Wednesday, 09 April 2014 04:55




Pani Panchayat is a voluntary activity of a group of farmers engaged in the collective management (harvesting and distribution) of surface water and groundwater (wells and percolation tanks).

It aims at enabling equable distribution of water to all of its people in the village through Sustainable development of the watershed to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants and participating communities through education, training and active participation in sustainable production activities. Further it also aims at developing holistic farming system through the use of organic farming based on scientific techniques are very successful remedy to the economic and ecological crises edangered by Green revolution.

The Principles of Pani Panchayat are:

a) Only group schemes are undertaken and not schemes of individuals. This fosters community spirit.

b) Sharing of water on the basis of number of persons in a family and not on the proportion of land holding. Water will be given on the basis of 0.5 acre per person in the family. Each family will be assumed of maximum five members and irrigate only one hect of land per family. If any family has land in excess of one hect it will remain as rainfed.

c) Rights of water do not go to the land but to the individual beneficiaries. This avoids inflation of land prices.

d) Beneficiaries should share 20 % of cost of the scheme proposed by any group. The balance to be obtained as a loan from the bank or partly through government subsidy if any available. A community lift irrigation scheme is beyond the means of a dry land farmer. He does not have the means to raise his share of 20% of the capital cost. Most of them, therefore, take a share of water much less than they are entitled to. Many of the beneficiaries have raised their 20% contribution with great sacrifice.

e) The beneficiaries should administer and operate the scheme. Technical guidance, if any required, will be made available by Pani Panchayat.

f) Perennial crops like sugarcane requiring water throughout the year and in more quantity and more number of waterings should not be grown. This will enable to bring more area of seasonal crops under protective irrigation, by saving water.

g) The landless can also share water so that they gain full employment in the village itself by becoming share croppers to farmers having more land. Thus migration of land less persons can be prevented.

The Pani Panchayat model shows that irrespective of the rainfall pattern, a village can be self-sufficient with its own natural resources only. Pani Panchayat limits role of government up to water harvesting structures and allows community to use water at their wish, for equitable and effective development of water resources. Principles of Pani Panchayat ensure equity in opportunity and benefits for larger social spectrum.

The structure of Pani Panchayat comprised of -

a) Water user group for each lift irrigation scheme which in turn had a representation in the village level Pani Panchayat;

b) Election of the representatives of the village level Committee;

c) Decentralized decision making with public participation;

d) Monthly meeting of the committee to review, plan work and resolve conflicts;

e) Ensuring equitable water distribution;

f) Collection of Pani Patti;

g) Maintenance of the scheme.