This post was written by the T2SGS: Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability project team in India.
Two in-depth cases are being studied in India as part of the ‘Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability’ project. These are two contrasting villages of Ravangaon (Pune district) and Randullabad (Satara district) located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
Ravangaon represents a scenario where groundwater depends almost entirely on external water sources, such as the canal of Khadakwasla dam and a minor irrigation tank. Various forms of interactions between surface and groundwater systems in the village have been observed. The team will be studying the groundwater extraction and use practices followed by the farmers over the years, which have spiralled in several ways towards the accumulation of water in the hands of few, in order to ensure water security for their high-value crops like sugarcane and pomegranate. While reallocations in water from low-value food crops to high-value commodity crops impact the water tables, they also alter various labour and social relations in the village.
Randullabad is a story of sustainable groundwater use. The village depends entirely on its local water resources, which have been developed, conserved, protected and managed over the years through a watershed-based approach, and with a governance process that allows for judicious use of water, which prioritises a diverse set of crops and livelihoods. The team will look into the practices and rule/norm-making process that leads to sustainable use of groundwater, and how these shape the gender and social relations in agriculture.