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Tropentag, September 15 - 17, 2021, hybrid conference

"Towards shifting paradigms in agriculture for a healthy and sustainable future"

Designing a Cooperation Model for Groundwater Governance in Coastal Odisha, India

Surajit Haldar, Ernst-August Nuppenau, Joachim Aurbacher

Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Agric. Policy and Market Res., Germany


Failures in theoretically and supposedly efficient and empirically proven market mechanism in groundwater management has led to a search for alternative arrangements. The cooperation approach showed so far mixed result, while government intervention through a subsidy scheme inflated successes. In several coastal aquifer schemes of Odisha state in India, a government subsidy scheme for medium-deep tube well installation addressed the economic scarcity of groundwater procurement. However, its management through a water user association (WUA) seemed not to solve the long-standing distribution issue. Many times cooperation collapsed due to improper management of the groundwater resource system and its physical structure. Moreover, reduced pumping cost for a WUA exaggerates water extraction that declines the water table and threatens its sustainability.

In this study, we attempted to introduce an incentive scheme in a principal-agent mode to coordinate individual farmers’ action to save water and look at water distribution through community action. Empirical evidence indicates that the community has higher bargaining power in benefit sharing after distributing the fixed and variable part of the incentive earned by individual member farmers who mostly adopt new cropping patterns. Further, simulations through water price increase by two to three-fold (from the initial level: INR 150 /hectare-centimetre) do not significantly increase water saving, implying a dominant type of cropping pattern in the farming system.

Model simulations by farm types revealed that highly diversified irrigated agriculture for direct market supply farms are sensitive to water price increase though they are flexible to adopt a maximum water saving cap. The cropping pattern improves when a reasonable reservation price is introduced and thereby the gross margin for a farm. Least diversified irrigated agriculture for contracted sale farms showed indifferent water use behaviour with increasing water price, because of their higher acreage under perennial water-intensive crop enterprise, such as sugarcane. We worked with the acceleration of water-saving incentives. Model results infer that there should be a lower redistribution of water in the second-round given incentives due to the higher marginal value that accounts for scarcity value.

Keywords: Cropping pattern, groundwater, incentives, principal-agent

Contact Address: Surajit Haldar, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Agric. Policy and Market Res., Senckenbergstrase 3, 35390 Giessen, Germany, e-mail: surajit.haldar@agrar.uni-giessen.de

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