Groundwater socio-ecology and governance: a review of institutions and policies in selected countries uri icon

abstract

  • Groundwater is crucial for the livelihoods and food security of millions of people, and yet, knowledge formation in the field of groundwater has remained asymmetrical. While, scientific knowledge in the discipline (hydrology and hydrogeology) has advanced remarkably, relatively little is known about the socio-economic impacts and institutions that govern groundwater use. This paper therefore has two objectives. The first is to provide a balanced view of the plus and the down side of groundwater use, especially in agriculture. In doing so, examples are drawn from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Spain and Mexico-all of which make very intensive use of groundwater. Second, institutions and policies that influence groundwater use are analyzed in order to understand how groundwater is governed in these countries and whether successful models of governance could be replicated elsewhere. Finally, the authors argue that there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way groundwater is presently perceived and managed-from management to governance mode. In this attempt, a number of instruments such as direct regulation, indirect policy levers, livelihood adaptation and people's participation will have to be deployed simultaneously in a quest for better governance.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005