The problem of water scarcity and its management with respect to changing climatic conditions has been attracting the critical attention of various disciplines. Various local communities like self-help groups, community-based organisation, water-users groups, federation etc often face conflicts over water use both within the communities as well as with external stakeholders. Various formal and informal irrigation institutional arrangements like formation of water-user association; Pani Panchayat, farmer managed irrigation system etc have been designed at community level which
can offer a helpful method to tackle the conflicts occurring among the water managers and users. An attempt has been made to understand the existing approaches and strategies to avert or reduce such conflicts and identify the ones best suited to be implemented by Bio industrial watershed project. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai has initiated an action research project on „Community Managed Bio-Industrial Watersheds for Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Enhanced Livelihoods‟ in five major soil regions of India viz. Pudukottai (Tamil Nadu), Karasanur (Tamil Nadu), Koraput (Orissa), Hoshiarpur (Punjab) and Narasighpur (Madhya Pradesh). The paper concentrates on the analysis of existing water conflicts and its management practices from the Koraput watershed site, Orissa. Geographical conduciveness for water sharing, the full range of local resources, institutions and the existing community power-structures will have to be considered before putting in the systems of water governance. An effort has been made to strengthen the community capacity to identify suitable solution for the problems they face in the selected watershed area. Some important recommendations in this regard comprise capacity building; establishing clear water rights, water resource budgeting, formation of user groups and inclusion of various multi-stakeholders.
Dr. Sushanta Kumar Mahapatra, Ramana, S. V., Kiro, M. Dayabati, Das, S., Mitra, S., and Nair, S., “Water Conflict Resolution- Approaches for Enhancing Sustainable Livelihoods in Community Based Water Management”, in Workshop on Innovations in the Water Sector, United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) and Fulbright Indo-American Environmental Leadership Program (F-IAELP), New Delhi, Pune, Maharashtra, 2009.