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UK Activity Lead Organization 2: Liverpool John Moores University
The third India-UK Water Centre Grassroots Field Exposure Session (GFES), focussing on the management and supply of water resources in Central India was held in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh between the 25th and 27th February 2019. The event brought together a team of twenty four scientists, who were given the opportunity to gain a closer perspective of the management of water at ground level, its associated issues, as well as the current use, and need for scientific outputs by end users.
IUKWC Grassroots Field Exposure Sessions aim to support the collaboration between users and researchers, promoting the assimilation of local knowledge and users’ experiences into research design to develop ideas for future India-UK water research. GFES take the form of multi-day events designed to expose scientists to issues faced by water stakeholders at the ground level (for example, local municipal authorities, small and medium-sized enterprises, farmer associations) so as to understand the actual utility of scientific and policy outputs.
Water Resource Management and Supply in Central India
The development, including grassroots-level innovations, of adaptation measures to respond to the spatiotemporal variations in the demand for, and supply of water requires a more in-depth examination of the various hydrological fluxes and states at diverse spatial scales. Furthermore, the implementation of adaptation measures to improve the management of water resources needs more accurate information about the availability of surface and groundwater supplies, as well as a better understanding of the regional water balance, including groundwater recharge, and runoff variability. Water demand from multiple sectors are increasing and the challenge for policy makers and governmental institutions is to meet this growing demand in a sustainable manner and without adversely impacting the environment in the face of diminishing supplies due to climate change.
This GFES aimed to address:
- The role of energy, intensive paddy cultivation, chemical fertilisers/ in increased pressure / heavy deterioration of ground and surface water quantity and quality in the region;
- The impact of an increase in the exploitation and use of groundwater resources by different sectors, as seen by an increase in electric pumps, submersible and tube wells etc., on the regional water security;
- The impacts of extreme weather conditions, like droughts, short-term rain and flooding in fields on food production.
The team of scientists were tasked with fulfilling the specific objectives of the GFES, which were:
- To gain a better understanding of the grassroots-scale management, operations and use of water resources in the region;
- To understand the contribution of the Indira Sagar Dam to assuage water needs of the three sectors and understand the competing and interlinked nature of water demand between the food, water and energy sector;
- To examine how plausible scenarios of future climate and socioeconomic development will impact on the water resources supply and demand in Central India;
- To formulate research ideas for future joint India UK collaborative projects on the basis of end users’ requirements.
The event involved visits to three villages where three different projects are underway to improve land and water resources management through grass-roots initiatives with farmers. The group also visited the Indira Sagar Project, a multi-functional dam that provides irrigation to over 1200 km2 of land. Scientists met with the managers on the ground and visited the power generation and irrigation sites.