|Efficiency and Equity In Groundwater Use And Management - Workshop Report 3 (IRMA, 1989)|
In this review, we have attempted to present informed opinions, findings and arguments of a number of researchers and practitioners in the field of groundwater development on many issues of importance in the management of this precious resource. These issues cut across geographical boundaries and institutional alternatives. In this concluding section, we list the issues and questions the Workshop considered important for inclusion in the agenda for future research on the subject.
Eastern Gangetic Region
(i) Hydrological/topographic mapping to differentiate zones with high immediate potential for groundwater development from those requiring other measures especially drainage before groundwater can be easily exploited;(ii) Impact of land fragmentation on investment in modern WEMs and on the development of groundwater markets; a closely related issue to be examined is: why consolidation did not succeed in this region especially outside Uttar Pradesh ? (iii) Potential for working with alternative institutional arrangements for equitable appropriation of groundwater (including landless irrigation groups; and regulated contracting/franchising for natural monopoly situation) and re-examination of the assumptions that state control and/or co-operative water user associations were essential or best suited for irrigation management;(iv) Political economy of irrigation development in the region; the causes of greater emphasis placed in the region on investment in canal irrigation system (v) the political economy of rural electrification and electricity supply; concurrent efforts to improve energy supply through better management of available electricity, reduction in diesel cost, improvement of pump installation, maintenance and repairs.
North Western Region
(i) Identification of constraints on increasing the withdrawal of groundwater from head reach of canal; political economy of canal water pricing; developing price parity between canal water and groundwater (ii) Developing models to incorporate drainage as a part of irrigation project (iii) Developing suitable technical and institutional arrangements for managing fresh water aquifers interspersed with saline/brackish water; (iv) Developing alternative mechanisms, other than spacing norms, to control over-exploitation of groundwater by private tubewells including rationing and pricing of electricity supply; potential for enforcing spacing norms without adverse equity effects.
(i) Developing suitable methods to improve the accuracy of the assessments of groundwater potential including through use of remote sensing; (ii) Assessing the impact of output price on cropping pattern; to what extent can suitable output price policy encourage water saving crops; (iii) Re-examination of land ceiling policy particularly in areas irrigated with groundwater;(iv) Examination of groundwater markets; under what conditions would well owners want to share well water with others either for money or a share in the crop production ?(v) Devising experiments to develop cost effective technical and institutional innovations to augment groundwater; promoting canal irrigation and encouraging conjunctive use of ground and surface water; (vi) Encouraging groundwater conservation through workable institutional arrangements that coordinate the water use by farmers drawing water from the same depleting aquifer; the re-examination of the policy regarding the issue of power connections and electricity pricing.
(a) Public Tubewells : (i) A large comprehensive sample study of public tubewells covering all aspectsefficiency, economic viability, equity and the problems of management of public tubewells (ii) Alternatives to public tubewells.
(b) Community Tubewells : (i) Firm theoretical and empirical framework to analyse conditions under which groundwater users' associations succeed; (ii) Identification of difficulties in providing explicit water rights to landless people in Pani Panchayat and similar other experiments; (iii) Factors affecting the economic viability of community and co-operative tubewells;(iv) Need to explore alternative institutional arrangements for providing technical, managerial and operational support to co-operative/community water users' association on one hand and to the agencies involved in promoting water users' association/co-operatives on the other.
(c) Groundwater Market : (i) What factors cause differential rates of water market development in different regions?; are there policies that can stimulate the growth of water markets in regions, such as the whole of the eastern belt, where they can generate massive equity and efficiency gains? (ii) How can water markets be made more efficient?; how can water and power use efficiencies be increased?; are there ways so that farmers in other states be induced to invest in underground pipeline networks as they do in parts of Gujarat? (iii) What are the costs imposed by various mechanisms to regulate over-exploitation of ground water resources in equity terms? (iv) What can be done to make power supply to agriculture more reliable and adequate? (v) Are the conceptual tools currently deployed to understand the working of water markets adequate?; what other models/frameworks can be used to improve our understanding of this institution?
(d) Legal Issues : (i) Assessment of the potential of legislatives measures to prevent over-exploitation of groundwater and assigning water rights to various categories of users and landless people. (ii) efficacy of legislative measures vis-a-vis other policy instrument (for example - electricity pricing, conjunctive use etc.) in preventing over-exploitation of groundwater.