Water Resources

Water Governance

In the Indian context where water is generally accepted as a key to improve livelihoods of a large number of poor people, the issue of Water Governance is one of building social support for equitable and sustainable development of the resource, based on comprehensive participatory planning. In India, water, especially surface water in rivers, streams and dams, is governed by the state. Water governance concerns the formal and informal institutions through which authority is exercised to allocate and regulate the resource. Water is required to be harnessed and used for maximum societal good. Concerns have been raised regarding water scarcity, pollution of water bodies, deterioration of water infrastructure, and lack of social justice in access to water. The need for an adaptive framework for Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) is being voiced at various levels. Of late there has been an increased interest on water governance as a result of perceived change in the role of state to one of a minimal facilitator. Critical questions have been raised about this new paradigm of governance, especially on accountability and depoliticisation of public spaces. There is a need to critically examine the theories and practices underpinning the new governance paradigm especially from the angularity of the poor and marginalized sections of society. While policies, organisational structures and public regulatory systems like the Farmers Managed Irrigation Systems Acts and Water Regulatory Authorities have been brought into effect in a few states, in the absence of a clear strategy the concept of IWRM has not been translated into practice on the ground. SPWD’s aim though its programme on Water Governance and Livelihoods is to develop a methodology for taking into account the particularities of the livelihood systems, agrarian structure and institutions in the various regions (basins) for

  • Planning for water in a sub-basin assuring minimum livelihoods for all
  • Building capacities of CSOs/CBOs on water governance and
  • Contributing to policy dialogue.

Watershed Development

State specific issues like ground water depletion, state water policy and its impact on different sections of the local community will be looked at in the macro State perspective with the project locations providing the field base. A study of the impact of watershed development in Rajasthan is being undertaken for ICRISAT (through GIDR). The study provide a background in which to place watershed development work with that of river basin characterisation and stake holder management. The collaboration with GIDR, SOPPECOM and DSC also opens up possibilities for networking on some aspects of watershed management in the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Water Quality

Water quality pollution issues are being taken up in the upper Jaisamand catchment. This issue is also one of the major aspects of the work in the proposed wastelands characterisation mining study in West Bokaro . SPWD concept for fluoride mitigation was proposal has recently been among the 20 selected under the World Bank sponsored IDM – 2007.
The three project villages are situated in Banganga river basin of Dausa District. Fluoride contamination now affects the water quality in 850 villages and hamlets of the district. A preliminary study of the issue shows that increase in fluoride content of water has some relation with ground water depletion though this is not uniformly applicable as the nature of rock and fluoride content in the rocks form the other major factor. Since Rajasthan is one of the States most affected, this aspect will be studied quite closely here and later on the other affected States like Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh will also be explored in order to develop a national perspective on the issue. The time span of the project is three years.