ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Community Participation in Effective Water Resource Management

A Comparative Study in Alwar, Rajasthan

The initiation of the growth process in the rural economy in India, which is predominantly agriculture-based, needs optimum allocation and careful management of scarce water resources for irrigation. Using primary data, the impact of a tripartite institutional framework—comprising a non-governmental organisation, the funding agency, and the people (forming a community-based organisation)—on rural sustainability is examined. Tobit analysis is used to evaluate the impact of participation on rural sustainability. The results establish that community participation is critical in enhancing rural sustainability in terms of managing indigenous water harvesting structures like johads.

In India, the primary sector, comprising agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, and fishing, is the mainstay of the rural economy. Growth in these activities is indispensable for maintaining rural livelihoods. The growth of agriculture depends mainly on the availability and judicious use of water resources, in addition to other inputs. A drastic increase in the demand for water—due to explosive population growth, industrialisation, urbanisation, water-intensive cropping patterns, poor managerial systems, and climate change—has depleted freshwater sources. The need to preserve and manage scarce, depleting water resources is now urgent.

Rural resources like land and water, and other natural resources, need to be developed and managed in a coordinated manner and used optimally for development to be sustainable (Chopra et al 1990). The management of forest wealth needs to improve and its coverage and productivity enhanced. Rural populations have some rights to common property resources; these must be used efficiently and distributed equitably among them. Social institutions like non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can help mitigate problems related to rural resources. Community participation, apart from the work of public and private agents, is an important ingredient of rural sustainable development (Finsterbusch et al 1998).

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Updated On : 30th Aug, 2019
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