Associate Professor, University of Virginia
Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B)
Photo credit: Daniel Bachhuber | flickr
Access to groundwater for irrigation can improve agricultural productivity and may decrease rural poverty, but unrestricted access can lead to over-extraction and subsequent depletion of this critical resource. Providing farmers with information about the groundwater available in their local context can help them prevent crop failures and excessive water withdrawals. In Maharashtra, India, researchers aim to promote farmers’ sustainable use of groundwater by disseminating local hydrological models in an interactive format. Given that groundwater is a shared resource, the participatory and collective management of groundwater may facilitate cooperation among farmers and encourage more efficient water usage. Accordingly, researchers will also evaluate the role that state agricultural extension workers can play in encouraging community participation in managing groundwater.
In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, researchers will assess the impact of information provision, extension services, community participation, and collective action on groundwater conservation. In order to examine the impact of different strategies, researchers will randomly vary villages that receive the following:
Researchers will collect data on agricultural yield, input costs, groundwater applied as irrigation, crop mix, household income, and village water levels, in addition to levels of community participation.