Crop Water Budgeting is an android based tool that has been developed to assist communities manage their surface and ground water efficiently without further depleting their resources. Farming communities are at the centre of Crop Water Budgeting exercises because water availability, whether groundwater or surface, is deeply impacted by their actions, and in turn the availability impacts their livelihoods. The effort is to build awareness about efficient demand-side management, by assisting village communities in viewing water as a Commons and taking decisions on sustained availability of water.
Crop Water Budgeting enables facilitators and community resource persons to input primary information related to rainfall, number of wells, water harvesting structures, cropping pattern etc. Depending on the input data, the tool calculates the availability of water for the crops after deducting the water requirement for domestic and livestock purposes. If there is a deficit in water availability for the present cropping plan, the community members discuss possible crop changes to avert the situation of water deficit. The exercise generates debate and discussion on water as a collective resource and the need for better governance.
The benefits of adopting Crop Water Budgeting as a water management tool include an increase in the awareness level among farmers on water resources, use of water saving devices or improved irrigation systems such as drip irrigation, sprinklers etc, sharing of bore well between farmers with lands close by, possible switch from high water intensive crops to low water intensive crops or irrigated dry crops, community participation in the promotion of recharge structures and mobilising of financial resources for operation and maintenance of common water resources. And finally, the farming community being at the centre of the planning and monitoring process becomes the most effective regulatory body in terms of identifying deviation and taking appropriate action for regulating themselves.