Climate Change and Groundwater Governance in Gujarat, India: IWRM in Practice? by Tushaar Shah, IWMI and GWP Technical Committee
Climate Change and Groundwater Governance in Gujarat, India: IWRM in Practice?Tushaar Shah,IWMI and GWP-TEC
A decade of IWRM watching Gujarat 1990-2000 Gujarat 2000-2010Groundwater supplying 70% of irrigated Groundwater supplying 70% of irrigated area area 700,000 tubewells 11,50,000 tubewellsElectricity utility bankrupted by farm Electricity subsidy reduced to half power subsidies Aggregate groundwater withdrawals Aggregate groundwater withdrawals rising at ~15%/year stabilized Groundwater basket case of India The only Indian state where the groundwater regime is steadily improving Agricultural economy stagnant Agriculture growing at 9.6% year during 2000-2008Fluoride in groundwater a public health Problem recognized and feasible timebomb solutions sought
Figure 1 FRESH WATER AVAILABILITY IN GUJARATNorth Gujarat around 2000: BY REGIONA Groundwater Basket Case AVAILABILITY 2500 PER CAPITA 2000 1500 1000 500 0 at at at h a j ar ch htr jar jar ch Gu Gu Gu as Ka ur C rth Sa S& No REGION
Fluoride in drinking water:Threat of a crippled generation
Groundwater depletion and energy subsidies Dental andskeletal fluorosis Saline ingress
During 1986-88, Guru’s catalyzed a mass movement for groundwater recharge.400,000 open wells were recharge-enabled, with support from NGOs, cementindustry, Gujarati diamond merchants from Belgium.In 1998, the government piled on the bandwagon and supported farmers to buildmore than 300,000 check dams, percolation ponds, and renovated countlesswater bodies. Dudhara village in Saurashtra Gadh village in Banaskantha
In a normal monsoon, these helped to increase groundwater availability byabout 1 BCM—3% of Gujarat’s water resources. But this 3% made all the difference. December 1999 December 1989
Farm power subsidies were undoing the benefits of recharge movement• 2001: Electricity subsidy to tubewell owners US $ 750 million, 40% of the state’s budget;• Increased groundwater only led to increased pumping and power subsidy• Govt tried to cut losses by shutting off 3 phase power supply for 12 hours/day• Farmers began using phase-splitting devices to run pumps on 2-phase power, ruining the power supply to non-farm rural consumers.• The Chief Minister announced decision to meter tubewells and charge volumetric power tariff at subsidized rates for quality power.• Hundreds of thousands of farmers descended on the capital to oppose the metering decision.• A second-best solution that was politically feasible was adopted. Between 2003-2006, US $ 1250 million were invested in rewiring Gujarat’s countryside.
During 2003-2006, Govt. invested US $ 1250 million in separating 800,000 tubewells from other rural connections and imposed an 8 hour/day power ration but of top quality and full voltage. This: [a] halved the power subsidy; [b] stabilized groundwater draft; [c] improved power supply in rural economy, and [d] helped Gujarat achieve 9.6% growth rate in agriculture during 2000-2009.Figure 1 a Electricity Network Before Figure 1 b Electricity Network after
Mass-based recharge program and farm power reforms helped Gujarat to arrest secular decline in groundwater regime Monsoonal changes in GW Monsoonal changes in GW level: 2000 level: 2008
Dental and Skeletal Fluorosis-a Public Health Time Bomb: Conventional solution: stop groundwater use in agriculture Creative solutions being piloted are: [a] piped water supply from surface reservoirs;[b] Government-assisted private RO plant operators to supply fluoride- free water at subsidized rates[c] In remote tribal villages food fortification with calcium, magnasium and vitamin C.
Problem Best, ‘Proper’, total Second-best, doable, solution deBono style, lateral solutionsSustained depletion of Manage groundwater Mass-based groundwateraquifers demand by water and/or recharge; conjunctive power pricing management of GW & SWPower industry Meter tubewells and [a] non-supply; [b] reducebankrupted by farm charge consumption-linked supply; [b]Intelligentsubsidies power tariff rationing of power supplyFluoride as a public Bring the Groundwater [a] surface water supplyhealth timebomb regime back to pre- [b] private providers of development level RO water [c] food fortification
IWRM in PracticeIWRM thinking Successful problem-solvingIntegrated Problem Solving Silo problem solvingDemand-side solutions Supply side solutionsParticipatory process- Silver bullet, push-buttonintensive solutions solutionsIntegrate water agencies Integrate water in toand management roles larger socio-economic managementWater as a problem Poverty as the over-arching problem Thank You