Project final report

Improved village scale groundwater recharge and management for agriculture and livelihood development in India - final report

Date released
22 September 2017
Publication Code

Professor Basant Maheshwari


This project focused on engaging communities in India to sustainably manage groundwater at the village level using the MARVI system approach 

The future of agriculture and food security is linked to groundwater sustainability. The challenges have important social, economic, institutional and policy elements.  The project therefore undertook a systemic analysis of the groundwater situation and livelihood opportunities through the MARVI system (Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention), an approach involving, agricultural, environmental, social and economic considerations. The focus of the research was at village scale (micro catchment) to analyse and understand the current situation and ground truth methods, as well as provide measures and tests to upscale strategies and benefits to watershed, regional and state levels.

A range of hydrologic, agronomic, economic, social and cultural data at selected clusters of villages was collected over a period of six years. Bio-physical and socio-economic tools and models were developed to evaluate the issues of surface water and groundwater management, identify options and strategies that have improved the long-term access to groundwater, provided a scientific and evidenced-based input to enhance watershed development policies, and regenerated the natural resource base in irrigated farming systems.

This project's research focused on two watersheds: the Dharta watershed in Rajasthan and the Meghraj watershed in Gujarat.