Scaling out of Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use (MARVI)
Managed aquifer recharge is the deliberate storage of water in aquifers for later human or environmental use. Aquifers are underground reservoirs of water, naturally contained in soil or rock from which water can be extracted. Aquifers are often over-depleted, affecting ecosystems and regional groundwater users. The Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention (MARVI) approach is focussed on engaging village communities in India to monitor, use and manage groundwater at the village level.
This activity builds on a previous Western Sydney University (WSU) MARVI project, conducted from 2011–2017 with the support of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The ACIAR-supported project focussed on training local farmers in groundwater measurement and mapping, rainfall monitoring and check-dam monitoring in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The AWP-supported activity builds on the original MARVI project to ensure its wider adoption across India.
AWP is supporting Western Sydney University to refine and upscale the outputs of the completed ACIAR-supported MARVI project. The key objective of this activity is to support the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) and Water Ministries, farmers in the village, groundwater cooperatives, and Gram Panchayat (Village Councils) to deliver effective implementation of the MARVI approach. The activity will do this through engaging with state and central governments, developing key tools and protocols, as well as engaging with village communities and farmers (‘Bhujal Jankaars’) to provide training on the MARVI approach.
The MARVI activity will provide input into the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) National Groundwater Management Improvement Program – a US$1B program co-funded by the Government of India and the World Bank which is focusing on rural areas in the water-stressed States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. It is envisaged that the project will contribute significantly towards water and food security for more than 4.4 million people through institutional strengthening and capacity building, and incentivising behavioural changes at the village level.
Outputs of the original ACIAR project included a ‘MyWell’ application to display current data alongside historical data for simple comparison, analysis and decision making. During 2018–19, MyWell was refined and updated to include water quality and check-dam water level monitoring along with groundwater level and rainfall monitoring. Version 2.0 of the application was released in May 2019 and is currently being utilised in India and trialled in Pakistan, Laos and South Africa. Other outcomes and a final report from the original ACIAR project are available from the ACIAR website.
Since the commencement of the AWP-supported MARVI activity, three village groundwater cooperatives (VGC) have been formally registered with the Registrar of Cooperatives with the Government of Rajasthan, and two are being registered with the Government of Gujarat. A workshop was conducted to explore framework and governance for the VGCs, as well as groundwater and gender field data collection.
MARVI was successfully scaled out in 11 villages (5 in Rajasthan and 6 in Gujarat), and in response to the Government of India and World Bank’s request for assistance, AWP is supporting WSU to implement MARVI on a wider scale through the ATAL JAL Program. The Program was launched on 29 December 2019 and took effect on 1 April 2020, and is being rolled out across 8,500 village councils (20,000 villages).
Reports & Publications
- The Role of Transdisciplinary Approach and Community Participation in Village Scale Groundwater Management: Insights from Gujarat and Rajasthan, India (Maheshwari, B., Varua, M., Ward, J., et al., 2014)
- Improved village scale groundwater recharge and management for agriculture and livelihood development in India: Final Report (ACIAR, 2017)
- Understanding Geohydrology – A Resource Book for Bhujal Jankaar (Jadeja, Y. et al., 2017)
- Groundwater Stories – Villagers Share their Voices (Western Sydney University, 2017)
- Managing aquifer recharge and sustaining groundwater use: developing a capacity building program for creating local groundwater champions (Jadeja, Y., Maheshwari, B., Packham, R. et al., 2018)
- MARVI – An Innovative Approach for Village Level Groundwater Management (Western Sydney University and ACIAR, 2019)
- Our Groundwater – A Resource Book for Water Literacy (ACIAR, 2019)
- Webinar: Managed Aquifer Recharge thru Village-level Interventions (Professor Basant Maheshwari, 4 May 2017, ICE WaRM)
- Webinar: Hardrock Groundwater Recharge using Check-Dams (Yogita Dashora and Dr Peter Dillon, 15 June 2017, ICE WaRM)
- The MAR Portal – Managed Aquifer Recharge (29 June 2018)
Western Sydney University
Prof Basant Maheshwari
Professor – Water, Environment and Sustainability
ORIGIN OF DEMAND
Government of India
(Jan 2019 – Feb 2021)
- Ministry of Jal Shakti
- Rajasthan Centre of Excellence in Water Resources Management
- The World Bank
- MARVI website
- MARVI Project (ACIAR)
- MARVI Project (Western Sydney University)
- ATAL JAL Program (World Bank)
- ATAL JAL Program (Ministry of Jal Shakti)