November 11, 2012

2012: Highlight # 37

Can demystification of science alone lead to sustainable, community management of groundwater resources? Verma and others unpack the experience of APFAMGS and conclude otherwise...

Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS)

A reality check

Shilp Verma, Sunderrajan Krishnan, Ankith Reddy V. and K. Rajendra Reddy

Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) is a celebrated project aimed at enlightened management of groundwater by farmers emanating from knowledge demystification. Based on early results, earlier studies and evaluations of AFPAMGS have pronounced it a resounding success. Consequently, the approach is being promoted for replication elsewhere in the country. Our field studies this year, however, present a contrary picture. The remnants of practices from APFAMGS and their likely impacts reflect poorly on the long term sustenance of efforts, after the project ended and the local support organizations withdrew. This offers lessons for APFAMGS and all similar efforts on whether farmers can willingly, voluntarily and sustainably manage their groundwater resources without long-term external support.

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