Community-led Sustainable Water Management: The Digital Edge

In the face of climate change and water scarcity, combining equitable governance with digital tools paves the way for a resilient tomorrow

PUNE, India , Aug. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The second instalment of ECOBARI’s acclaimed ‘Southbound Resilience Webinar’ series spotlighted the synergy of community-led governance and advanced digital tools. Among the distinguished speakers were Dr. Neha Bhadbhade from SOPPECOM, Dr. Sonali Shinde from Gram Gaurav Pratishthan, with Dr. Eshwer Kale of WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust) moderating the discussion. Kickstarting the webinar, ECOBARI’s national anchor, Arjuna Srinidhi, emphasised, “Our platform is a beacon for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) knowledge, resources, and best practices. These webinars offer an invaluable stage for professionals in the realm of EbA to exchange insights and strategies, enhancing climate resilience for communities at risk.”

The Water Governance for EbA webinar was the second of The Southbound Resilience Webinar series organised by ECOBARI

Key Takeaways:

  1. The Pani Panchayat model pioneered by Gram Gaurav Pratishthan stands out as a beacon for community-driven governance of essential natural resources. Given the grim backdrop of escalating water scarcity, adopting such localised, inclusive governance is paramount.
  2. Advanced digital tools, encompassing AI, RS-GIS, Drone Surveys, CLART, and GMT, play a pivotal role in steering sustainable water governance. Collaborating closely with farmers, these tools offer invaluable insights into groundwater levels, soil metrics, and much more.
  3. Holistic water management necessitates the collective effort of all stakeholders. It’s about striking a balance between conservation, suitable crop selection, efficient water use, and resource supply.
  4. Dr. Sonali Shinde underscored the pressing need for more green jobs and personnel trained in watershed development at the grassroots level, pointing to the current dearth in staffing even among government officials.
  5. On the topic of data security, Dr. Neha Bhadbhade clarified, “All data is community owned. Collection mechanisms are straightforward and secure, safeguarded within the community.”

Concluding Thoughts:

EbA is a multi-faceted approach involving Adaptive Capacities, Ecosystem Services, and Participatory Governance. Success stories like Pani Panchayat can inspire a sustainable path forward in the face of climate change. ECOBARI’s webinars strive to gather and disseminate these lessons for a brighter, resilient future. The ‘Southbound Resilience Webinar’ series is organised in collaboration with WOTR and W-CReS and supported by Honeywell.


An exemplary collaborative, ECOBARI brings together diverse stakeholders with a shared vision: empowering communities for a sustainable future. ECOBARI facilitates the joint action of committed individuals and institutions, representatives of Government, Civil Society Organisations, Businesses, Academia, NGOs, and Media to enable communities to conserve their local biodiversity, and restore and sustainably manage their natural resources aligned with the ecosystem they live in. ECOBARI’s vision is to empower communities to sustainably regenerate and manage their ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, derive resilient incomes, and improve their quality of life through nature-based and nature-positive solutions, as they adapt to climate change.

About W-CReS: 

Initiated in 2007 and set up as an autonomous unit in 2016, W-CReS (the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies) undertakes multi-stakeholder, applied research on ground-level problems using a trans-disciplinary approach. The objective of W-CReS is to understand causal relationships and drivers of behavioural change, identify and test effective strategies for change and contribute to capacity building and policy enhancement. W-CReS has formal MOUs with leading national and international research and scientific institutions including ICAR, IMD, and CRIDA among others. Both WOTR and W-CReS work in close collaboration with civil society entities, companies, and the federal and state governments to achieve their objectives.

About WOTR:

WOTR (Watershed Organisation Trust) is a nationally and internationally recognised non-profit and think tank dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of poor across India through participatory watershed development and eco-systems restoration, climate resilient sustainable agriculture, integrated and efficient water management and climate change adaptation, with a special emphasis on building resilience of vulnerable communities, farmers, and women.

Employing an integrated ecosystems-centric and Ecosystems-based Adaptation approach (EbA), WOTR mobilises rural communities across 5 broad thematic focus areas: Water and Land Management, Climate Resilient Agriculture, Livelihoods, Women Empowerment, and Health, Sanitation and Nutrition. Cross-cutting themes across these areas include adaptation and resilience to climate change, institutional development, governance, and policy dialogue. WOTR’s interventions and works are across 3 broad verticals: Implementation, Research-In-Use & Policy Engagement and Training & Capacity Building. WOTR works in close collaboration with civil society entities, companies, and the central and state governments to achieve its objectives. It is headquartered in Pune, Maharashtra, India.

For an in-depth dive:

  • Webinar Recording:
  • Presenter’s PPT:
  • Learn more about ECOBARI:


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