Comparative Study of Groundwater Institutions in the Western United States and Peninsular India for Sustainable and Equitable Resource Use

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Date
2000
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Abstract
"This study is aimed at the institutional perspective of groundwater management in dealing with overdraft problems in India and the western U.S. A great deal of management problems relating to groundwater over-development and use are emerging in both India as well as in the western U.S. In the western U.S. these problems are being effectively addressed through institutional policy instruments with local control. These include formation of natural resource districts with varying responsibilities over groundwater issues, creation of an enabling framework specifying user rights, correlative rights to a reasonable use, issue of permits for extraction, allocating quotas and declaration of moratorium on new wells in critical/over exploited areas. These regulations enabled to set an upper boundary for extraction of groundwater and made groundwater legally scarce. This has had a profound impact on use pattern and conservation of groundwater in the region. In India, lack of effective groundwater institutions at local level to deal with emerging problems in groundwater development and use has resulted in intergenerational, inter-temporal and inter-spatial misallocation and severe overdrafts creating several externalities. Further, the markets are not responding to correct the distortions in groundwater use. This has severely mauled equity, efficiency and sustainability of groundwater resource use. The emerging environmental implications resulting from groundwater overdraft will be terrible for the future generations. Drawing experiences from the Nebraska model there is a need for creation of an effective user-based groundwater management institutions at the local level with local control that are viable and reflective of social concern for conservation ethics, environmental values, equity consideration and efficiency in resource use. Towards this endeavor a package of incentives could be extended to promote user-based groundwater management institutions at grass root levels."
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IASC, common pool resources, water resources--comparative analysis, groundwater, institutions--comparative analysis, scarcity--comparative analysis
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