Jitendra Kumar Chauhan, Neha Kumari, Meenakshi Saxena and D.U.M. Rao
CAU, Imphal, Manipur and Greater Noida (West), Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh
Groundwater for irrigation is a natural resource and hence harvested, stored, saved, shared and used judiciously. So, groundwater must be managed as a common property by the locally organised groups of farmers. Hence, community-based organisations are the right choice for sharing groundwater for mutual survival and benefit of the farmers, whose fields share the same groundwater aquifer. Usually bore-wells dry up due to mismanagement of groundwater leading to frequent crop failures. This is the predicament faced by farmers of Madirepalli, a typical dryland village of Singanamala block of Ananthapur district in the drought-hit Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. Concerns for water shortage loomed large on the minds of the farmers in the groundnut crop season, So, they formed a water users’ association and set some rules to regulate groundwater use which they called social regulation program, thereby avoiding any crop loss. When bore-wells dried up, all the farmers agreed to share water for at least one life-saving irrigation. They could take up groundnut cultivation in 204 acres with only six live bore-wells. With financial support from local NGOs and district administration the farmer-members of water users’ association bought drip or sprinkler irrigation systems with irrigation water pipes laid out in their fields. Under the social regulation program, all the members of water users’ association have agreed to (i) not dig any new bore-well, (ii) share water from live bore-well with other farmers, whenever needed, (iii) grow only irrigated dry crops and not paddy, (iv) work hard to harvest the rain water through water harvesting systems and enhance the recharging of the dead bore-wells, (v) adopt micro-irrigation through drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. All the farmers adhered to the bye-laws and evaded crop failures. CBOs of groundwater users had ushered rural transformation.