|Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) Project is located in the southern part of the Republic of India. It covers about 638 villages in seven drought prone district of Andhra Pradesh viz; Anantapur, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Prakasam |
In the near future, wars are fought over water
This might look as an overstatement. But, indications of water are already witnessed in Gujarat. The situation is not so grim, when we look at the country’s water resource as a whole. Most of the years, we have a surplus water balance as evidenced by the annual in-flows into the ocean/sea. This means that the country as such is in a position to meet the water needs of its population. Proper management of water resources is the only answer to ensure equitable distribution of water.
One such attempt to address the water management issue, from demand side, was the pilot initiative known as Participatory Hydrological Monitoring or PHM. The main aim of PHM activity was/is to put the management of groundwater systems in the hands of farmers. Inputs of the pilot activity were very simple and aimed at capacity building of the community in groundwater management that included kalajatha, physical works to create platform for farmer management of groundwater systems, training, exposure and regular handholding operations.
Relevance to Development
Over the last one hundred years or so, India has seen two major shifts in water management. One is that individuals and communities have steadily given over their role almost completely to the state even through more than 150 years ago no government anywhere in the world provided water. The second is that the simple technology of using rainwater has declined and in its place exploitation of rivers and groundwater through dams and tubewells has become the key source of water. As water in rivers and aquifers is only a small percentage of the total rainwater, there is an inevitable and growing and in many cases unbearable stress on water from rivers and groundwater.
At present, both the Governmental and Non-Governmental agencies are making in lot of efforts to improve the groundwater situation through watershed approach. Watershed treatment, artificial recharge, afforestation, etc., are the programs that target supply side of the groundwater management. In other sense, they try to put more water into the ground, logically for more use.
So far, very little attention is paid to the demand side management, the other side of the same coin. This means the judicious use of the available water. It is very easy to convince the farmer for supply side management, because his/her contribution is very limited. Moreover, s/he looks at it as an opportunity to increase the draft. On the other hand, demand side management is quite unattractive, as s/he does not see any reason to curb wastage of water, know more about crop-water requirement, change cropping pattern, or close some of the borewells.
APFAMGS calls for a reversal of the present trend, back to the tradition methods of water management. It demands a new approach to governance itself – a participatory form of governance rather than a top-down bureaucratic one – a culture of providing services, howsoever poor and abysmal they maybe rather than one of empowering people to develop their own water resources. The revised national water policy supports this approach. This project is not only in tune with the revised national water policy but also addresses the need for trend reversal in the water management.
Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) of the United Nations as part of an “innovative model of development assistance”, setup number of partnership projects, one of which involves supporting NGO networks for improving the livelihoods of small and marginal (mainly dry land) farmers in southern India. Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) an FAO supported project aims at improving the water use efficiency by empowering farmers in monitoring and managing groundwater resources in their hydrological unit. The project works for building people’s institutions for groundwater management, augmentation of groundwater resource through artificial recharge and promotion of sustainable agricultural practices. The project is operationalised in southern parts of India spread over 638 villages in seven drought prone district of Andhra Pradesh viz; Anantapur, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Prakasam