Water Stewardship in Rural India
- In contemporary times, human societies worldwide face multiple challenges in their relationship with water.India is no exception. Meeting the demands of livelihoods and agriculture in the country along with those of a burgeoning population is perhaps the most urgent concern. This has become all the more difficult in circumstances of changing rainfall patterns exacerbated by climate change.
- Without adequate and effective supply and demand side management practices, these challenges are only compounded. In the absence of effective governance, the resource-rich continue to extract inordinate volumes of water while the poor struggle to meet basic needs, especially during dry spells.Not surprisingly, issues related to water diversion and sharing are at the heart of various conflicts among the multiple stakeholders.
- Implementing effective water governance measures is the key to water management.However, going beyond governance to a ‘stewardship’ perspective will further enhance the care and protection that this precious resource merits.
- At the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), we have worked over 27 years to develop and implement systems to protect and nurture our water resources.
- The Water Stewardship Initiative (WSI), an outcome of these efforts, addresses water governance at the community level and focuses on the co-production of knowledge for behavioural and institutional change towards building the communities’ understanding and capacity to effectively face varying weather conditions as well as address equity in access to water.
- It aligns firmly with the goal and objectives of the central government’s Atal Bhujal Yojana to demonstrate community-led, sustainable groundwater management which can be scaled up. The WSI also concords with various state acts.
- The ‘Water Stewardship in Rural India – A How-to Manual’ captures WOTR’s long years of experience with community water management and serves as a primer for sustainable management of this essential resource for rural development and climate change practitioners working in the rainfed regions of India.