The directive creates Pani Panchayats - associations of water users in a spatially area around a natural or manmade water resource. Depending on the size of the water resource, the size and type of Pani Panchayat can be categorised as major, medium, or micro. More details can be found on the Govt. Directorate of Agriculture & Food Production. Just in case you're feeling lazy, here's the copied & pasted introductory section ;-)
"A Pani Panchayat is an association of all persons owing land within a hydraulically delineated portion of the command area ranging in size approximately from 300-600 hectare in case of major/ medium/ minor irrigation project. It may be in respect of minor or sub-minor or direct outlets from the main/ branch distributaries of the project. In case of lift irrigation or minor flow irrigation project, the area is limited to the project command area where the area is less than 300 hectare. The Pani Panchayat (PP) is a part of the farmers organization recognized by Orissa Pani Panchayat Act 2002 and Orissa Pani Panchayat Rules 2003 and registered under Society registration Act, 1860".
The organisation I work for comprises a university - Centurion University - and its various offshoot social enterprises. The university is interesting in primarily targeting the grassroots, both in terms of the demographic from which it sources its students and its curriculum. The School of Disaster Management at Centurion is a new entity that aims to strengthen disaster management institutions through different types of training and teaching workshops.
Training programme for Pani Panchayat stakeholders
The school of disaster management is trying to strengthen Pani Panchayat institutions by training community stakeholders in both environmental and governance aspects of resource management. What it does is hold a series of workshops for a given set of pani panchayat communities.
- First, the workshop targets non-stakeholders and non-community members. The goal is to create a cadre of informed and capable individuals that can come into a community as mobilizers, trainers, or consultants, and enable more efficient management of the communal water resource.
- Next, the workshop targets those who are part of the Pani Panchayat itself - the official community governing body that acts as decision-maker on water management issues. These individuals are given similar training, but with a focus on their governance duties.
- Finally, the workshop targets the entire set of stakeholders of a given local water resource - all the community members themselves, the end users of the water.
The first workshop level (community mobilisers) is held in a classroom for a couple of weeks, and then everything moves to the field. My colleague - Subrat Dash - is a pretty amazing guy. Not only does he devise and coordinate this whole exercise, he also possesses a knack for walking into a room and making everybody around him laugh and immediately relax. The first is an impressive accomplishment but the second is a life saver.
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