January 26, 2003

2003: Highlight # 13

Mukherji and Shah present results from survey of 3350 irrigation wells in nearly 300 villages across five countries in South Asia on the scale and impact of groundwater irrigation...

Groundwater Governance in South Asia

Governing a Colossal Anarchy

Aditi Mukherji and Tushaar Shah

Groundwater has become the mainstay of irrigated agriculture in South Asia but its growing contribution to the agricultural economy remains underestimated and understudied.

Groundwater policy makers face two contrasting challenges in managing this chaotic economy in different regions of South Asia–accelerating groundwater use in water abundant eastern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal terai; and controlling resource depletion and deterioration in western and peninsular India and parts of Indian and Pakistan Punjab.

Refined understanding of the (non) existing governance structure in groundwater and fine tuning this understanding in order to try and bring about a modicum of order in this anarchic but booming economy is of great urgency.

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