Randullabad, India

The Project

The objective of this project is to understand and document the existing good practices of water management in Randullabad. In a drought-prone area where there is a proliferation of bore wells, the community in Randullabad has successfully refrained from drilling bore wells in the village. Unlike many villages in Maharashtra, the village level institutions are quite active. The decisions around watershed development and management are taken on the basis of scientific understanding and data collected at the village level. There is a system of operations and maintenance of the watershed structures and equitable water distribution in the village. 

Satellite image of Randullabad in relation to Ravangaon.

Google maps image of Randullabad.

The location of Randullabad in Satara district (green).

Satellite image of Randullabad in relation to Ravangaon.

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The location of Randullabad in Satara district.

Check dam constructed for groundwater recharge in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Check dam constructed for groundwater recharge in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

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This study aims to understand these water management systems, the enabling factors as well as challenges in water management, the role of women in the village level institutions, and labour practices in Randullabad. To understand this, a household survey was conducted in the village. In the coming months, a couple of focused group discussions are planned with women from different classes and castes and with the members of village-level institutions to understand these systems and practices.

Check dam constructed for groundwater recharge in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Background

Randullabad is a village located in the rain shadow area of Western Ghats in the Satara district of Maharashtra. It has an area of 850 hectares and a population of 1,895 people with 395 families residing in the village. Agriculture is the main occupation of the village. There are around 190 dug wells fulfilling the water requirement of the village. Sixty percent of the wells in Randullabad are group wells shared by two to eight farmers. This system has evolved to provide groundwater access to small farmers, which contributes to the efficient application of water to many farms through a community-managed groundwater resource system (Aslekar et al. 2013). 

Dug well in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Dug well in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

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Dug well in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Randullabad watershed (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Randullabad watershed (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

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The community in Randullabad uses only a shallow unconfined aquifer system, which has annual recharge cycles (Kulkarni et al. 2000). Nearby villages’ experiences with drilling bore wells prompted the governing council in Randullabad to put a ban on bore-wells in the village in 2000. The Village Watershed Committee faced several challenges when implementing the ban because drilling bore wells was cheaper than digging a new dug well. However, the committee has been successful in controlling the drilling of bore wells in Randullabad. 

Randullabad watershed (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

The community plans their agricultural season according to the water available in the aquifers. Potatoes, sorghum, peas, beans, wheat, gram are the major crops grown in the village. The market crops like potatoes, peas and beans are grown in the rainy season. The cereals and other vegetables that require relatively less water are grown during winter using well irrigation. More than 60% farmers use drips and sprinklers for irrigation. The horticulture plants like pomegranates and custard apples are drip irrigated.

Pomegranates plants on drip irrigation (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Pomegranates plants on drip irrigation (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

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Pomegranates plants on drip irrigation (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Well monitoring in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

Use of sprinklers for efficient use of water (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

"Nature is Angry" - Randullabad, Satara district of Maharashtra, India in December 2019. (Credit: Irene Leonardelli) *See the "Photo-Narrative Gallery" for the Story Behind the Photo.

Well monitoring in Randullabad (Credit: ACWADAM, Pune)

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References

Aslekar U, Kulkarni H and Upmanyu A. (2013) Participatory Groundwater Management in Randullabad. Report on ACWADAM’s Action Research Initiative under PGWM program with support from Arghyam Trust, Bengaluru (Technical report: ACWA/Hydro/ 2013/ H28)


Kulkarni, H., Deolankar, S. B., Lalwani, A., Joseph, B., and Pawar, S. (2000) Hydrogeological framework for the Deccan basalt groundwater systems, west central India. Hydrogeology Journal, 8(4): 368-378.

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