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Sharing responsibility for groundwater management in South India: Cases from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry Volume 21, issue 1, janvier-février-mars 2010

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CNRS UPR 299, Centre d’études himalayennes7, rue Guy Môquet 94801 Villejuif cedex France

This paper addresses the lack of coordinated management of groundwater irrigation in South India brought about by the fact that the resource is used by millions of independent individuals who have free access to it. The main issues are the involvement of the State and the shared responsibility between: i) a state who has always given incentives to this type of irrigation without imposing any restrictions; ii) farmers pumping more and more water; and iii) civil society involvement in the environmental and social debate. Examples from the literature and observations of Pondicherry area illustrate the way various stakeholders react to the water crisis affecting the country and especially the Southern state of Tamil Nadu. Solutions could be implemented through a clarification of property rights and regulation of water use under a community management or a dialogue and cooperation process between state agencies, NGOs and communities.