
WOTR’s conceptualization of Water Budgeting is geared towards ensuring optimum and most efficient use of water. This involves gaining an understanding of water availability, community’s existing needs and requirements of water, crop-planning based on water availability, optimizing irrigation, equitable sharing of excess water, and considered decisions on groundwater withdrawals.
The Water-Budgeting exercise brings to light water availability within the village. Agro-advisories help in better planning and making better crop decisions. Cropwat is a pilot initiative that helps the farmers make decisions about when and how much to irrigate their fields based on the crops planted.
This kind of integrated approach and exercises help the village community understand the implications of the different patterns of water use that are prevalent. By obtaining village level water availability data (from the rainfall and that obtained from the well data), the people are able to assess the water available at their disposal for the coming months, plan the judicious uses of water and decide on the crops accordingly, after taking into consideration the needs of households and livestock.
This consideration of various local claims on water resources in the village provide a strong basis for making decisions regarding the different and appropriate cropping patterns, area to be taken for cultivation, the method of application of irrigation water, imposition of water use charges, if any, that arrives at not only equitable sharing of water but also optimizing output per drop of water.
These initiatives and interventions are funded by Swiss Agency for Development Co-operation (SDC).