Local responses to water resource degradation in India: Groundwater farmer innovations and the reversal of knowledge flows

Stephanie Buechler, Gayathri Devi Mekala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Water is becoming degraded at an increasingly rapid rate, demanding complex, dynamic strategies tailored to local contexts. This study focused on innovative strategies by farmers to reduce risk and increase incomes. The surface and groundwater they used for irrigation was becoming degraded because of inflows of largely untreated urban domestic sewage water and industrial effluent into the Musi River that runs through Hyderabad city, south India. Wastewater flowing into the river is channeled for irrigation in this drought-prone, semi-arid area with falling groundwater tables. Wastewater volumes have increased as more water is supplied to Hyderabad. Paddy farmers engaged in continuous innovation in agricultural and water management strategies in response to deteriorating irrigation water quality yet improved water availability. Findings point to the need for greater recognition and dissemination of local innovations and a reversal of knowledge flows entailing improved linkages between local populations, researchers, managers, development workers, and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-438
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Environment and Development
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Declining yields
  • Fodder grass
  • Groundwater
  • Hyderabad
  • India
  • Irrigation
  • Local innovation
  • Rice
  • Small farmers
  • Wastewater
  • Water management
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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