Collaboration framework: maintain momentum

This case study is referred to in the report, Collaboration: Preserving water through partnering that works. There is one for each step of the Collaboration Framework. Click on the step you would like to find out more about to read the supporting case study.

  1. Start off on the right foot
  2. Get the system going
  3. Strengthen the glue
  4. Maintain momentum

In central and western India there are regions that have a natural rain deficit. These areas get limited monsoon rains as well as limited natural surface water sources.

The Problem

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Find out how to ‘maintain momentum’

Over time, as the power supply has increased, farmers have started harvesting the ground water for agricultural and domestic needs. This ground water usage is so extensive that in the last few decades there has been an alarming decline in the water table.

So the challenge was to preserve the current water table and yet provide water access for domestic and agricultural needs.

The stakeholders

  • The farmers themselves (as individuals and as groups / communities)
  • The local farmer training centre (government sponsored)
  • The Meteorological Department
  • The financial institutions

How did they collaborate to address the challenge?

The plan was to calculate the amount of water captured during the year’s rains and allocate it for various uses both domestic and agricultural. Having allocated the amount of water available for agriculture, the cropping cycle and pattern could be carried out in a way that would maximise returns.

The process took over 15 years and began with 1 farmer who achieved higher returns with less water. After his success, this farmer:

  1. Gathered all the farmers into a group
  2. Then, as a group, over 6 to 7 years built all the water harvesting infrastructure needed for the region (funded / supported by various government schemes)
  3. Next, as a group they set up weather measuring infrastructure (funded / supported by various government schemes) and started monitoring the ground water table rise / fall with professional help
  4. Then they started estimating the ground water availability for a year based on rains received by the region (through the local weather stations)
  5. Finally, they altered their farming practices to maximise return based on available irrigation water and soil type

Impacts and Outcomes

Over 620 hectares, farmers moved from 1 annual field crop to 3 seasonal greenhouses.

This significantly increased the farmers’ income and yet maintained the water table. This also ensured sufficient availability of water for domestic use.

Enablers: What helped the collaboration work well?

  • The critical water situation made it easier to convince farmers that drastic actions were needed
  • The Meteorological Department maintained support for the project over a long period of time