November 24, 2012

2012: Highlight # 50

How does one construct hydrological models in the absence of good quality hydrological data and measurements? Can NGO data and farmers' experiences be useful? Krishnan and Verma discuss...

Mapping the Hydrological Processes in a Community-Reconfigured River Basin

Some conceptual issues and results from a simple dry run

Sunderrajan Krishnan and Shilp Verma

The debate around the hydrological impacts of decentralized water harvesting at the river basin level has been raging for quite some time without any signs of an emerging consensus. While critics have doubted the net positive impact of such interventions, farmers as well as policy makers seem to have ignored the critics, based largely on evidence from individual farmers and/or village-level impact studies.

This highlight presents some early results from an attempt to quantify the hydrological impact of AKRSP’s water harvesting work in the Meghal river basin. In the process, we discuss new ways of combining data from multiple sources to study the impact of decentralized water harvesting at the river basin scale. Faced with absence of good quality data from formal sources, we make a case for using the vibrant and well-developed observant hydrology to supplement the increasingly accessible public domain data and some primary data collected through relatively simple techniques using local NGOs and students.

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