Over the years, water resources in India have witnessed quality deterioration, volumetric reduction, business risks, and worsening equity, social costs and ecological degradation. The current arrangements and principles of water management are reductionist. In other words, most of the initiatives involve one or two stakeholders, such as government and multilateral donors, or private sector and civil society. Seldom are initiatives inclusive of all stakeholders. The underlined institutional frameworks are fragmented and not synchronised, resulting in ineffective governance, mismanagement and wastage of water resources. In order to build a structure for water management, which can adhere to socio-economic realities, collective action is an imperative. Examples of collective action for water management do exist at the micro-watershed level in India, presenting opportunities for further learning. The principle problem, however, is the lack of such initiatives at basin and sub-basin levels.
Keeping the above in mind, the CEEW-2030 WRG study on Collective Action for Water Security and Sustainability: Preliminary Investigations asks
- How could successful interventions for water security be scaled up?
- Under what conditions do seemingly disparate groups, with conflicting interests, come together to resolve water problems?
- How could one-off motivations be sustained over time and across geographies?
Drawing on literature on collective action over the past five decades, the report develops an innovative framework, which applies ten factors for success to examine national and global cases: Gundar Basin in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems, Phagi Tehsil in Jaipur district, Neemrana in Alwar district, the Mara River Basin in Kenya and Tanzania, and the Clear Creek Watershed in Colorado. There are also shorter cases from Agra and Hiware Bazar in Maharashtra.
Read Report: Collective Action for Water Security and Sustainability: Preliminary Investigations