Fostering institutions for water conservation and management in Andhra Pradesh, India
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Progress Report. Rainfed agriculture is a predominant land use pattern in the semi-arid dryland regions which is particularly vulnerable to climatic and socio-economic stresses. As a result of these stresses, degradation of land and depletion of groundwater are widespread in the region. The storage in the lakes and tanks has decreased over time due to lack of proper maintenance leading to reduced recharge of groundwater in the region as well as in the action sites. Watershed development interventions since the 90s focused on soil and moisture conservation in both privately and commonly held lands. Water harvested through such interventions is crucial for providing protective irrigation for many smallholder farmers. However, collective action is required to maintain the technical infrastructure in order to sustain the ecosystem services. The difficulty to observe and understand the nonlinear and uncertain dynamics of the hydrological processes as well as the impacts of conservation activities in watersheds (Syme et al., 2012) poses a huge challenge for evolution of rules for collective maintenance of soil and water conservation structures. Imperfect or asymmetric information on groundwater characteristics such as stock, flow, recharge as well as costs and benefits of collective efforts lead to suboptimal individual and collective decisions.