Doing interviews, coproducing groundwater: tracing the spatial, temporal and vertical (Part 2)

I have organised this article in three parts based on the three key areas of coproduction. Part 1 reflects upon words- words used everyday to describe the topography, the geology, the processes, and practices. Part two focuses on space- space that is not just horizontal but also vertical as we speak about groundwater. This verticality of space urges us to focus on another dimension, a dimension of depth, of thickness, of volume. The third part, that is closely associated and embedded (in some places) with space is that of time. Time is often looked upon as an axis for the past, present and the future, but the verticality of space urges us to look at it within the ground, processes that run across time and within time, occurring simultaneously. 

Sorry, can you say that again

In this first part, I want to draw the attention towards words- words describing groundwater, its understanding, processes, and practices. When I began the interviews, I came across many words which described the landscape and certain characteristics of these landscapes. ‘Raan’ is most used in Osmanabad to describe a land parcel, a farm. I have only encountered Raan in other geographies where it often refers to untended land, forest, etc. For eg. ‘Raan majlay’ was quite common phrase referring to vegetation that grown on land or farms that are not tended or looked after. However, in this field area, raan was used for everything about the landscape- in some places, farm, in some the landscape itself. What was interesting was it was also used to describe the verticality or depth of the landscape with changing rock types or geology while drilling a borewell- ‘raan badalalay’ (raan has changed)

The GSDA and CGWB descriptions of Osmanabad geology commonly use a phrase- ‘moderately dissected plateau’ which can be loosely translated into a description of an undulating topography. This seems to be a peculiar feature of the Deccan Basalt plateau which encompasses more than 80 percent of Maharashtra’s landmass. The GSDA reference manual says that ‘occurrence, storage and movement of groundwater is greatly controlled by morphological set up in Hard Rock terrain.’ Thus, attention to topographical features and its role in shaping water availability (and non), flows, storage and discharge is important. But how is such a moderately dissected plateau brought into everyday discussion. I was first introduced to it through words- words that caught my attention (for I have never heard them before or ignored them for common sense). Many farmers referred to ‘umata’ an upland feature in the watershed, while describing success of sources, duration of water availability in an area. ‘Umata’ were also those farmland parcels wherein water had to be transported through an intricate series of arrangements involving pumps, valves, and pipes. 

The seemingly flat landscape may mislead someone from recognising the relevance of ‘umata’ and ‘jhol’

Other words like lavan (describing the small streams in the area), chaval (a farmland that has peculiar character for water retention- due to its location in the valley area- which again has another word called jhola– opposite of Umata), vapsa (a condition of farm/land when it becomes-or is made suitable for sowing). These words are often associated with a physical/topographical feature, a phenomenon that occurs in the local landscape and thus forms the foundation of knowledge that shapes everyday practices.   

Encountering the water conservation structures in these interviews often meant their association through a particular programme rather than a focus on its properties (like earthen bund or cement bund, weir, bund etc.). For example, I encountered the most common intervention in watershed or water conservation called Cement Nalla Bund (a CNB) through different names and references- in one instance it was a KT Weir (Kolhapur Type Weir), in another it was a Vasant Bandhara (due to its associated with the Vasundhara watershed programme?), while someone pointed out it was a ‘naala bandh’. In such cases, an interview conducted in the farm revealed interesting insights than the same conducted in other settings (room, office etc.). 

Of patta, pokali and percolation

Space forms another dimension in my analysis of these interviews. How space is described and mobilised to draw attention to the processes and practices of groundwater has immense value to pursue such a coproduction of groundwater knowledge. 

While describing Deccan Basalts, the word ‘flows’ (or layer, in some places) is often used to identify rock strata that may be conducive or non-conducive for groundwater accumulation and movement (see this for example). I encountered these flows through ‘patta’ (literally belt) described by farmers as extensive subsurface belt of certain rock type that enables identification and movement of groundwater. It is interesting to note that I encountered ‘patta’ only in descriptions of shallow (or unconfined) aquifers or subsurface. Never I came across the word ‘patta’ to describe a spatial extent in context of deeper subsurface or confined aquifers. While assumptions about such patta did need observations of multiple open dugwells, the relative confidence while making these claims was much higher than the often ‘fate driven’ search for water in deeper spaces of the earth through drilling of borewells. 

Laal Patta (Red Belt/Layer) visible in a dugwell

In other instance, such a loose rock stratum, a stratum that is so porous that is makes it ‘mau’ (soft) in description was also referred as a ‘pokali’ (a vacuum). That groundwater is not available until the beginning of this strata of pokali. While this is not a literal vacuum but is occupied by extremely conducive rock types like the red layer or highly weathered vesicular basalt (mau manjarya), it was useful for bringing our attention to those shifts in imagination accompanied by possibility of groundwater in those spaces. I believe, these patta and pokali describe aquifers in the area that has shaped a collective experience of knowing, locating, and accessing groundwater. 

While discussing borewells, the talk often narrowed down, it moved towards experiences of the sources themselves and no major claims about the subsurface were discussed as seen in case of shallow aquifers. However, a typology of confined aquifers, deeper subsurface groundwater did emerge through those interviews. Through their experiences of drilling borewells and those of others in the village, a classification was brought into notice. It consisted of a Doh system (can be translated, in hydrogeological sense, into a perched aquifer type system) where the borewells did struck water but did not sustain over two or three seasons eventually becoming intermittent. ‘Doh’ means a small pond like water body- usually referred in case of surface water bodies. In other cases, thanks to ones nashib (fate), the borewell struck the jhara or a nasthat ensured a perennial and long-lasting source as compared to a doh. It is interesting to note the shift in describing groundwater in shallow and deeper systems. In shallow, reference to patta meant geological feature (lal gerucha patta) while an extension in deeper systems transformed into the water flow itself (‘panyacha’ jhara or ‘panyachi’ nas) rather than emphasizing the geological feature. This understanding about sources and through them about the subsurface has led to series of practices around borewells like transferring water from them to dugwells, reboring failed borewells, deepening the bore further to improve storage etc. 

Ballestero suggests that thinking about groundwater, thinking about these rock formations ‘require a form of volumetric thinking that is only possible by articulating horizontality and verticality’ (2019). It is here that I bring attention to this verticality of imagination, observation, and practices. In these interviews, verticality was brought into reference through two key points- water levels and depth of sources. While water levels fluctuated, depth was often static- a given character in the drama of groundwater. Though water levels are the most valued ‘data input’ to arrive at groundwater understanding, it was one of the most diversely understood parameter. Asking about ‘paani patali’ meant a variety of things and its context. For example, it was often associated with drought or water scarcity years. It was not seen as something that has progressed over the years (like water level has depleted) but rather something that fluctuates every year. 

The temporality of groundwater

Continuous use of groundwater leads to falling water levels over the years. An observer of data for many decades may easily reach to this conclusion. However, in the process, we miss the intergenerational aspects of such change. What was true for many older people in the village was a fiction for the younger farmers today. That streams in the village flowed even during the summers (little, but did flow), that dug wells needed to be only 25-30 feet deep can only be a fragment of old age imagination. This transformation of rural landscapes over decades has led to a transformation in ways of knowing groundwater, accessing, and using it. 

A newspaper article describing increase in post monsoon water level in the district

In short term-like within few years, this temporality, unlike a linear progression, shifts back and forth across the axis. Water levels, discussed above, are often changing- depleting and recovering, a phenomenon that was associated with series of related events- extraction for irrigation, transfers from deeper aquifers, droughts, rainfall (excess, unseasonal etc.). 

Many farmers complained about sources of groundwater drying up by March marking the beginning of a summer with scarce water supply, intermittent borewells, poorer recovery in dug wells etc. ‘Percolation’ while being a spatial process- movement of water from one point to other, also has a temporal component that is well understood by the users. Instead of taking permits for lift irrigation from tanks, farmers prefer to buy lands near tanks wherein restrictions on extraction during summers are not applied. In comparison, tanks, when they reach dead storage are banned from use for irrigation with confiscation of lifting devices, cutting off electricity supply etc. However, officials cannot restrict the process of percolation which causes water from the tank to percolate in the wells nearby. Thus, temporality of groundwater movement is well understood and mobilised by farmer community. 

Many of us often come across phrases/sentences like ‘our village our water’, ‘not letting any water outside our village’ etc. Farmers, though, in some parts of the watershed must pump out water from wells during the monsoons- a purposeful activity aimed at reducing soil moisture and thus water retention in farms, to ensure crop productivities. When asked if this counters the need for recharging more and more groundwater during and after monsoon on which many government programmes are focused, they suggested the inequities of land properties mandated some to undertake such an activity. The farmers in ‘chaval jameen’ (land prone to water retention) resorted to such an activity. It was a contradiction of sorts that a MGNREGA supported in-situ dugwell recharge programmes aims to do exactly the opposite. This seemingly rebellious act is not seen as one damaging the larger objective of improving groundwater situation in the village by letting off water ‘outside of the watershed or the aquifer’. 


Movement of groundwater is another aspect that I will write sometime soon. The reason is simple- the topic demands its own attention and much of the interventions or strategies for groundwater conservation, recharge and improving access have been shaped around theories and experiences of groundwater movement. Starting with the most basic as to why pumping one well (or not pumping) affects other wells in the vicinity, why most wells are near streams, why naala deepening benefits certain wells and not others, why are horizontal boreholes drilled in the dugwells, why drilling of one borewell leads to failure of other or why increasing borewells in a landscape lead to loss of water from dugwells. There are a lot of tensions, inconsistencies and substantiating examples emerging from pursuing these questions in the interviews, and I hope to write about it in the next blog. 

Doing interviews, coproducing groundwater: tracing the spatial, temporal and vertical (Part 1)

When interview research method meets groundwater

Interviewing is cornerstone of any qualitative research. There are many different approaches to organising and conducting these and I would not go into the details about their typologies as that is not the intention of this article. My key interest here is- what happens when the interview as a research method meets hydrogeology? What happens when interviews themselves and through them enable groundwater understanding? I trace these questions and put down my observations based on my experiences of using un/semi structured interviews during my PhD fieldwork. 

Before I dive in further into the article, I need to highlight that I am no expert when it comes to qualitative research or for that matter using/deploying research tools. Much of what is presented here is through my use of interviews ‘in the field’ and ‘through the process’ of evolving the approach. When I began the fieldwork, much of the discussions were unstructured that evolved into semi-structured method of interviews. However, the linearity as the earlier sentence suggests may not be visible in the process. 

I interviewed farmers, community members, Krushi mitra (agriculture extension officers), Jalsurakshak (water extension officer) and elected members of various village level committees. While I also interviewed scientists, government officials, and practitioners from NGOs as well as subject experts, much of the focus of this article and the emerging understanding is based on my interactions in the villages. I did much of this fieldwork in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, although I also ventured in other districts a bit like Jalna and Ahmednagar. 

Doing interviews, coproducing groundwater

The reason I describe this as coproduction of groundwater is for two key reasons: as a researcher, I position myself with a background of working in this sector which brings in my own understanding to the field as well as to the process. In turn, this has led to shaping the approach I took for these interviews, the way questions were shaped and organised in the interviews and while conducting the interviews how the responses led to emerging questions which were again shaped by my understanding of the subject and field. Thus, at the outset, I want to shed the image of an ‘objective researcher’ towards the one of an ‘active researchers’ who equally contributed to the coproduction of this understanding presented here. 

Secondly, participant farmers and members of the community engaged with me through a certain notion of my background and identity- a urban, upper caste, researcher doing some research in a faraway university and someone, who possibly, may contribute to some beneficial work in the community/village. Having introduced through an NGO, this further escalated expectations that I did best to address but not quell. Recognising this mutual relationship was important in collectivising understanding of groundwater that led to its coproduction. 

The key contribution I wish to make through this article is to establish an approach that can inform ways of understanding groundwater beyond the ‘techniques of hydrogeology’- to develop understanding of groundwater through qualitative research methods that relies on oral histories, memories (individual and collective), everyday practices, experiential and traditional knowledge. Doing so, I hope it will contribute, through epistemological intervention, a shift from a techno-scientific discourse towards a more grounded and engaging process that values groundwater knowledge making as an everyday process . In doing so, I hope it also quells the dichotomy of indigenous vs modern knowledge, of good vs bad data, of scientific and superstition. 

Experiences across space and time

Like most interview situations, there are certain characteristics that determine the nature of the interview. I identify three: place where the interview is conducted, time of the year when the interview happens, and participant background, although, I think there may be many more. While participants background has been identified as an important criterion while doing and assessing interviews in many other settings, I would like to emphasize on the place and time of interviews from groundwater perspective. 

Water moves, stops, percolates, evaporates and saturates rocks. Water is pumped, contaminated, transported and stored. These things make it important to acknowledge and value the place and time of the interviews. I conducted most of the interview in the farms, near the wells, walking along the farm bunds, near the standing crops. I spoke to some farmers across the watershed, in upstream and downstream areas, near the stream and away from them, in irrigated farms, and in rainfed farms, near storage structures (like percolation tanks, storage tanks), and away from them. I did speak to some in their home, in their kitchen, understanding how water is brought in, or is supplied, how it is stored and used. These proved important as places determined the spaces that groundwater occupies and shapes- its flows, the porous rocks, directions of flow, behaviour of wells, ways of storing it, getting the infrastructure in place etc. 

At the same time, during what time of the year I conducted the interviews also shaped the discussions. While I began the discussions in the field as the summer of 2022 set in, many of the in-depth interviews began with the onset of monsoon. For example, interviews conducted in the summer consisted of observations and experiences during that period of the year- borewells stopping and starting, dug-wells being filled up from borewells, recovery of the well, new borewells being drilled etc. Interviews during the onset of monsoon focused on soil moisture, making land eligible for sowing, percolation from storages into dug-wells etc. Such diverse discussions meant a spectrum of groundwater practices and knowledges being dwelled upon. 

In the next part of the article, I will outline the key learning that has emerged from this experience. I have certain aspects that I have come to focus as I have begun re-hearing these interviews and in the process being transported back to those places and times of the year 2022. 

What do the groundwater data disclosures under Atal Jal programme tell us (and not tell us)?

While sharing her views on water data in the podcast Voices for Water, Dr. Anju Gaur from the World Bank India office refers to her personal fitness monitoring device and suggests- ‘if I am monitoring it, I will manage it’. Throughout this podcast, the line is referred thrice suggesting the predominance of monitoring and measurement paradigm in shaping water management efforts. Given the importance of managing and governing groundwater effectively, many researchers and practitioners often cite the ‘lack of data’ as an impediment for improving groundwater management and governance. It is for this reason, that many groups (academic, government, non-government, civil society, communities) working on groundwater often lay an emphasis on monitoring, measuring and gathering data on groundwater. 

State groundwater agencies as well as the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) have been collecting various forms of groundwater data- be it setting of monitoring/observation wells, water levels, water quality etc. Since much of this is rather inaccessible to the larger public and thus communities who are dependent on groundwater for their everyday need, it was identified as one of the key deliverables (here, pg 8) under the Atal Bhujal Yojana. The first Disbursement Linked Indicator or DLI-1 or simply called as deliverable identifies ‘public disclosure of groundwater data/information and reports’ as one of the indicators of programme outcomes matrix. This recent tweet (below) from the official (?) Atal Jal Twitter handle shares that till date information of more than 7000 observation wells across 7 states has been disclosed as part of DLI-1.

What do these public disclosures tell us? What do they mean for improving our understanding of groundwater conditions in the block/district/region? And lastly, most importantly though, how can communities and other actors involved in Atal Jal villages use this information/data disclosure to plan effective management strategies for groundwater improvement? In this blogpost, I trace the first question. I will follow up with another blogposts later to address the other two questions. 

I use the case of Maharashtra as the state has put out these reports for all the 38 blocks of the state that represent villages which are part of Atal Jal programme. The structure used for making these reports was homogenous, hence I took examples of 3 block reports to go in detail for analysis. For some weird reason which I cannot grasp, the GSDA English website alone has posted these reports however one cannot find them in the Marathi website (see here, accessed on the day this blogpost was published). Given that these are meant for public dissemination and most people from villages, decision making bodies will prefer to access them in Marathi, I find it odd that such is the case. I hope the GSDA puts them out soon. 

What do these disclosure reports tell us?

Beyond the general characteristics of the blocks (census information, dominant crops, land use and geology) the reports consist of following information on groundwater:

  1. Groundwater conditions- Network of monitoring wells in the block, data availability period, pre and post monsoon water levels (for preceding year) etc. 
  2. Groundwater quality- number of wells monitored, period of data availability, parameters analysed and known quality issues 
  3. Groundwater resources- extractable groundwater resources, current abstraction rates, net groundwater availability, stage of groundwater development and category of assessment unit (safe, semi critical, critical, overexploited)

It then goes on to give the details of water level and water quality monitoring wells and their recent data in a tabular format. The most interesting part of these disclosures are the maps. Following maps have been depicted in the disclosures-

  1. Location map
  2. Base map
  3. Hydrogeological map 
  4. Location of monitoring wells
  5. Pre and post monsoon Water level fluctuation map
  6. Electrical conductivity (EC) map 

Are the disclosures enough?

Based on my understanding of reading these reports I make the following observations:

  1. Data by itself is not enough- Even if the reports outline the details of monitoring network, unless a reader has prior training, it is difficult to make sense of what it means to be reading a GPS value, the m.bgl (metres below ground level) value- a common parameter used by scientists and researchers to make observation of water level fluctuations. This also applies to the water quality parameters. What is EC and what does mg/l mean- how does one make sense of it? The map for EC shows the range of values spatially across the block but does not refer to desirable/permissible limits in the maps, making one wonder what to make of this range. I hope communities and members of decision-making bodies under Atal Jal undergo training and capacity building going forward to make sense of these parameters and units. 
Source: Block Hydrogeological Report Wai- GSDA
  • The data depicts that in most cases the unconfined aquifers (shallow aquifers) are being monitored currently. Given the dependency on deeper/confined aquifers and the increasing use of bore-wells, one does not find monitoring of any bore-wells being currently undertaken. One then, is amused to know what was the role of National Hydrology Project (which is in its third phase currently) that, among other things, aimed to improve monitoring and measurements of groundwater resources. Under the project, piezometers (devices that monitor water levels) were planned to be installed, but no information about their data or fluctuations seems to be referred to in the reports. Given that both the projects have been partially supported by the World Bank and that the same ministry is involved in overseeing both the projects, wont such an exercise find value in disclosures?
  • setting up monitoring stations, collecting data and disseminating them has been part of various projects. Let us take example of JalSwarajya II project implemented by Maharashtra (again in collaboration with World Bank). A monitoring network of about 33000 wells was set up/identified under the project and data for the same was to be collected by ‘Jalsurakshak’- a person appointed under NRDWP programme for water quality monitoring and surveillance. The project went a step ahead to collate all the data visually via an application developed by MRSAC- the state remote sensing agency. The maps in the reports mention to this monitoring network but the monitoring does not find its way into assessments and disclosures. apparently, the last time I had visited this website (1 January 2022), I could see that data is updated only once- sometime in 2015. I hope that such data is being collected but is yet to be updated on the MRSAC application.
Source: MahaGSDA by MRSAC (accessed 1 Jan 2022)
  • Extensive information about groundwater practices is documented by the Minor Irrigation Census reports which is very useful to make sense of groundwater dependency and its intricate characteristics (for example see this, and this). Lack of any references to those data sources only extends the argument about ‘in-silo’ functioning of various agencies and departments that all work on water in one way or the other. This also applies to various projects often supported by the same multilateral agency (World Bank, in this case).
  • The reports have been disclosed using the administrative units as references (taluka/block, in this case). Given that these reports were produced by the groundwater agencies in various states, it would have made sense to integrate hydrogeological information and data from other initiatives. The NAQUIM programme, one of the most influential programmes aimed at mapping aquifers across the country has produced detailed information and data about groundwater conditions in various regions. Such reports, usually available at district scale, could had been tapped into and could have been brought into the dissemination exercise that is currently underway as part of Atal Jal DLI 1. The programme is only referred to as ‘covered’ or ‘not covered’ in disclosure reports.
  •  The report boasts about long term monitoring of groundwater in these blocks. However, one does not see use of trends (of water level fluctuation, water quality) in disclosures but on the contrary sees a year specific value input (like pre and post monsoon water level for 2019). Without making a reference to rainfall, it may be difficult to grasp the groundwater situation based on a single year data value. Although the tables put out values for about 4-5 years, it is very difficult to read numbers out of a table than to actually see some form of visualisation about trends in water level fluctuations etc. 
  • Standardising the processes- The reports are consistent across all the blocks in the structure they follow. Such a standardisation may not serve the diverse typology of groundwater conditions and issues. Reports mention about certain water quality parameters being reported in the block but does not go ahead to give details about such cases. Similarly wells are usually monitored for 2 or 4 times a year across the country. One does see value in such an exercise, but such standardisation across regions may not be appropriate given the rainfall variability that one sees over monsoon period. Increasing instances of post monsoon and pre-monsoon rainfall (also called non-seasonal) affects water tables. Piezometers (devises that monitor water levels) could prove beneficial. It must be mentioned here that such piezometers will be installed in villages under Atal Jal programme but this should not be a case as seen with National Hydrology project.

UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP) has entered into its 9th phase since its inception in 1975. The programme, in this phase has adopted the theme- ‘science for a water secure world in a changing environment’. It aims to help members states (countries) achieve their water related goals (like SDG 6) ‘by strengthening scientific knowledge, data availability and enabling informed decision- making’ (Strategic Plan, pg 6). It aims to further interdisciplinary efforts and expanding role of, what is referred in the document as, ‘citizen science’. Can the data/information disclosure made under DLI 1 of Atal Jal programme aid in ‘enabling informed decision making’? How interdisciplinary are these reports and the understanding they produce? What is citizen science when it comes to groundwater?I trace this question in the next blog post.

महाराष्ट्रातील प्रचलित भूजल जुगाड- खोड्या

अनेकदा आपण लोकांना बोलतांना ऐकतो ‘जसं कागदावर दिसतं तसं नसतं’. आपण काही गोष्टींचे नियोजन करतो आणि त्यापद्धतीने त्या अमलात आणल्या जातात. पण अनेकदा जेव्हा त्यांची अंमलबजावणी होते, दैनंदिन पातळीवर बघता आपल्याला त्या वेगळ्या दिसतात. याला आपण सर्वजण ‘जुगाड’ असे संबोधतो किंवा सिस्टीमच्या खोड्या काढणे असे देखील याला म्हणता येऊ शकते. इथे सिस्टीम म्हणजे फक्त मानवनिर्मित, शासकीय योजना किंवा तंत्रज्ञान नव्हे तर नैसर्गिक, ज्याला नॉन-ह्युमन किंवा ‘मोअर than ‘ह्युमन’ म्हणता येईल अश्या गोष्टींचा देखील समावेश होईल. भूजलाच्या बाबतीत म्हणायचे झाले तर अश्या नॉन-ह्यूमन गोष्टी कोणत्या तर- खडक, माती, खडकांचे प्रकार, भंग-भेगा-चिरा, किंवा पडलेला पाऊस, भूजल स्वतः इ. तर अश्या जुगाड आणि खोड्यांकडे बघण्याची गरज काय? त्यांचा अभ्यास करणे गरजेचे असते का?  

अनेक अभ्यासकांनी हे दाखवले आहे की आपण जर पाण्याच्या (अनुशंघाने भूजलाच्या) दैनंदिन रीती-पद्धतींकडे लक्ष दिले तर आपण आपल्या गृहीतकांविषयी प्रश्न उपस्थित करू शकतो तसेच ‘जैसा है, वैसा है’ अश्या परिस्थिती सदृश पद्धतींचा आढावा घेऊ शकतो. मी ज्या T2GS प्रकल्पाचा भाग आहे, त्यातील अनेक सहकाऱ्यांनी अश्या पद्धतीची मांडणी आता जगातील विविध भागांमध्ये केलेली आपल्याला दिसते आहे. एक अभ्यास इथे विशेष मांडू इच्छितो.  

पाण्याच्या गव्हर्नन्सची मांडणी ही फिक्स्ड (स्थिर किंवा निश्चित) न करता ती ‘सतत घडणारी प्रक्रिया’ अशी केली जेणेकरून आपण मग आपले लक्ष योजनांच्या परिपत्रकांपासून, कायद्यांच्या मसुद्यापासून तसेच गव्हर्नन्सच्या सिद्धांतांपासून (theory) वळवून ‘दैनंदिन पद्धतींकडे’ नेऊ शकतो. तसेच ती ‘कशी असायला हवी’ पासून आपण ती ‘कशी आहे’ हे यातून बघता येऊ शकते (ही मांडणी बघा). यामुळे आपल्याला तेथील स्थळ-काळ- सामाजिक-राजकीय-नैसर्गिक संदर्भाकडे नीट पाहता येते आणि कोणत्या कारणांमुळे अश्या रीती-पद्धती तिथे निर्माण झाल्या असाव्यात याचा मागोवा घेता येऊ शकतो. यालाच त्यांनी सामाजिक-तांत्रिक जुगाड म्हंटले आहे- किंवा इंग्रजीत म्हणायचे तर socio-technical tinkering असे म्हंटले आहे. टिंकरिंगला उपयुक्त मराठी शब्द मला सापडत नाही पण जुगाड किंवा ‘प्रचलित घालून दिलेल्या पद्धतींमध्ये खोड्या करणे’ असे सध्यातरी म्हणता येईल.  

याचे थेट आणि सरळ सरळ उदाहरण म्हणजे शेततळी. कृषी विद्यापीठांमधील शाश्त्रज्ञांनी अभ्यास करून अशी तळी पाणी साठवायला कशी उपयुक्त ठरू शकतात हे अभ्यासातून दाखवून दिले. शासकीय विभागांनी त्याचा जीआर काढून त्याला अधिकृत पद्धतीने राज्यात राबिण्यास प्रवृत्त केले. स्थानिक शेतकऱ्यांनी मात्र तो अभ्यास आणि त्या जीआर चा संदर्भ गुंडाळून वेगळ्याच पद्धतीने शेत तळी अमलात आणली, राबवली हे आपण बघितले. यालाच आपण जुगाड असे संबोधतो किंवा अधिकृत सिद्धांतांशी, आदेशाशी केलेल्या खोड्या आपण म्हणू शकतो. सध्याच्या माझ्या मराठवाड्यातील फिरस्तीमध्ये मला असे अनेक अनुभव येत आहेत, ते इथे मांडायचा हा प्रामाणिक प्रयत्न.  

आडाला बोअरचे पाणी 

पारंपरिक पाण्याचे स्रोत म्हणजे आड. हे आड विशेष आहेत कारण त्यांचे डिसाईन आणि त्यांची जागा. डिसाईन बद्दल मी या लेखामध्ये मांडणी केली आहे पण जागेविषयी सांगायचे तर हे आड वस्तीच्या मधोमध, घरांपासून जवळ अश्या अंतरावर आहेत. त्यामुळे वस्तीतील अनेक घरांना हे आड पाणी आणण्यासाठी उपयुक्त ठरतात.अनेकदा वस्तीनिहाय (जातीनिहाय) आड वेगवेगळे असतात. अगदी आत्ता १०-१५ वर्षांआधी ह्या आडांना पाणी असायचे पण आत्ता अनेक आड कोरडे पडले आहेत. उथळ जलधरामध्ये अनेक विहिरी झाल्यामुळे आणि सिंचनासाठी विहिरींचा वापर वाढल्यामुळे हे आड कोरडे पडलेले आपल्याला दिसतात.  

अनेकदा पाणी पुरवठ्याची स्कीम आणि त्यातील विहीर ही आडांप्रमाणे वस्तीच्या जवळ नसून शिवारात लांब असते. त्यामुळे विहिरीतून पाणी उपसून टाकीमध्ये ते साठवून मग गावाला पाणी पुरवठा केला जातो. बोअरचे तसे नसते. बोअर अनेकदा वस्तीच्या जवळ असतात पण बोअरचे पाणी विहिरीप्रमाणे साठवता येत नाही. त्यामुळे अनेक गावांमध्ये बोअरचे पाणी हे या आडांमध्ये टाकलेले आपल्याला दिसते. इथून मग लोक पाणी भरून घेऊन जाऊ शकतात.  

हीच पद्धत आपल्याला शेतांमधील विहिरींमध्ये देखील दिसते. अनेक शेतकरी (ज्यांच्याकडे विहीर देखील आहे) बोअरचे पाणी हे विहिरीत साठवून ठेवतात जेणेकरून शेताला पाणी देणे सोप्पे होते. अनेकदा ठिबक सिंचनाची सिस्टीम देखील विहिरींवर बसवली असते त्यामुळे बोअरचे पाणी विहिरीत टाकणे उपयुक्त ठरते. शेतकऱ्यांशी बोलतांना कळले कि बोअरच्या पाण्याने शेत भिजत नाही (त्याला फोर्स कमी असतो म्हणून पाणी पुढे सरकत नाही) आणि शेतीसाठी आठतासाच्या वीज उपलब्धतेमुळे बोअरने शेताला पाणी देणे सोयीचे होत नाही. म्हणून असा स्थानिक जुगाड ते घडवून आणतात.  

विहिरींमध्ये आडवे बोअर 

विहिरींमध्ये आडवे बोअर मारण्याची पद्धत आता बऱ्यापैकी प्रचलित आहे. एक खोड म्हणून किंवा जुगाड म्हणून कुठेतरी कार्यान्वित झालेली ही पद्धत आता सर्वत्र शेतकरी करतांना आपल्याला दिसते. याबद्दल मी विस्तृतपणे या लेखामध्ये लिहिले आहे. याला देखील आपण एका खोड किंवा जुगाड या पद्धतीमध्ये मोडू शकतो. जेव्हा एखादा शेतकरी अशी बोअर मारतो तेव्हा त्याच्या परिमाण आजूबाजूच्या विहिरींच्या पाणी उपलब्धतेवर झालेले आपल्याला दिसू शकतो-यामुळेच ही एक तांत्रिक बाब न राहता एक सामाजिक बाब बनते.  

लोकांना ट्रेनिंग देतांना किंवा क्षमता बांधणी कार्यशाळेमध्ये एका कोकाकोलाच्या बाटलीमध्ये अनेक straw टाकले अशी अनालॉजि दिली जाते. म्हणजेच एका उथळ जलधारकात अनेक विहिरी केल्या- त्यामुळे जलधरातले पाणी वाढले असे नाही तर तेच पण वाटले गेले असा संदर्भ दिला जातो. पण या उभ्या straw मध्ये अनेक आडवे straw आज झालेले आपल्याला दिसत आहेत. अर्थात भूजलाचा मागोवा घेणाऱ्या इतर अनेक बाबींप्रमाणेच इथेदेखील नाशिभाची साथ लागते असे शेतकरी सांगतात. पण जर कधीकाळी अश्या आडव्या बोअरने एखादी नस पकडली तर मग काही चिंता नाही. विहिरीला पाणी निश्चित. 

इथे आपल्याला अश्या जुगाडाची तिसरी बाजू (सामाजिक तांत्रिक आणि)- नैसर्गिक बाब समजते. महाराष्ट्रातील खडकांच्या रचनेमुळे जमिनीखालील पाणी सर्वत्र समप्रमाणात आणि समवेगामध्ये धावेलाच असे नाही. त्यामुळे अश्या नैसर्गिक मर्यादेवर हा जुगाड लोकांनी काढलेले आपल्याला दिसते. कोळसा, खनिज तेल यामध्ये आपल्याला या तंत्राचा वापर झालेला दिसतो. पण त्यापुढे जाऊन पाण्याचा मागोवा घेण्यासाठी आता विहिरींमध्ये आपल्याला हे होतांना दिसत आहे.  

एकाच डीपीवर अनेक पंप कनेक्शन  

एका महावितरणच्या अधिकाऱ्यांबरोबर बोलत असतांना कळले की दोन प्रकारचे विद्युत पुरवठा यंत्र दिले जातात- ६० चे आणि १०० चे. ६० वर जवळपास १०-१५ शेतकरी टॅग धरू शकतात( प्रत्येकाच्या एचपी मोटारीची बेरीज करून ६० पर्यंत नेणे) तसेच १०० वर जवळपास २० ते २५ शेतकरी. आजकाल ३ अश्वक्षमतेचा पंप बहुदा नसतोच, किमान ५ किंवा अधिकतर ७.५ किंवा १० चे पंप बसवले जातात. अर्थातच खालावणाऱ्या पाणी पातळीमुळे असे झालेले दिसते पण मुख्य कारण असतं ट्रान्सफॉर्मर वरचा लोड खेचुन घेणारी क्षमता आपल्या पंप मध्ये असली पाहिजे.  

पण होतंय काय की एका ६० वर जवळपास ३०-४० कनेक्शन असतात तसेच १०० वर त्याच्या क्षमतेहून अधिक. म्हणून हे अनेकदा जळायची उदाहरणं समोर येतात. असे का होते? तर शेतकऱ्याला कनेक्शन हवे असल्यास तो डिमांड भरतो (साधारण १३००० रुपये). त्यानंतर तीन वर्षांच्या आत वीज मंडळाने त्याला कनेक्शन देणे अनिवार्य असते. पण एकाच शेतकरी फक्त एक विहिर किंवा बोअर घेत नाही तर तो ३-४ बोअर मारतो आणि म्हणून त्यासाठी कनेक्शन घेणे कठीण जाते. मग अश्यावेळी एकाच कनेक्शन च्या जोरावर ३-४ कनेक्शन घेतली जातात. यामुळे दुसरा परिमाण असा की वीज पुरवठा नियमित होत नाही आणि पंप जळायचे,  वीज न मिळण्याचे प्रकार घडतात.  

वीज वापर नाही तर पंप क्षमतेवर वीज बिलाचा आकार  

संपूर्ण महाराष्ट्रात आणि इतर अनेक राज्यामध्ये वीज नक्की किती वापरली यावर शेतकऱ्यांना वीज बिल दिली जात नाही तर किती अश्वक्षमतेचा पंप ते वापरतात त्यावर वीज खर्च आकारला जातो. हा जुगाड सर्वात अव्वल प्रतीचा असा जुगाड आपण घडवून आणला आहे. महाराष्ट्रातच म्हणायचे झाले तर जवळपास ३० लक्ष सिंचन विहिरी आणि बोअर आहेत. यासर्वांवर एकवेळ मीटर बसवणे जरी शक्य झाले तरी त्याची मोजणी करणे म्हणजे अशक्यप्राय बाब आहे. याचे कारण असे की वीज मंडळाकडे इतके मनुष्यबळ नाही. किंबहुना तेवढे मनुष्यबळ नेमणे ही अशक्य अशी गोष्ट आहे. म्हणून हा तोडगा (जुगाड) त्यावर आपण काढला आहे.  

या अंतर्गत ५ एचपी च्या पंप ला जवळपास १४००० रुपये वीजबिल आकारले जाते वर्षाला. हे अनुदानाच्या माध्यमातून कमी करण्यात आले आहे. इतर अनेक राज्यामध्येतर सिंचनासाठी वीज मोफत आहे. अनेक शेतकऱ्यांचे वीजबिल थकीत आहे. पण समाज काही नवीन योजनेचा लाभ किंवा नवीन डिमांड भरायची असेल तर शेतकऱ्यांना हे फेडावे लागते. तेव्हा रक्कम कितीही मोठी असली तरी ५००० रुपये भरून ते योजनेसाठी किंवा डिमांडसाठी अर्ज करू शकतात.  

थोडक्यात..

वरील उदाहरण मांडायचे कारण असे कि अश्या जुगाड आणि खोड्यांमधून आपल्याला भूजलाच्या आणि त्यातून एकूण पाण्याच्या गव्हर्नन्सची कल्पना येते. गव्हर्नन्स ची संकल्पना ही फक्त कागदावर, थिअरेटिकल न राहता ‘दैनंदिन गव्हर्नन्स’ ची मांडणी आपल्याला करता येऊ शकते. आपण अनेकदा विविध प्रकल्प, कार्यक्रम आणि योजना राबवत असतो. त्यामध्ये कागदावर काही नमूद केले असते- शास्त्रज्ञांनी- शासकीय कर्मचाऱ्यांनी- अशासकीय संस्थेतील अधिकाऱ्यांनी. पण ही झाली त्याची मांडणी. प्रत्यक्ष अनुभव काय आहे, स्थानिक परिस्थितीत काय निर्णय घेतले जातात आणि त्यातून काय मांडणी आपल्याला करता येऊ शकते हा यामागील प्रयत्न.  

वर नमूद केलेल्या पेपरमध्ये एक उदाहरण त्यांनी दिले आहे. ‘स्टॅंडर्ड’ नुसार किती वाळू आणि दगड एकत्र करून सिमेंट करता येईल हे अधिकाऱ्यांना ठरवायचे होते. त्या सिमेंटचा वापर कालव्याच्या लाइनिंगसाठी करणार होते. पण ‘स्टॅंडर्ड’ पासून वेगळे असे स्थानिक दगड आणि वाळू मिळाल्यामुळे त्यांचे सिमेंटचे गणित चुकत होते. कालव्याच्या वरच्या भागात मात्र स्टॅंडर्ड नुसार काम केल्यामुळे तो गळका निघाला आणि ही बाब लक्षात घेऊन पुढील काम करतांना सिमेंटचा वापर वाढवल्याने जितक्या लांबीचे लायनिंग ठरवले होते त्यापेक्षा कमी लायनिंग प्रत्यक्षात करता आले. 

जेव्हा असे जुगाड सर्वसाधारण बनतात, किंवा जेव्हा खोड्या काढण्यापासून आपण खोडकर स्वभावाकडे जातो तेव्हा त्याला परिवर्तन म्हणता येईल का? असे काही उदाहरण आपल्यासमोर आहे का? म्हणजेच अश्या खोड्यांचा किंवा जुगाडचा संदर्भ घेऊन आपण नवीन योजनांकडे, धोरणांकडे पाहू शकतो का?  

माझ्या अभ्यासाचा हाच प्रयत्न आहे. योजना नक्की कोणत्या ज्ञानाच्या आधारावर ठरवल्या जातात, त्यातून कोणती मांडणी पुढे आणली जाते- काय योग्य आणि काय अयोग्य हे ठरवले जाते आणि मग त्या ज्ञानाचे रूपांतर अंमलबजावणीत होते. पण अनेकदा आपण ऐकतो- कागदावर एक आणि प्रत्यक्षात दुसरे. जर ही गोष्ट गृहीत धरून आपण पुढे गेलो तर हे नक्की कसे घडते हे समजण्यासाठी म्हणून शाश्त्रज्ञांच्या, शासकीय अधिकाऱ्यांच्या, शेतकऱ्यांच्या दैनंदिन ‘रीती-पद्धतींकडे’ लक्ष देणे महत्वाचे ठरेल. त्यातून कदाचित सर्वसामान्य- सर्व इतर ठिकाणी अजमावता येईल अशी ‘थिअरी’ आपण पुढे अनु शकणार नसू तरी चालेल. आपला उद्धेश जर स्थानिक भूजलाचे व्यवस्थापन त्याचे गव्हर्नन्स कसे होतेय हे समजून घेऊन त्यावर कार्य करणे असेल, तर अश्या युनिवर्सल किंवा ऑब्जेक्टिव्ह संकल्पनांचा हट्ट धरणे आवश्यक नाही.  

The making of an ‘exposure visit’

Exposure visits form crucial part of any training or capacity building initiative. It aims to bring forth the experience of what are the ‘best practices’ in a particular field. Planners/ organisers of such exercises attempt to inculcate an element of behavioural change amongst the participants of the exercise. The field of water (read groundwater too) is no exception to this. Many programmes devised by national and state governments aim to add the activity of ‘exposure visits’ for elected representatives or staff of a particular department to certain countries, areas, regions or communities wherein they may experience or ‘see for themselves’ the best practices in the field. This is equally true in the case of civil society organisations working in this space.

Source: CGWB Twitter Handle

But how much of this is an experience that is non-contextual? How can this understanding or knowledge about a certain practice or a case be translated and transported to other areas or villages? And lastly, how much of this is actually a ‘see for yourself’ experience? I trace these questions through my experiences of organising, conducting, attending (as a participant) such exposure visits. I speak about these with a particular emphasis on water sector (to be more specific, groundwater) and largely around programmes aimed at watershed based, community led practices. Thus, I do not speak about large hydrologic arrangements like dams or its canals.

The contextual nature of an exposure visit

Most exposure visits tend to inculcate the idea of a model village or a watershed. While most programmes are designed with the focus on water management, it tends to bring forth those aspects while masking much of the socio-political connotations that may have played a role in making such a village or an area ‘model’ or ‘ideal’. How often do participants explore (or get a chance to explore) such a context is a larger question.

Lot of these examples often paint a pre and post scenario. Certain challenges persisted amongst community members with regards to managing water, those were tackled through an intervention of implementing a certain programme through an NGO, local leadership or government agency. While this is indeed a valuable lesson, it also points us to the question about how we define success in such cases. 

The topographical context

Most of the model villages in my experience have been what are often termed as ‘classical watersheds’. Watersheds that may depict a ridge to valley view within one’s visual distance, wherein elevational or topographical variation becomes an important part of the design. If we see such model villages across, say Maharashtra, with the exception of Kadwanchi in Jalna district (which is touted to be a model village) we often see such a topographical connect. 

Why is such a topographical context important in the making of a model village? It is, because, it enables people (participants of exposure visit, in this case) actually ‘see’ the interventions or visualise the movement of water. Water moves and hence it has to be stopped, arrested, percolated, channelized and controlled- basically manage it. The technical- engineering paradigm of water governance lends value to this exercise.

Imagine village/s on a plain topography. How does one visualise these actions pertaining to water in such a scenario? But in a topographically skewed village, standing in one location/at one point in the watershed, we can ‘see’ and ‘show’ interventions of watershed works, see large percolation tanks and how they sit at the head of the village watershed, see dug-wells in the farms and can see the multiple streams that flow and meet together to form the order of streams. This is not possible in case of a village in the plains.

This is equally true about the maps produced for such villages. With a lot of contours (imaginary lines depicting certain elevation), the map becomes quite an interesting artefact to be observed and discussed.

The localised nature of cause and effect

Aquifers (especially shallow) and watersheds are mostly localised in peninsular India compared to the alluvial plains in North India. As a result any interventions in the form of watershed structures may enable one to visualise their effects within a relatively smaller scale. This makes it possible to create a cause and effect story even within a single village or a micro-watershed. Unlike alluvial plains wherein effects can be contiguous over large areas, hard rock regions tend to have localised and distinct impacts.

Evaluating impacts or constructing what can the potential impacts be in the first place, is one of the most crucial indicator of ‘success’ in any story. Maharashtra’s specific geomorphology allows one to undertake this exercise at a village scale thus making it possible to demarcate success from failure. Being able to see and show, within a single village, the impacts of the work undertaken helps participants of exposure visit visualise the success better.

Emphasizing what can be seen

In many such exposure visits, the key resource person (which in my experience, are mostly men), tells us about the interventions that were done as part of the watershed works based on certain inputs and how that has enabled the village to overcome scarcity, improve groundwater levels etc. These again form part of ‘what can be seen’- the technical artefacts of water management. Without highlighting or going into how land distribution is spread across the village, which castes have come to dominate certain ‘water areas’, lands with good soil depth etc, we focus on the nitty gritty of such structures. Emphasizing such a structural/interventional approach wherein land plays a key role leads to further invisibility of marginalised communities who may be landless. Where should a structure be constructed may be a scientific as well as a political question. But with ‘scientific rigour’ we tend to overlook the politics of water (Politics with a lower case p) and put our eyes and mind to the numerous structures out there to see.

Seeing is a culturally and theoretically laden practice (see this for reference). Why a certain structure and its design is in a certain place does not come common sensically or instinctively to everyone but has to be inculcated as part of a training, education and experience.

Where do we sit? And with whom?

Many a times, when the visit turns towards discussion and a question- answer mode, we go into a Gram Panchayat (local council) office or a watershed committee office or as is the case sometimes, in temples. It is assumed that these are inclusive spaces, spaces that are accessible to all in the community and so makes an ideal place for such conversations. A lot of times (mostly), these are in the main habitation and hence may be at a distance for many hamlets, tanda, vasti, pada who may find it difficult (for want of time, ease of access) to come for such meetings and sit with us. I often see participation from a certain group (a given set of individuals, which again, in many cases, are men) who no doubt discuss matters pertaining to all communities in the village but may underplay the politics of water.

For example, whenever a scheme comes into a village (say an RO plant, water supply scheme etc), the main habitation often gets prioritised. This is not the say that others may not benefit from the scheme, but when it comes to prioritising scheme implementation, the order often begins with this habitation. Thus, it may enable to paint a ‘rosy’ picture about the benefits received, the beneficiaries etc, but may miss out on the questions of equity and accessibility of water.

So, the next time you are out there, do question yourself, are you really sitting in an inclusive space?

Travelling ‘knowledge’

Once we understand the successes of such a model village and the institutional arrangements for the same, we intend to pick and choose the elements of these success that can be mobilised and implemented in other areas, villages and regions (recent example of this is the Atal Jal Yojana). We may, as well, succeed in understanding how a cement check dam works and may even construct it in some other place but can we create a similar story in other areas. We have seen that such models have often found places in policies and programmes that tend to pick and choose on the specific aspects of those success and tend to ‘scale up’ in other areas. However, we miss on certain key facets that I believe we need to think and ask more about:

  • What are the specific socio-cultural, political and economic context within which the water problem village functioned and enabled it to ‘succeed’?
  • Did we truly deconstruct the notion of community in such stories? 
  • What were the challenges that were faced by the ‘model village’ in the process to transform it? are these challenges contextual or can we learn from them so we are better prepared to engage with them in other places? 
  • What has been the role of ‘expertise’ in making this transformation possible? Can such an expertise be mobilised? 

‘See for yourself’? 

The idea of the exposure visit is to ‘see for yourself’. But do they really serve this purpose? Most exposure visits are often guided by some government official, NGO official, Key Resource Person (who is often from the area/village). They are trained, not consciously but through practice, to deliver, share and dialogue with the participants of the exposure visits. They often set the tone of the discussions, prioritise certain questions over others. It is not because they are avoiding certain uncomfortable discussion. 

As participants of exposure visit, we tend to paint a picture about the village or area and build certain expectations of what we will see there (pre and post stories, actual technical artefacts etc.). This enables us to construct our questions. Similarly, the people from the village who engage with these participants have a certain understanding about why they are here. Hence, in the process, they emphasize certain facets of the programme, project, success story over others. As a result, the overall effort shifts away from ‘see for yourself’ to ‘see for yourself what is shown’.

Epilogue

Geologists often use the term exposure to point to certain rock cuts/sub surface elements that are exposed on the surface. Using these as references and making observations about underlying subsurface are an important part of any geological mapping process. However, a geologist undergoes training and education to study and analyse such exposures, which forms the basis of what has to be observed, how it has to be observed and making inferences about what it entails for local geology. Does this remind you about an earlier statement- seeing as a culturally, theoretically laden practice (see this, if interested).

If you have had the patience to read till this point, here is an unsolicited advice. While organisers and planners of such exposure visits make meticulous plans, I think participants be better prepared for reading such exposure visits and to make the most out of such interesting interactions. Only with a conscious and interested participant can we move away from staging exposure visits to engaging exposure visits. 

Of dug-wells and bore-wells

Dug-wells and Bore-wells form important groundwater sources in the hard rock regions of Maharashtra. According to latest minor irrigation census, there are about 25 lakh such sources for irrigation alone. Add to it about 5-6 lakh sources for drinking water needs, the number is well above 3 million sources in rural areas. There are about 28000 Gram Panchayats in the state. So this puts about 107 groundwater sources in each village. Ofcourse let us not allow averages to fool us. This development has been very inconsistent across the state and hence you see villages with about 1000s of these sources while some villages like those in the rustic and rough terrain of Western Ghats, the dense forested areas of Gadchiroli, Gondia and Nandurbar barely have a few of such sources.

चारीमेरा

The reason that prompted me to write this blog post is the book that I am currently reading. It is titled Charimera, which is a marathi novel written by Sadanand Deshmukh. He was winner of Sahitya Academy Award for his 2004 book called Baromas. Coming from the little represented (in Marathi literature ecosystem) Vibardha region of the state, he brings in a lot of regional context and cultural settings that have shaped the current socio-economic situation in this part of the state. Vidarbha has been constantly in the news of farmer suicides in the region. It has seen one of the highest rate of farmer suicides. This complex but important question is rarely dealt with in Marathi literature and Sadanand Deshmukh through his work, attempts to shed light on some aspects of this problem.

The book starts with a story of a farmer called Udeybhan who is under stress (in the beginning of the story) since his dug-well has reasonably dried up and he has to irrigate his onion crop which would otherwise fail. Given this situation, he plans to drill a bore-well in his farm. That is how the story sets up and immerses the reader in the regional context staring blank at the groundwater and agricultural crisis leading to vulnerable livelihoods.

The story also refers to many events and experiences like how the dug-well used to have a lot of water to pump many years ago, why the adjoining farmer has lot of water for his bore-well but Udeybhan’s bore-well failed to yield water and how banks are unable to provide any more loans and hence he borrows money from a money lender etc. In many ways, this story is representative of what is happening across most of Maharashtra. With dug-wells yielding less water, more and more farmers tend to take bore-wells.

A hydrogeologist will tell you that the dug-well taps a shallow or unconfined aquifer while the bore-well taps a deeper, confined aquifer. That we may yield more water in shallow aquifers than in deeper aquifers. He/She will also tell you how water quality may deteriorate as we go deeper and deeper in search of water. However, there are many other aspects of what attributes and frames do these two distinct groundwater sources shape and inform us about. I am trying to highlight this based on my interactions and understanding about the same.

Traditional vs Modern

One of the oldest dug well recently excavated by the team of archaeologist in Osmanabad suggest the use of these sources of water since ancient times. The said well in Ter in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra is a small diameter, shallow dug-well from the Satvahana period (230 BC to 200 AD) that may have been used for domestic water needs and for conserving groundwater. The traditional nature of dug-wells mean that they have a long history of use, development and eventual deterioration.

With the socio-cultural changes over the years, we have seen a change in groundwater use and the approaches to access this invisible resource. A issue of Bhavatal Magazine in 2018 actually looks at the different types of traditional groundwater sources like Barav, Aad, Vihir etc.

Buy Bhavatal Diwali Ank 2018 book by online at low price | Cart91

The book Charimera refers to a past reference when Udeybhan’s dug-well used to yield a lot of water. So much so that sugarcane cultivation was not at all a problem. However over the years the dug-well seemed to have stopped responding to the needs of its owner. One straight claim made by Udeybhan’s colleague is that ever since a bore-well was drilled in the adjoining land the dug-well has stopped yielding water as it used to.

A bore-well in Osmanabad

Bore-wells are modern. They have a history of about 2-3 decades and unlike dug-wells which are large diameter, shallow, bore wells on the other had are small diameter and deeper. The story of introduction of bore-wells in Maharashtra is interesting. The first bore-well rig was brought in early 1970s with help from international organisations like UNICEF to ensure drinking water security across the country. About 330 such drilling rigs worth 33 million dollars were brought into the country. It was only a matter of time that the technology which was brought in to address public water supply issues transformed the groundwater access scenario in the country. What has then ensued is an intense competition of frantic drilling and proliferation of bore-wells across the state. Bore-wells by their very nature (less yield, small scope of irrigation) seem to be more individualistic that dug-wells.

It’s fast and cheaper!

When Udeybhan plans to drill his bore-well he is first grappled with the question of location. Traditionally, there have been people in different communities often called Panadya who would suggest a location for taking up any groundwater source. They use traditional (scientific?) methods of identifying a nas (vein) in the ground that shall yield sufficient quantity of water. However in Udeybhan’s case, he is again led by his farm help who guides his to a certain tree and suggests a location looking at the perennial green foliage of the tree. Thus the location is finalised.

To his unfortunate luck, the first location where bore-well is drilled fails. The description is quite gripping as Sadanand Deshmukh takes us to the location by setting the context of ‘nerve wrecking sound’, ‘the land starting shouting and crying dangerously’, ‘drilling a hole into Mother Earth’ and such phrases to put us into that scene. As people start murmuring about Udeybhan’s bad luck, his wife Bhavanatai comes forward and gives her ornaments to take a loan and drilled at another location. This instantaneous action surprises Udeybhan, but he submits. Bystanders too support this action and lost in all the sounds of confusion, gossip, murmur and utter helplessness Udeybhan makes a rapid decision to drill at another location in his farm. Alas, that one fails too. Now Udeybhan and Bhawanatai stare at a loan, gold ornaments that are mortgaged, a failing onion crop and lack of immediate future.

When the first bore-well is drilled and it fails, Udeybhan’s farm help suggest to construct a dug-well around that place since at shallower depths there was a flow of water that emerged and then subsided as the bore drilled deeper. This suggestion was immediately discarded since it will take at least 2 months time to construct a dug-well and in any which ways it shall not go beyond 60-70 feet. Secondly, it shall be at least 3 to 5 times more costly than a bore-well.

This brings us to an important question when it comes to planning, opportunity and cost. Dug-wells mean advanced planning, they mean meticulous arrangement of funds and it is not ‘seizing an opportune moment’ but actually creating one opportunity. Bore-wells on the other hand can be quite instinctive, urgent or immediate. A bore-well can be set up within a day’s time while dug-wells may need at least one or two months time to be completed set up for use. This means, given a situation of a farmer staring at crop failure, he or she may go for a bore-well than a dug-well. It is cheap, takes less time (and less space too) and can be conveniently drilled, to quote Shakira, whenever, wherever. Dug-wells are no game for such whims and fancies.

Seeing is believing

Unlike dug-wells in whom water can be seen by bare eyes, a simple glance in that pit, bore-wells have a different story. Bore-well water cannot be seen, but can only be felt (by dropping a stone and hearing a noice, or using an electric tape etc.). This brings us to another question of seeing is believing. Dug-wells can be like trustworthy friends, who may not be able to help you all the time, but are there to be seen, to be around, someone you can count on. Bore-wells on the other hand are like those long lost friends, who may come to your help (to your surprise) or may not turn around and this should not surprise you!

There are a few descriptions in Charimera when Udeybhan looks into his dug-well and can only see darkness and a cavity that reminds you of a past that may have been quite interesting. This has a very humane and spiritual connotation, like that phrase looking into one’s owe self and see the darkness within. May be this is one of the reason why dug-wells have long been associated with horrors of the past. They are a gateway of reminiscence of a past long gone, but only comes back to us in the present to haunt us. A Marathi movie that came in about few years back title Vihir (dug-well) was one such attempt to link the philosophical aspects of dug-wells existence. Dug-wells, in one sense, give visibility or a sense of existence to groundwater that is quite invisible and hidden in its nature. They help bring groundwater into the realm of consciousness, if one may say so!

Vihir - Wikipedia

Bore-wells, a relatively recent phenomena are on the other hand quite opposite. They help keep groundwater invisible, are entities that cannot be trusted. This is somehow also reflected in the fact that many farmers with farm ponds prefer to pump out bore-well water into these ponds as the water transcends from deep seated aquifers to surface structures. There are regular news articles and media coverage of events about little children falling into these bore-wells and being trapped, with a huge operation involving multiple agencies attempting to retrieve them! News articles have termed them as ‘Killer‘ for this reason.

In Charimera, the author in a very subtle way makes a comment on the tight and often inseparable connection between land rights and groundwater. This aptly comes out through a reference to recent past when Udeybhan sold a piece of his farm land to an influential farmer/person in their village referred to as ‘KD’. When Udeybhan sold his farm, KD immediately drilled a bore-well in that farm and was able to yield good amount of water, which as per Udeybhan and his farm help was enough to make their old dug-well dry and helpless. There is no way to address this challenge and arriving at collective choices when it comes to groundwater management. Bore-wells, if one has to give an analogy of physchology, are subconscious entities, those who are present but not explicit, something, some being whose presence cannot be denied but also difficult be described!

As we go forward into the future, the deeds of the past and present shall come back to haunt us just as this apt description of what can a ‘dug-well’ mean on the back cover of a book from another Marathi novel called Danshkal by Hrushikesh Gupte (the book is too gripping, by the way). A simple translation (in my capacity) is: ‘There is darkness in the well. If you glance into it, you may feel dizzy. There can be anything in that darkness. Anything means anything. But what that anything is, cannot be understood unless one gets down into the well.’ The author then goes on to tell how well has all the answers, to questions that one may come across, and even to those which one won’t!

Disclaimer: This post contents reference to narrative from the book Charimera by Sadanand Deshmukh. So, I want to thank him and for his book to have enabled to express myself and my thoughts on this.

जल व्यवस्थापनासाठी पाऊस माहित नाही? काळजी नको- आपल्या शिवारातील विहिरींकडे बघा

गेल्या दशकभरात किंवा त्याहून अधिक काळ महाराष्ट्रामध्ये अनेक समस्या पुढे आल्या आहेत. शेती आणि पाणी यांच्या दृष्टीने महत्वाच्या अश्या दुष्काळाची वारंवारता आणि पावसाची अनियमितता आता धोक्याची ठरू लागली आहे. साहजिकच अनेकांचा कल हा भूजलाचा वाढता उपसा याकडे आहे. त्यामुळे आपल्याला महाराष्ट्रातील अनेक खेड्यांमध्ये एका आंधळ्या शर्यतीचा खेळ उलगडतांना दिसतोय. प्रत्येक जण, ज्याच्याकडे जमीन आहे तो/ती आपल्या शेतामध्ये नवीन विहिरी घेत आहे, नवीन बोअरवेल घेत आहे आणि इतकेच नाही तर अधिक खोलवर जाण्याची तयारी  त्यांची आहे. शेतीसाठी पाण्याची निश्चितता व्हावी त्यामुळे हा सगळं खटाटोप सुरु आहे.

एकाच पेल्यात अनेक straw टाकले आहेत. लक्षात घ्या पेला तितकाच आहे, फक्त straw वाढलेत (स्रोत-विकी कॉमन्स)

पण याच्या अनेक दुष्परिणामांपैकी एक म्हणजे गावाच्या जल सुरक्षिततेवर होणार परिणाम. जेव्हा अनेक स्रोत निर्माण होतात, तेव्हा जमिनीतील पाणी वाढत नसून असलेल्या पाण्याची मागणी आणि वाटणी फक्त वाढते. आपल्या दैनंदिन जीवनातील उदाहरण घ्यायचे तर कोल्ड-ड्रिंक च्या बाटलीचे घेऊया. होते काय तर त्यामध्ये अनेक लोकं आपापला स्ट्रॉव (straw) टाकतात आणि आपापल्या क्षमतेनुसार (किंवा कधीकधी गरजेनुसार) त्यातील पेय शोषून घेऊन ते पितात. आपल्या जमिनीखाली असलेल्या भूजलधारकांमध्ये देखील असेच काहीसे होते. त्यातील पाणी त्या वर्षासाठी मर्यादित असते आणि त्यामध्ये अनेकजण आपल्या विहिरी, बोअरवेल यांच्या माध्यमातून पाणी काढून घेण्याचा प्रयत्न करत असतात. जमिनीखालील हे गूढ क्वचितच कोणाला उलगडते म्हणून त्याला आंधळी शर्यत म्हंटलं आहे. फक्त या खेळामध्ये प्रत्येकाने डोळ्यांवर पट्टी बांधलेली असते आणि प्रत्येकाचा प्रयत्न पाण्यापर्यंत पोहोचण्याचा असतो.

यातून बाहेर पडायचे असेल तर सर्वप्रथम आपल्याला आपल्या गावातील भूजलाची स्थिती जाणून घेणे गरजेचे आहे. तसेच आपल्या गावातील पेयजलाची गरज, पिकं-पद्धती, पाण्याची इतर गरजांसाठी मागणी ही देखील निश्चित करून घेणे गरजेचे आहे. त्याआधारावर मग भूजल व्यवस्थापनाची घडी बसवून घ्यावी लागेल. नाहीतर तुषार शाह (भूजलाचा अभ्यास करणारे एक ख्यातनाम अर्थशास्त्रज्ञ) यांनी म्हंटल्याप्रमाणे ही अराजकता भूजलाचा सर्वंकष समाचार घेऊनच थांबेल आणि म्हणून ही दिशा बदलून एका सकारात्मक परिस्थितीकडे न्यावे लागेल.


भूजल व्यवस्थापन करायचे आहे, पण पावसाची माहिती नाही मग कसे करायचे?

भूजल व्यवस्थापनासाठी एक महत्वाची बाब म्हणजे पावसाची माहिती. आपल्या शिवारात, पाणलोट क्षेत्रात पडलेल्या पावसापैकी काही टक्के पाऊस हा आपल्या भूगर्भामध्ये मुरतो. आपल्याला तो भूजलधारकांमध्ये आढळतो आणि त्याचा वापर भूजल म्हणून आपण करतो. त्यामुळे अनेकदा असा प्रश्न समोर येतो की आपल्या गावातील पाऊस माहित नसेल तर भूजलाची माहिती कशी होणार? पाण्याचा ताळेबंद कसा मांडणार? आणि पावसाच्या माहितीच्या अभावाने प्रक्रिया सुरु होण्याआधीच अनेकदा थांबते!

800px-Rain_Gauge_-_Kolkata_2012-01-23_8706
पर्जन्यमापक यंत्र (स्रोत: विकी कॉमन्स)

अर्थात गावाच्या पातळीवर पाऊस मोजणे तसे काही कठीण नाहीए. एखादे पर्जन्यमापक गावामध्ये बसवले की आपल्याला पाऊस मोजता येतो. पर्जन्यमापक एक असे यंत्र असते की ज्यामध्ये आपल्याला आपल्या शिवारात पडलेला पाऊस मिलीमीटर (मिमी) मध्ये मोजता येतो. पण हे पर्जन्यमापक बसवणार कोण? प्रत्येक गावामध्ये एक पर्जन्यमापक असायला काहीच अडचण नाही, पण तसे काही धोरण अजून कोणत्याही शासनाने आखलेले नाही. त्यामुळे आजच्या घडीला महाराष्ट्र शासनाच्या कृषी खात्याची पर्जन्य माहिती ही सर्कल (कृषी सर्कल- ८-१० गावांचा समूह) या पातळीवरच उपलब्ध आहे. त्याची माहिती इथे मिळेल. असे म्हणतात की पाऊस गावा-गावात बदलतो, इतकेच काय तर एखाद्या गावाच्या शिवारात देखील हा बदल आढळतो. असे असतांना स्थानिक पातळीवर पावसाची नोंद नसेल तर त्याचा कितपत उपयोग आहे हा चर्चेचा विषय आहे.

आजच्या आपल्या प्रदेशामध्ये पावसाची अनियमितता आणि बदलता स्वभाव बघितला की असे समजते की कदाचित पावसाच्या आधारावर पाण्याचा ताळेबंद मांडणे किंवा त्याआधारावर पुढील वर्षाचे नियोजन करणे धोक्याचे ठरू शकेल कारण:

  • पाऊस बदलला आहे. आधी समजा ५० पावसाचे दिवस (एक पावसाचा दिवस म्हणजे त्या दिवसभरात २.५ मिमी पेक्षा जास्त पाऊस झाला आहे) असायचे पण आज ते दिवस ३० ते ५० टक्क्याने कमी झालेले आपल्याला पाहायला मिळतात. याचा परिणाम नक्कीच भूजल पुनर्भरण आणि पाणलोटातील जल संवर्धणवर होऊ शकतो.
  • अनेकदा पावसाच्या आधारावर पाण्याचे नियोजन करतांना आपण सरासरी त्या वर्षाचा पाऊस गृहीत धरतो पण हा पाऊस कसा पडलाय हे तितकेच महत्वाचे आहे. उदा. उस्मानाबाद जिल्ह्यातील सरासरी पाऊस ५०० मिमी असेल पण तो जर जुन आणि जुलै या दोनच माहित्यात बहुतांशी पडल्यास भूजल पुनर्भरच्या दृष्टीने तो कितपत उपयुक्त ठरेल? हा महत्वाचा प्रश्न आहे.
  • सरासरी पावसाच्या गणितामध्ये आपण फसू शकतो. त्यापेक्षा पाण्याच्या परिस्थितीचे जास्त अचूक प्रतिनिधित्व ही भूजलाची पातळी करू शकेल. अर्थात ती प्रक्रिया नीट करावी लागेल तरच त्याचा उपयोग आपण पाण्याचा ताळेबंद आणि नियोजनात करू शकू.

गावपातळीवर पावसाची माहिती नसल्यास भूजलाचे आणि एकूणच गावातील पाण्याचे नियोजन आम्ही करायचे तरी कसे? इथे आपल्याला आपल्या गावामधील शिवारातील विहिरींचा उपयोग करून घेता येईल. पुढे समजून घेऊया.


पावसाची माहिती नाही? हरकत नाही, आपल्या विहिरींकडे बघा!

20140802_140506
बऱ्याच गावांमध्ये विहिरी ह्या परंपरागत चालत आलेल्या पाण्याचे स्रोत आहेत

दोन वर्षांमधील पाण्याच्या पातळीच्या आधारावर आपल्याला आपल्या गावातील पाणी उपलब्धतेचा आढावा घेता येऊ शकतो. समजा आपल्या गावामध्ये रामभाऊ यांची एक विहीर आहे. ही विहीर ते शेतीसाठी वापरतात, प्रामुख्याने रब्बी हंगामामध्ये.  तर २०१८ च्या ऑक्टोबर मध्ये रामभाऊ यांच्या विहिरीतील पाणी पातळी ही जमिनीपासून ३ मीटर खाली होती तर हीच पातळी ऑक्टोबर २०१९ मध्ये १.५ मीटर होती. याचाच अर्थ हा की २०१८ च्या तुलनेत २०१९ मध्ये भूजलाचे पुनर्भरण जास्त चांगले झाले आहे असे म्हणता येईल. आपण असे यासाठी म्हणू शकतो कारण दोन वर्षांमध्ये बाकी काहीच बदलले नाही म्हणजेच विहीर बदलली नाही, जमिनीखालील खडक बदलले नाही, विहिरीचा व्यास, त्याची खोली बदलली नाही, तसेच विहिरींची जागा देखील बदलली नाही! याचाच अर्थ बदलली फक्त एकाच गोष्ट- पडलेला पाऊस आणि मुरलेले पाणी! त्यामुळे विहिरिंचा वापर करून आपण आपल्या गावामधील पाणी व्यवस्थापनाची सुरुवात करू शकतो.

पण मग दोन महत्वाचे प्रश्न उपस्थित होतात पुढीलप्रमाचे: रामभाऊ यांची एकट्याची विहीर सर्व पाणलोटाचे प्रतिनिधित्वकरू शकते का? तसेच एकाच विहिरीच्या निरीक्षणाच्या आधारावर इतके मोठे अनुमान (की भूजल पुनर्भरण वाढले किंवा असे इतर) आपण लावू शकतो का?

तर वरील दोन प्रश्नांचे उत्तर हे नाही आहे. पण निराश होण्याचे कारण नाही कारण या दोन्ही प्रश्नांसाठी आपण आपल्या पातळीवर उत्तर मिळवू शकतो. कसे ते बघूया.

१. पाणी पातळी मोजणीसाठी पाणलोटातील प्रत्येक भागामधील विहिरींची निवड करावी. त्यासाठी पुढील दोन सूत्र/ फॉर्मुला आपण वापरू शकतो-

अ. गावामधील एकूण विहिरींपैकी १० टक्के विहिरींची निवड करावी. म्हणजेच गावामध्ये २०० विहिरी असतील तर सुमारे २० विहिरी निवडाव्या. फक्त या विहिरी निवडतांना इतकीच काळजी घ्यायची की या विहिरी गावातील/पाणलोटातील विविध भागांमधील असतील जेणेकरून त्याप्रकारे पाणलोटाचे अचूक असे प्रतिनिधित्व होईल.

ब. दुसरी एक पद्धत म्हणजे प्रति चौरस किलोमीटर क्षेत्रात दोन ते तीन विहिरी निवडाव्या. एक चौरस किलोमीटर म्हणजेच १०० हेक्टर क्षेत्रफळ झाले. तर प्रति ३०-५० हेक्टर मध्ये १ विहीर अश्याप्रकारे विहिरी निवडा. उदाहरण- एका गावाचे क्षेत्रफळ ८०० हेक्टर आहे तर त्या गावामध्ये १६ ते २० विहिरी पाणी पातळी मोजणीसाठी ठरवून घ्याव्या.

यामध्ये काही प्रश्न पुढे येतात. अनेकदा आपण बघतो की गावाच्या एका ठराविक भागामध्ये जास्त विहिरी आहे तर पाणलोटाच्या वरच्या भागामध्ये किंवा खडकाळ भागामध्ये जिथे जास्त शेती होत नाही तिथे कमी विहिरी आहेत. तर अश्यावेळी आपण स्थानिकांशी चर्चा करून जास्त विहिरी असलेल्या भागामधील विहिरी थोड्या जास्त प्रमाणात निवडा. पण हे लक्षात ठेवावे की पाणलोट क्षेत्राच्या इतर भागातील विहिरी देखील मोजणीसाठी घ्याव्या.

तसेच विहिरी निवडतांना आपल्याला सर्व प्रकारच्या विहिरी निवडता येतील ही काळजी घ्यावी. सिंचनाच्या विहिरी, पिण्याच्या पाण्याची विहीर, सार्वजनिक विहीर, वापरात नसलेल्या विहिरी देखील मोजणीसाठी घ्याव्या.

२. निवडलेल्या सर्व विहिरींमधील पाणी पातळी मोजून त्याची सरासरी घ्यावी. म्हणजेच फक्त रामभाऊ यांची विहीर न घेता अश्या २० विहिरींमधील पाणी पातळीमध्ये दोन वर्षांमध्ये काय बदल झालाय या आधारावर आपल्याला तिथल्या भूजलाचे अनुमान जास्त अचूकपणे मांडता येईल.

a
दोन वर्षांमधील सरासरी पाणी पातळीतील बदलाच्या आधारावर आपल्याला अचूक जल नियोजन करता येऊ शकेल

विहिरीच का?

१. विहिरींचा वापर शेतीसाठी, पिण्याच्या पाण्यासाठी केला जातो. अनेक गावांमध्ये पाण्याचा मुख्य स्रोत विहिरी असतात त्यामुळे त्या योग्य ठरतात.

२. आपल्याला भूजलधारक दिसत नाही. पण विहिरींच्या माध्यमातून भूजलधारक आपल्याशी ‘बोलतात’ असे म्हणायला हरकत नाही. त्यांच्यातील पाण्याच्या चढ-उतारावरून आपण भूजलधारकाच्या स्थितीचा आढावा घेणे शक्य होते.

३. पाणलोक क्षेत्रातील वेगवेगळ्या भागामध्ये विहिरी पसरलेल्या असतात. त्यामुळे त्या पाणलोटाचे उचित प्रतिनिधित्व करतात.

४. सगळ्यात महत्वाचे म्हणजे विहिरींमधील पाणी पातळी मोजणे काहीच कठीण नसते. एका मीटर टेपचा वापर करून आपण हे सध्या करू शकतो. तसेच पाणी दिसत असल्यामुळे हे काम अजून सोप्पे होते.

५. पाऊस कितीही आणि कसाही पडला तरी शेवटी त्याचे भूजल पुनर्भरणामध्ये किती रूपांतर झाले हे आपल्या दृष्टीने महत्वाचे आहे. आणि भूजल पुनर्भरण मोजायचे एक सोपे स्वरूप म्हणजेच विहिरींमधील पाण्याची पातळी!


सामूहिक निर्णयांची गरज

आज प्रत्येक शेतकरी आपल्या विहिरीकडे बघूनच पिक-पाण्याचे नियोजन करतो. फक्त होतं असं की तो शेतकरी फक्त आपल्याच विहिरीकडे बघतो. जमिनीखालील भूजलधारक हा अनेक विहिरींना सामायिक असल्यामुळे आपल्याला फक्त एका विहिरीकडे बघून नियोजन करणे अपूर्ण ठरेल. त्यामुळे इथे सामूहिक निर्णयांची आणि कृतीची गरज भासते. अनेक सामूहिक संसाधनांप्रमाणेच भूजल देखील सर्वांचे आहे कारण भूजलधारक कोणत्याही सात-बाराच्या, जमिनीच्या, गावांच्या, सामाजिक समूहांच्या सीमांनी बांधलेला नसून त्याला आपले एक नैसर्गिक स्वरूप आहे, स्थान आहे. त्यामुळे आपल्याला भूजलाचे नियोजन आणि व्यवस्थापन करायचे असेल तर आपल्याला सर्वांना एकत्र घेऊन ते करावे लागेल नाहीतर अराजकता माजायला वेळ लागणार नाही. काही उदाहरणांनी समजून घेऊया.

एखाद्या गावाच्या शिवारात जर कोणत्यातरी शासकीय किंवा अशासकीय संस्थेच्या माध्यमातून जर एक माती बांध किंवा सिमेंट बांध नाल्यामध्ये बांधण्यात आला तर ठराविकच शेतकऱ्यांच्या विहिरीला त्याचा फायदा होणार नसून त्या बंधाऱ्याच्या प्रभाव क्षेत्रातील सर्व विहिरींना तो फायदा होईल. मग विहिरी लहान शेतकऱ्याची असेल, मोठ्या शेतकऱ्याची असेल किंवा वेग-वेगळ्या जातीधर्माच्या शेतकऱ्यांची असू शकेल. ही नैसर्गिक आणि जल शास्त्रीय बाब आपल्याला समजून घ्यावी लागेल.

तसेच, आपल्या विहिरीकडे बघून एखाद्या शेतकऱ्याने आपल्या सर्व शेतामध्ये गहू घ्यायचा ठरवलं तर त्याचा परिणाम आजूबाजूच्या शेतकऱ्यांवर देखील होईल. मग बाजूच्या शेतकऱ्याचे कदाचित हरभरा जरी लावला असेल तर त्याच्या सिंचनाइतके देखील पाणी त्याच्या विहिरीत राहणार नाही. म्हणून आपल्या विहिरीकडे फक्त बघून उपसा केला तर आपण तर फायद्यात येऊ पण गाव म्हणून, गावातील भावकी म्हणून आपण सर्व अडचणीत येऊ.

वरील उदाहरणांमधून आपल्याला हेच कळतं की जेव्हा आपण पाणलोटाच्या पातळीवर, गावाच्या पातळीवर जल नियोजन करायचे ठरवतो तेव्हा सर्वांचा सहभाग आणि सहकार असणे महत्वाचे आहे. फक्त सहभाग असून चालणार नाही तर निर्णयांमध्ये आणि त्यातून उमगणाऱ्या कृतीमध्ये सहकार असणे तितकेच गरजेचे ठरेल. असे म्हणायचे (आणि आजदेखील म्हणतात) की शेतकऱ्याचा डोळा लागला असतो आकाशाकडे, कधी पाऊस पडेल म्हणून. पण शाश्वत जल व्यवस्थापनाच्या दिशेत जायचे असेल तर आज त्याला खाली, आपल्या विहिरीत बघावे लागेल. जमिनीतील या अलौकिक आणि गुप्त अश्या संसाधनाचे व्यवस्थापन करणे हे अश्या सर्व शेतकऱ्यांच्याच सामूहिक दृष्टीमध्ये दडलेले आहे.

आभार: ACWADAM मधील माझ्या सर्व सहकाऱ्यांचे ज्यांच्याकडून हे शिकायची संधी मिळाली तसेच अनेक ग्रामस्थ ज्यांनी हे समजून घेण्याचा प्रयत्न केला आणि ते समजावण्यासाठी मला संमती दिली.