The project will undertake systemic analysis of the groundwater situation and livelihood opportunities through an approach involving, agricultural, environmental, social and economic considerations. The focus of the research is at village scale (micro catchment) to analyse and understand the current situation and ground truth methods, as well as to provide measures and tests to upscale strategies and benefits to watershed, regional and state levels. The project will derive lessons from northern Gujarat where groundwater development is extensive. It will extend and develop knowledge on aquifer management into southern Rajasthan and link with a related ACIAR project in Jharkhand.
A range of hydrologic, agronomic, economic, social and cultural data at selected clusters of villages will be collected over a period of four years. Bio-physical and socio-economic tools and models will be developed or adapted to evaluate the current issues of surface water and groundwater management, identify options and strategies that will improve the long-term access to groundwater, provide a scientific and evidenced-based input to enhance watershed development policies, and regenerate the natural resource base in irrigated farming systems.