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Games for groundwater governance: field experiments in Andhra Pradesh, India

Ruth Meinzen-Dick, International Food Policy Research Institute
Rahul Chaturvedi, Foundation for Ecological Security
Laia Domènech, International Food Policy Research Institute
Rucha Ghate, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development
Marco A Janssen, Arizona State University
Nathan D Rollins, Arizona State University
K Sandeep, Foundation for Ecological Security

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08416-210338

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Abstract

Groundwater is a common-pool resource that is subject to depletion in many places around the world as a result of increased use of irrigation and water-demanding cash crops. Where state capacity to control groundwater use is limited, collective action is important to increase recharge and restrict highly water-consumptive crops. We present results of field experiments in hard rock areas of Andhra Pradesh, India, to examine factors affecting groundwater use. Two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ran the games in communities where they were working to improve watershed and water management. Results indicate that, when the links between crop choice and groundwater depletion is made explicit, farmers can act cooperatively to address this problem. Longer NGO involvement in the villages was associated with more cooperative outcomes in the games. Individuals with more education and higher perceived community social capital played more cooperatively, but neither gender nor method of payment had a significantly effect on individual behavior. When participants could repeat the game with communication, similar crop choice patterns were observed. The games provided an entry point for discussion on the understanding of communities of the interconnectedness of groundwater use and crop choice.

Key words

Andhra Pradesh; collective action; experimental games; framed field experiments; groundwater; India

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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