Enhancing livelihoods through innovative water management in dryland India

A new article published by Water International highlights the regeneration of the formerly degraded socio-ecological system of Laporiya village in the semi-arid Salt Lake region of Rajasthan state, India.

Using a multi-methods approach, comprising informant interviews, field observations, literature review and analysis of remotely sensed data, authors Mark Everard (UWE Bristol and IWSN) and Harry West (UWE Bristol) have conducted a comparison of Laporiya before and after water management interventions. They have also compared Laporiya with a broadly similar adjacent village (Antoli), which has lacked such interventions. The study focuses on chauka, which are geographically-specific, nature-based, water-harvesting solutions implemented on common grazing land, and specifically designed for the low slope and saline conditions of this region of Rajasthan.

Local people are key participants and agents as well as principal beneficiaries of innovative nature-based management interventions, which depend on consensual stewardship by communities, abiding by agreements consistent with natural processes regenerating water and ecosystems. Technological innovations and governance are adapted to environmental processes and local livelihood priorities, thus resisting imposed engineered solutions.

The authors conclude that their findings: “illustrate how different governance arrangements have profound impacts on whole socio-ecological systems and the sustainable accommodation between people and the natural systems that support them. This knowledge…can be transferred to other regions facing similar challenges.”

  • Mark Everard & Harry West (2021) Livelihood security enhancement through innovative water management in dryland India, Water International. DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2021.1874780