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Water Security Challenges of South and South East Asia: Mainstreaming Local Governance Institutions

Publication Type : Presentation

Publisher : 2016.

Source : 2016.

Campus : Amritapuri

School : School of Business

Department : Department of Management

Year : 2016

Abstract : Climate change induced uncertainties as well as anthropogenic disturbances are increasingly reported to cause serious impacts on the livelihoods of the marginalized communities who depend on the common pool natural resources for their subsistence. Though a vast majority of the village communities have access to common pool natural resources, especially, farm land as well as grazing lands in the local contexts, often, the economic health and strength of these resources has been weakened by both biophysical (natural, climatic change induced) and anthropogenic factors. The case of pastoral (Gauchar)/ grazing lands in India in general and Gujarat state in particular is no different from this global trend , as these common pool resources are at a point of virtual collapse either due to environmental degradation (including salinity ingress and desertification) or due to irreversible conversion in the process of development. An earlier study by FAO (FAO, 1985) observes that desertification caused by the various natural and anthropogenic factors significantly impact on the human welfare in dry land areas, adversely affecting the sustainable livelihoods. It also affects farm productivity and quality of drinking water impacting on the health of the environment and natural resources as well as human health. In terms of agro-climate, Gujarat comes under the arid and semi arid zones and is also one of the important maritime states with the longest shoreline of about 1650 km, which constitutes about 21% of the national coastline. The longest coastline while giving immense scope and potential for economic growth through trade opportunities and industrial expansion, a large proportion of the coastal lands suffer from environmental degradation caused by salinity ingress as well as persistent drought conditions. The problems of salinity ingress and land degradation is widely reported from the Kachchh peninsula with the unique desert system called Rann of Kachchh (saline desert) and the vast tracts of the coastal Saurashtra districts in Gujarat. The land use, land cover (LULC) changes in Gujarat over the past 4-5 decades indicated an annual reduction in permanent pasturelands to the extent of 1.5%, while land put to non-agricultural uses had increased by 7% per annum. While the reduction in grasslands was reported at 13% at the state level in the 1990s, the dry regions reported a decline to the extent of 20 to 50%. Further, reportedly, an estimated area of about 22% of the lands are not available for farming in the coastal areas due to salinity ingress and environmental degradation/ desertification (Sathyapalan, 2010). The decline in permanent pasture lands as well as the degradation of common lands has adversely affected the livelihoods of the marginal farmers and landless households, as they have been deprived of their access to such lands for grazing their cattle/ livestock. Since salinity ingress in farm lands has disrupted the agrarian prospects of the regions, majority of the households pursue cattle rearing as the main activity , which has already increased the pressure on the available stock of commons. Further, the expansion of agriculture into tracts that were hitherto uncultivated, deprived the village communities of the CPRs. All these developments, including the collapse of local community based institutions that supported the legitimate rights of the communities, have added to the distress of the communities. In this backdrop, this paper is developed as a concept paper that examines the state of the distressed village communities in the coastal villages of Gujarat spread across the Saurashtra and Kachchh regions. The specific objective of the study is to understand and map the nature/ character and intensity of the distress and vulnerability of the communities and households who grossly suffer from the decline and degradation of the village commons. The paper also tries to explore the presence or absence of the institutional systems and their effectiveness in creating sustainable solutions for restoration and management of the village commons in the state of Gujarat. While addressing the objectives stated, the paper will explore the methodological and analytical perspectives of the Institutional Analysis Framework put forth by Ostrom (1990) in trying to locate the presence and robustness of the community based interventions for restoration of the common lands.

Cite this Research Publication : Dr. Viswanathan P. K., “Water Security Challenges of South and South East Asia: Mainstreaming Local Governance Institutions”. 2016.

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