Water in the Arkavathy sub-basin: Status, concerns and future under climate change
The Water, Land & Society programme at ATREE conducted a one-day workshop entitled "Water in the Arkavathy sub-basin: Status, concerns and future under climate change" on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore.
The workshop was organized as part of disseminating the outcomes from the recently concluded 4-year research project 'Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds' (ACCUWa). The goal of this project was to understand the challenges for sustainable, efficient and fair water management in urbanizing contexts where increasing water demand, transforming land-use and limited infrastructure result in hydrological, water quality and social changes, and how future climate change will complicate matters.
The workshop was well attended by scientists, civil society and government representatives. The workshop had three technical sessions, which covered ATREE's research findings on the hydrological, agricultural and domestic consumption dimensions of the problem of water management.
The concluding panel, consisting of Prof. Pradeep Mujumdar (Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science), Mr. M. R. Seetharam (industrialist and founder of the Arkavathy Kumudavathy Nadhi Punaschetana Samiti (AKNPS)), Dr. Somasekhar Rao (Director (Technical), Advanced Centre for Integrated Water Resources Management, Government of Karnataka) and Mr. T. Pradeep (Samuha) discussed "Water in the Arkavathy sub-basin: Current concerns and implications for policy".
The panel cited the urgency of addressing India's groundwater problems but also noted the challenges. The panel recommended comprehensive water budgeting both at the basin and watershed level. Other solutions discussed included allocating the available resource in a watershed on a rights basis to the community and management of groundwater as a common-pool resource by the community. The need to fundamentally change culture, awareness and perceptions of water was discussed to ensure accountability of local government. The panel also discussed the challenge of integrating ground and surface water institutions and cited the lack of institutional capacity and a culture of scientific inquiry as a barrier. One solution suggested was to allow outsiders to take on short-term deputations at government departments.