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Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention
About 60% of irrigation water for crop production and 80% drinking water in India is sourced from groundwater supplies. Basically, groundwater is a hidden resource and therefore it is not understood well in terms of the available volume and movement in a given area. Also, it being underground and its movement difficult to control, the groundwater use has been quite unregulated in India. This, alongwith easy availability of pumps, has led to the groundwater use in far excess of the annual recharge that happens during monsoon season. As result, the average depth to watertable in many parts of India has changed from 10 -15 m during 1960s to 30 – 40 m now and sometimes farmers are drilling tubewells to a depth of 100 m or more in search of water.
The future of agriculture and food security is very much linked to groundwater sustainability, and the challenges here are not only technical but they have important social, economic, institutional and policy elements. The critical research question we have is how to bring together the cross disciplinary aspects of the problem to achieve sustainable groundwater use while realising improved livelihood outcomes for village communities.