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Community Resource Person: a catalyst in bringing the transformations in practices around groundwater, experiences from Maharashtra, India

IWRA 2020 Online Conference - Addressing Groundwater Resilience under Climate Change
THEME 5. Groundwater Education and Capacity Development
Author(s): Rucha Deshmukh, Uma Aslekar, Dhaval Joshi

Rucha Deshmukh, Uma Aslekar, Dhaval Joshi
Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM), Pune, Maharashtra

Keyword(s): comunity resource person, practices around groundwater


Groundwater plays an important role in the India's water story. The diversity in the hydrogeological setting makes it difficult to develop a blanket model or a framework which can be implemented across the country. There is a need of building the capacity in robust techniques and skills that are required for successful implementation of programs that revolves around groundwater monitoring, assessment, management and governance.

The scientific community have been studying various elements of hydrogeology but the sheer utilitarianness of these studies remains a question. The policies that are designed by decision makers revolves around extraction of the resource than conservation and management of the resource. There are several reasons for such response. One reason is, the classic literature on groundwater that has the potential to get translated to the end user of the resource is either mystified and/or at times trivialized in the path to make it simple. To achieve the balance and to demystify the science of groundwater is key in order to do so. The absence of linking the traditional knowledge to mainstream understanding of the resource is the missing link. A community resource person holds the key in performing the role of a catalyst which holds the potential to merge the traditional knowledge – transferring this knowledge to
the community – raising the quotient of the utility of the knowledge thus generated. In transformation sciences, especially in the context of groundwater, is it necessary to understand the role of community resource person and develop an understanding in order to enhance their capacity and role in the mainstream functionary.

A case study approach has been taken which focuses on studies conducted in 5 villages that are located in different agro-climatic zones of Maharashtra. A process of Participatory Groundwater Management is implemented in these villages. The methodology for implementation of PGWM involves scientific understanding of groundwater and social structure. It is an interdisciplinary process that integrates hydrogeological and social sciences to decipher and address the local groundwater problems.

The efforts around sensitization, awareness and capacity building programs coupled with skilled training and continued engagement helps in taking one step ahead in achieving groundwater sustainability. The study highlights participatory research methodology in accordance with participatory groundwater management and its role in the transformational sciences especially in attaining
transformations to achieve groundwater sustainability.

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